Archives for February 2011

The Playroom: Before & After

Hold on to your pantalones, this is a drastic before and after about a scary dungeon of yore that finally found a family to blow the dust off.

The basement of our 1950s ranch came with obnoxious yellow paint and stinky carpet–but I saw a playroom and studio in the making.

I shared the build-out on the old TPH, but we’ve since added furniture and art–so here is your look-see.

We figured we wouldn’t be burning too many fires in the basement playroom because, I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like a good idea.

A new screen covers the black hole, and we covered the skinny mantel with bulky pine.

The train scoots along a $4 Salvation Army table.

Another thrift store piece, before:

And, after.  I let the kids each pick out a knob for the new painted cabinet at the “knob store,” aka Anthropologie.  Guess who picked out the pink knob?  I bought the lamp on the side of the road in Cashiers when Ally, Claire, and I toured the showhouse.  The snowflake art is by my daughter, and my mother made the fisherman quilt square in 1972–which was way, way before I was born, thankyouverymuch.

Do you know how long it took me to cut out all those hearts for Valentine’s Day?  There was no way I was going to just toss them after the 14th.  They make the ancient TV look happier.

More art by my daughter.

There are two playhouses built into the awkward space in the middle of the room.

One is the house with the kitchen.

And the other is the store.

The playroom used to open up into what is now my studio.

We added a wall with built-in shelves and four square windows to let some of the daylight through.

I do–I have a thing for retro, vintage, mid-century goodness.  Can you tell?

New Playroom Painting

Well, it looks like Walter Gropius moved in across the street.  He should make a nice neighbor.

This is hanging in the kids’ playroom in the basement.  How about we plan on a tour of el romper room on Monday?  Hope you like color…


And, in other news, dear Darlene over at Fieldstone Hill Design is featuring TPH today!  Thank you, Darlene, for making my day!  If you haven’t met Darlene yet, let me introduce her:

Her stone house…be still my beating heart.

She posts great decorating advice; and her “ditto” posts are a lot of fun–in which she shows a space and what she would like to “ditto” or steal from it.  Stop by and say hi!


Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  Mine looks quiet, a big fat hooray!  See you on Monday!

How Do You Thrift?

I love stuff and I love stuff at a great price…which means there is more money for more stuff.  (This is quite contrary to my husband’s philosophy that a great price means we save money to save, not spend.  I know, it doesn’t make sense.)  But I’m trying to be better about being swayed by the deal if I don’t really love or need something.  It is just so hard when a person loves stuff.  There are deeper contemplations on this than my frippery–Nester said it perfectly about the pitfalls and joys of thrifting.  Plus, she mentioned the cottage so I’m all kinds of flattered.

The latest thrift purchase, a big white rabbit cookie jar, met all my requirements as a worthy buy:  unique, substantial, happy, and functional as it holds our tea.  And, it reminds me of Puppy by Jeff Koons, bam.  The thing is, I didn’t buy the rabbit right away.  I went home and thought and thought about it for days.  That’s when I knew.  It was night when I unpacked Thumper and gave her a good cleaning and set her on the kitchen counter.  Within in moments of waking up the next morning, my son ran into my bathroom distraught, “Where did that creepy squirrel come from?  It’s eyes are scaring me!”  So the house is divided on the rabbit cookie jar.  But, what’s the saying, When Mama is happy and no else is, ain’t no matter?

(I know you are looking at the pink tumbled marble with the yellow granite–do not adjust your monitors.  This is indeed the reality of the kitchen that came with the house.  Don’t think that I haven’t ripped out those upper cabinets and retiled the wall a hundred times in my mind.)

How do you thrift?  See and buy?  See and mull over and then buy?

Mirror…from Kirkland’s!

Yeah, like that store in the mall.  Crazy, right?  Especially for $79.  Thank you to Capella for cluing me in that it isn’t all faux foliage and scrolly metal work accessories…but it mostly is, so proceed with care.  But I’m really pleased with it!

My new black and gold knot mirror is hanging in the guest room now, waiting for me to finish the mid-century dresser I picked up at the Tabacco Barn.  While I received a really great quote on having the dresser lacquered, I’m going to paint it myself and save some pennies.  Plus, I’ve found that I stress out too much over the piece I had lacquered last summer with the kids in the house.  Let’s just say we’re big on distressing ’round here.

Oh, and look who also has a Kirkland’s mirror!

My sweet father-in-law made that parsons table for me five years ago for my birthday.  It will relocate somewhere else in the house.  The lovely burl wood table has been displaced for several months but feels safe slumming it under Parsons skirt for the meantime.  There is also a drum set in the room and a crib and that lacquered table that I stress over, did I mention that already?


While we’re talking about reflecting, I must say thank you so much for your comments on yesterday’s post.  I’m slowing responding–but thank you for letting me share a little about our story.  Because our story–and the rest of our story–is changed from that whole experience.

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