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LAMPLIGHT
2014-09-19

Finally, some light. I got this super heavy duty lamp back in February from the Brown Elephant and while I knew it needed some love, I was pretty unprepared for how much time it would take to just replace the cord...and then the threaded light socket...and then the switch..and then the bulb.

Here's the lamp in it's totally attractive before state. The shade is clearly an afterthought and while the lamp actually worked, the cord and plug were definitely janky and the last thing we need is a house fire. I thought this would be an easy fix. New cord, remove the shade altogether, and just toss on an edison bulb. And while that's exactly what we did, it took way (way, way) too long.

 

I thought I'd go all out and pick up a sweet cloth-covered cord, but the hole in the lamp arm was so tiny that I was nervous it wouldn't fit. Luckily that part at least worked out. I also picked up an edison bulb at the local Menards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, as with retrofitting anything, we had to pick up a few extra washers and tweak a few things along the way. I kinda love the way it turned out, though. A little old, a little new, and a lot of new that looks like it's old. Win-win.

Here's one last before-and-after shot to appreciate how far a few bucks can go into turning something meh into something awesome.

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FALL FOLIAGE
2014-09-10

I'm anxiously awaiting fall here, or at least some kind of weather void of humidity. I have several spray-painting projects that I want to accomplish but I'm worried that I won't have the perfect weather/time/patience trifecta. In the meantime, several of our deck flowers reached their overgrown state / expiration, so I spent some time on the deck earlier this week cleaning things up and cutting back the vines that had grown so long they were wrapping themselves around the deck boards. Whoopsch. Nothing says fall like the Bears losing their first game and mums, so after a short trip to Cali for business, I picked up some fall foliage to get in the mood. 

 

 

I'm also working on a new wreath for the front door because the last one fell and cracked (yes, the styrofoam actually separated) and made a super sorry yarn mess in the hallway. My plan is to create something similiar but slightly modified. 

We're also working on a lamp project that was supposed to be a super simple quick fix but has turned into a project where I sit online searching for threaded light sockets and double-gauged wire. Hopefully the parts show up soon so we can check that guy off the list. 

Other than that, it's almost time to start designing holiday cards to get up on Etsy. Hopefully we Chicagoans actually have a nice fall before the arctic tundra sets in and we are housebound for 5 months. Hopefully...

 

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5 YEARS A HOME
2014-08-20

Above: City maps of a few of the places we've visited along the years...Copenhagen, Paris, Athens, Munich, Stockholm.

It's a celebration! We've been in the loft for 5 years now and I can't believe how much this place has changed. Well, I can, because looking at these "before" shots is kind of shocking to me. I clearly forgot about all the work we did around here. And, if we're being honest (I think we're at that point in the relationship now) I'm shocked that as soon as I walked into this place that I was sold instantly. Maybe I knew what it could become with a lot of paint...and I'm so glad that I was willing to overlook so many things...you'll see what what I mean when we get to the photos. So, without further ado, here are the "before" shots of our "Italian Villa Loft" that were taken by my father-in-law during our inspection back in '09. 

The Dining Room/Entry, before. Note our awesome realtor pondering the existence of extreme faux finishes (sponge painting, stripes, sponge painting over stripes, an all-over sand wash, and the ultimate winner--faux leather!) while Kevin and I are having a serious conversation on whether or not to hold our next Knights of the Roundtable meeting under that 200lb chandelier. Fun fact: I tried to sell that chandelier for two months. The retail price was over $1400. Shockingly, no one wanted it so it ended up at the Brown Elephant. Adorable Fun Fact: Kevin and I are both wearing boat shoes.

Now. Less clutter, more storage, and without the sponge-painted walls. Our dining room is virtually all CB2--the table, the chairs, and the black light. The three 8 ft cabients are from IKEA and are amazing. Our entryway nook has a small tufted linen and brass bench by Threshold for Target below a framed copy of the HOLSTEE Manifesto. Horns are everywhere in this house, so just get used to it.

 

The Living Room, before. Definitely not our style, but stil cozy and inviting. I totally miss those 12 ft long metallic silver blinds though, not.

 

Now. The wood floor is the same and we've added an 8x10 FLOR rug and turned the back wall into a giant stripe gallery. The main color in the room is gray (spoiler alert: every wall in the house is some shade of gray). Gone are the metallic blinds, surround sound speakers, and garish red wall. The furniture is a mix of old and new. The couch is from Room and Board and the sideboard is a vintage piece from Modern Cooperative in Pilsen.

 

The Bedroom, before. This room still makes me gag a little bit. I mean the leathery faux finish, the wicker, the carpet...

Now. No more carpet or faux leather walls. We've gone minimalist with all of our furniture and replaced the blinds. The bed is from Room and Board and the dresser is from CB2. The stools are from Roost in Andersonville and the brass MCM lamps were a gift. Bedding is from IKEA.

 

The Bathroom, before. The sinks are in the hallway between both of the bedrooms and the flooring was...carpet. So gross. The toliet and shower are in a separate room.

  

Now. The first thing we did when we got the keys to this place was gut the bathroom. We were able to do most of the demo ourselves (cue long nights of me sitting on the bathroom floor scraping carpet glue off the concrete) and we were able to buy all of our bathroom pieces locally from Community Home Supply. The bathroom was originally all white, but as soon as the painters left, I put that gray stripe in there. I couldn't help myself.

 

 

The Second Bedroom, before. Here it is, the culmination of bad faux finishes. We've got sponge patining and stripes...and some UFO sconces. 

Now. We've turned this room into an office because that seemed like the adult thing to do. Plus, we needed a space to store all of our computer equipment and everything that comes along with the letterpress business. We've also got my digital piano in there and our washer/dryer (which is hidden in one of the closets). This room has gone through a lot of phases in the last 5 years, but it finally feels finished now.

The Kitchen, before. Not much has changed in here except for the wall color. I'm not a super huge fan of the backsplash but the idea of changing anything scares me at this point because I imagine I'll start with something small and it will turn into a gut job. The previous owner had just finished re-doing this space before he listed it and he made some smart decisions regarding the layout/appliances. If we were doing it over, I would have gone with a lighter scheme because there isn't a lot of natural light in here.

Now. So similiar but so different. More gray and we added some white stools to the counter. What a difference a coat of paint makes, right? I really do love the kitchen, especially in the fall/winter when I can hide in there and bake and cook. It may not be huge (said in a Donald Trump voice) but it's definitely laid out well (except for that giant concrete support) and very efficient. 

 

The Deck, before. Other than the furniture/flower boxes the deck is pretty much the same. So, I guess it's all different then?

Now. New flower boxes and different styling. We spend a lot of time on the deck in the spring-fall months and being able to have an outdoor space that's all our own is really awesome.

I'm glad I finally put this post together just so I can map the evolution of this place over the last five years. I guess it's true what they say about design, it's never really finished. It's so easy to change up a space with color or accessories. Maybe if I had more time I'd start a third business...just kidding.

 

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IMPROMPTU TRIP
2014-08-18

On Saturday we took an impromptu trip to Cedarbug and Port Washington (Wisconsin). We wanted to hit up some of the smaller antique/consignment shops, swing by the lake, and eat some ice cream...aka a perfect summer day. 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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THE LIST
2014-08-10

I know it's been a while (ok, it's been a long time) but there's been a bit of craziness happening around here and I have no idea where all that time went...except that it's gone. Having two businesses (well, one is more hobby than business, but they are both equally time consuming) makes for hectic times. Hopefully things will slow down a bit because I have a lengthy craft to-do list that's been staring me in the face for 3 months. Wanna see the list? Boom:

  • I found this awesome metal IKEA open shelving unit in our garage next (key word is next) to the dumpsters so I picked it up immediately and without missing a beat, bought some gold spray paint to spruce it up. I had caviar dreams of setting it up on the deck and loading it full of small herb pots and tiny flowers, and you know, showcasing my fancy, non-existent garden tools. Where is it now, you ask? It's being used as a laundry rack...
  • I picked up this incredible little lamp at the Brown Elephant back in...April? It needs some TLC and a wiring job which I have all the tools/supplies for...just haven't had the time. 
  • Antiquing has taken a back seat these last 2 months but I'm ready to shop. Not sure what I'm looking for at the moment, but I'm sure something will catch my eye. 
  • I picked up these awesome circular wood knobs from CB2 about a year ago and am just now trying to figure out where to hang them...other than everywhere.
  • And the boring stuff: I need to fall clean the house and organize all the closets and drawers that are overflowing. Granted, I do find that fun but it's still something that I've had to put off. 

Hopefully I'll be able to start crossing these tasks off the list pretty soon because I'm feeling pretty ambitious right now and I'm thinking I should take advantage of that feeling before I remember that there's TV and Netflix and a comfortable couch and that naps can also make one feel successful...

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A PLACE THAT IS YOURS
2014-07-02

A few weeks ago during a run on the lake path I snapped a quick photo of the view. Fourteen years ago (yikes) when I semi-permanently moved to Chicago to go to college, I was extremely lucky enough to live right on the water, with even a few of those years having a sandy beach for my backyard. I vividly remember going to my first college class ever--Early European History--and being told by the teacher that despite living right on the lake, I would end up taking it for granted. That I would walk by it everyday and forget that it's there and forget that it's beautiful. And I said, "No way, not gonna happen." And you know what, it didn't. I spent 7 years living on the lake--first in Roger's Park and then in Edgewater--and I spent 5  of those years roadbiking that lake path every morning, mosty alone during the quite 6am hour, breathing in the fresh air and listening to whatever mixes I had made for that week. Then I'd get home, quickly get ready and hop on the train to get downtown for work. At 5pm I'd rush home to get back on my bike again to log another 15 miles, riding toward downtown, circling Oak Street beach, and finally heading north to make it home just as the sun set.

It's my very own place that just happens to be a place for everyone else. I had an extremely scary bike accident on this path at the Belmont Harbor entrance. I've lived off the Ardmore entrace and the Berwyn entrace. Kevin and I got engaged right off the Fullerton entrance... Funny how a stretch of concrete is responsible for so many years of memories. I think everyone should have a place like this. 

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1ST BIRTHDAY INVITES
2014-06-25

We recently desgined & created these adorable invites for a 1st birthday party. There's a lot going on, but all of the different elements--from the chevron to the stripes to the buttons--all seem to compliment each other. The birthday girl loves buttons and the colors pink and gray. I think these invites would also pop in ombré blues as well!

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NEW BUFFALO
2014-06-20

It's hard to believe it's already nearing the end of June! Wasn't it just snowing...yesterday? With the return of the sun and the warmth (and the humidity) I've tried to squeeze in some day trips to the beach, go antiquing (hold your hats because sometimes I even antique at the beach...) and just enjoy the day. 

Yesterday my mom and I took quick trip to New Buffalo, Michigan. Maybe you remember a similiar post from last year. It's one of our favorite places to go, in that it's less than 2 hrs from my house and it's got the beach, great food, and a strip of antique and retro shops along Red Arrow Hwy. 

One of our other favorite places to visit is Luisa's Cafe where you can just pull off from the side of the road and get an amazing lunch. That's three small crab cakes with crab and celery soup. You're welcome. It also doesn't hurt that it's attached to a Swedish Bakery either.

But obviously the best place to relax is at the beach. And, coming in 2nd place (right behind Holland), is the beach in New Buffalo. We usually set out there around 4pm which is when a lot of families start packing up to go home for dinner. Yesterday it was a bit overcast (which during our drive home turned into a torrential downpour) but it doesn't really matter because it's the beach. And, it looks like this. And, it's perfect.

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GENERATIONAL GARDENING
2014-06-13

We've had a lot of projects going on (like dumpster diving for furniture and re-wiring an old lamp I found at the Brown Elephant) which will be up on the blog next week!

I headed out to the burbs yesterday to visit mom and one of my favorite things about going to her house (other than her cooking, baked goods, and general awesomeness) is her yard. She's clocked in an ungodly amount of hours planning, creating, and worrying about her lawn, flowers, and trees. But, if you ask me (do it, ask me) it's all been worth it. 

I don't have any before pictures, but just imagine any suburban raised-ranch built in the 1970s and I think you'll have a pretty good idea of her starting point. (Read: Timber logs for garden edging; hundreds of scary evergreen bushes with roots for days; white stones with animal-sized weeds coming through; and a multi-cracked concrete patio.)

 

She's planted many beautiful trees over the years (Chanticlear Pear, Birch, Crimson King Maple, Crab Apple, Redbud, Arbor Vitae, etc..) and I love to watch them bud, flower, and grow. Within the last few years, she's had a brick patio built and a stunning walkway put in that follows the slope of her yard, all surrounded by a picturesque white picket fence.  

Now, while most of this work was actually done by my mom (the brick edging in the backyard garden which loosely resembles the shape of Italy and the front brickwork which we put in a few years ago on a sweltering summer day) I've tried to force her to get some things done by a professional. 

 

While I love living in a loft, I'm really looking forward to owning a lawn at some point. Oddly enough, that thought makes me crave my youth. You know, when every Saturday morning was spent mowing the lawn and washing the car and every weekend was spent driving around aimlessly with friends and Slurpees, emocore blasting from the speakers...

Seeing all of my mom's hardwork and sitting on her patio smelling all of the wonderful scents brought back summer memories of visiting my grandma's house in Michigan. She had the most insane backyard garden full of exotic flowers. Sidenote: My grandma, awesome, strong-willed woman that she was, used to edge her entire front walkway in annuals well into her 80s. 

In any case, I like to think that I get my appreciation for outdoor beauty (along with everything else) from my grandma and my mom, who are very much the kind of women that I aspire to be. 

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KATHIE
awww, i love this post! your mom's yard is so beautiful! and that pic of grandma is a favorite of mine:) oh the memories it brings back...
(reply)

THE OFFICE REVISITED
2014-05-28

Well, the final touches (for now) have been put on the walls in the office and despite it being incredibly difficult to get a decent photo in there, I managed to grab a few. 

 

If you remember the room before, the walls were painted a light gray (Site White by Sherwin Williams) and there was kind of a mismatch of furniture--a leftover dresser, my digital piano, the washer/dryer...you get the picture. We bought the desk from CB2 at the end of 2012 (geez, where did the time go?) and the two prints that hung above the desk were from Etsy. 

Since the room doesn't have full walls or ceilings (it backs up to the kitchen and the bathroom) I thought that nook area would be perfect in a darker color. I used the same dark gray that we used to make the stripes in the living room--partly for continuity and partly because I didn't want to introduce another color in this space. 

The other big difference in the room is that we ditched the old dresser (by ditched, I mean my mom is storing it for us. Thanks mom!) and bought two Bestå cabinets in birch with glossy white doors/drawers from IKEA. This was the first time that I picked out something that IKEA had discontinued (they didn't have the 50" doors in stock) but they had a select few left in their east coast warehouse. When they were delivered to us, one door was completely smashed and thus began a lot of phone calls and trips to the store to get it straightened out. Despite that, I love them. We opted to get the soft-close drawers which ran a little more in the Andrew Jackson department, but now I can push them closed just part-way and the Bestå takes care of that last little bit.  

The other big move was the printer. We had it hidden in the closet next to my letterpress but it was such a hassel to get up every time something was printing. So, I figured why not get some kind of industrial-skateboard-contraption and put it under the desk. It totally works like a charm and because it's on casters I can move it out fairly easily when I get bored and have printer-cart races in the office.

The last thing we replaced were the sconces. When we moved in they were something out of the 80s in this hideous plastic/metal inverted cone shape and I don't think I made it better with the accordian-chrome-task sconces that I bought from CB2. While searching the Home Depot website (which I do nightly for fun) I came across some outdoor sconces that were killer...and cheap. I mean for $39 bucks you get an antiqued brass lamp with a beehive seeded glass shade. Sold. We had a small hiccup in that the previous lights were on a dimmer switch and these new LED lights couldn't handle that. And by couldn't handle that, I mean they flashed on and off like there was a massive security breach about to happen. The simple solution for that was to convert to an on/off switch. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love mood lighting as much as the next person, but the new lights give off such a soft glow that it feels like mood lighting. Win-win.

 

The last task I had before the reveal was the gold dot decals. Luckily they were only $8 on Etsy becuause when I got them I was kind of confused as to what kind of design I wanted. I like things very symmetrical but I knew if I tried to put these up in straight lines or a grid pattern that I would fail horribly. So, I did the next best thing. I made it totally random. And I have to admit, it was super fun just throwing those up on the wall and saying, I'll put one here...and another one there. I'm sure we'll get some artwork up on the walls at some point but for now, I'm calling this project done.

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PaperPlanePress is a husband/wife collaboration based out of an old pencil factory loft in chicago. Who would think that when you put together a computer engineer and a world coin numismatist you'd get creative gold.

 



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