Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rock-A-Bye Baby

Within my circle of girlfriends it seems like recently we have started "baby phase number 1". You know what I mean, a few years ago we went through the "marriage phase". Everyone seemed to be getting married in our group-not me yet (but I have been a bridesmaid so many times I could teach a class on it), and now it seems like many are starting to have their first children. Two of these people happen to be very special to me. My sister Dana, and one of my best gal pals Jackie.
Jackie was first-she was so excited to find out she was going to have a little girl, and wanted to make the nursery fabulous-in every sense the word! She had picked out an adorable black crib with this beautiful black, white and apple green damask bedding. it was adorable. When she started looking for a glider for the room, I suggested that she let me re-design one for her. I had just used this awesome black velvet damask on linen fabric for a chair I had done, and I knew it would be exactly what the nursery needed! I started scouring Craigslist for a used Dutailier. Once I found the one I wanted, I put a coat of primer on it and gave it several coats of glossy black enamel. Jackie and Jade-who turns one next month love the glider!
Once my sister Dana saw the glider, she wanted one too! She was having a little boy. We wanted to make her glider gender neutral so that she could use it again someday. I found another used Dutailier, cleaned and painted it-this time antique white to match her shabby chic taste, and used this adorable and affordable Ty Pennington fabric in a taupe-gray pattern. It turned out perfect. It is in my nephew's room in this picture, but you can see how it could be perfect in a little girls room too! Dana and Henry rock in here all the time!

A new Dutailier glider and ottoman can cost anywhere from $600-$800 depending on the style. The redesigned gliders that I made for my girls were lots less, and completely unique! Just another way to take something old and make it awesome!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Creating the Perfect Master Bedroom

Recently I moved into a new house, so the master bedroom was the first room I took on. This is a very important room to get right, as we spend most of our time here! Here is my best advice:

First things first: the bed is the most important piece of furniture in the room! If you can, spend the money to find a bed that is beautiful and timeless. Unfortunately, older bed frames you will find at flea markets and estate sales are full size. I think most would agree this isn't comfortable for two people to sleep in! There are some places that specialize in converting these beautiful old beds into queen or even king size beds, but they are hard to find. Kansas City used to have one-Cheep Antiques in North Kansas City. Sadly they are no longer in business. If anyone knows of another place, let me know!

Another option is to create a headboard yourself. A big trend right now is to only have a head board-no rails or foot board needed! I did this in my guest bedroom. I purchased a piece of particle board from the local hardware store and had it cut to the size of a queen size bed. I put a 2 inch foam pad on one side, and then wrapped it in batting to make it super cushy. Lastly, using my trusty staple gun, I wrapped the headboard in some fun fabric. This is a great option for those of us who like to change things up often. I think I used 2 yards of fabric, so it could be pretty cheap to change it up if I want.

Now for bed placement. A huge pet peeve of mine: Unless you are in college, you should not have your bed against the wall! It just doesn't do anything for the space. Even if your room is small, pull it out! Find a small side table, add a lamp or a vase and a book or frame. Believe me, it will make the room instantly more inviting. Both sides of the bed should have a small table, chest, or even a stool. Have some fun here! You don't have to spend a ton of cash-find re-designed pieces, or try re-designing yourself! Stay away from being too matchy-matchy. Pick things that are functional, and a few things that are meaningful. All the furniture in my bedroom (except the bed) came from flea markets and garage sales. Add new hardware, new paint or new stain for a completely unique piece.

Here is my list of must haves for the Master:
1. Intriguing, dramatic bed-remember, you can do this cheap with a little elbow grease.
2. Cozy bed linens. Don't mess around when buying sheets! Check out places like for high quality at a discount. My favorite is 500+ thread count cotton sateen.
3. If you have wood floors, a plush rug. Nobody wants to crawl out of bed and have cold feet. What a drag!
4. Bed side tables or chests of drawers. Remember, they don't have to match!
5. Lamp Lighting-even if you have overhead light, lamp light is so much more romantic, and great for reading, one for each bedside.
6. A chair or ottoman for taking off shoes. This doesn't have to be big. A bench at the end of the bed would work to.
7. Accessorize! Books, frames and vases for the bedside. And don't forget the walls! I am in LOVE with star burst mirrors right now. I found an amazing one at Hobby Lobby of all places for under 100 bucks.

Designing my master was a ton of fun! I still have some things I want to do, but here is a little sneak peek to what I have done so far!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dorothy Draper...Swoon!

For my very first post to my very first blog, I could not think of anything better to share than my obsession with the iconic designer Dorothy Draper and how I came to find and restore my most coveted piece of furniture (art in my opinion!).

First a little history: In the early to mid 1900's Dorothy Draper was the most highly sought after decorator in America. Over the years she decorated some of the most famous hotels and homes around the world. She started the first design company in the United States, made her own fabrics and partnered with famous furniture manufacturers to design a line of her own...which brings me to my story.

A few months ago, while hitting the local Kansas City "First Friday" flea markets with my mom, I came upon what I believed to be a Dorothy Draper for Heritage Henredon chest of drawers. If you look at design mags as much as I do, you know what this is-even if you don't recognize the name. Now normally I am a fairly good bargainer, knowing to never pay full price, even if you think the item you are looking at is worth every penny. When I saw the cabinet off in the back of the room, my heart started pounding. No way could someone have a DD chest here-in a flea market! It had been repainted to a peachy matte, and the drawer pulls painted as well. I quickly asked the booth owner what her price was-$125. 125 DOLLARS....Now, if you have ever looked at prices on these, you know that is an insane deal. Right now if you went to e-bay or 1stbids you could find something similar for $500-$3000. So against all my own bargaining rules, I quickly said "I'll take it". Inside I was so happy I could hug the woman! She probably thought I was a little nuts-as I paid her I was basically guarding the chest with my entire body!

Looking at the chest closely, I was fairly certain this was the real deal, and that this lady just had no idea what she was selling. The age of the piece was appropriate, the wood solid and heavy. the carvings were exact to the ones I had seen that I knew were real. Sadly, there was no marking of DD or Heritage anywhere that I could find, but it may have been painted over. Either way, I LOVED it, and it was coming home with me! Here is a picture of  the one I found, and then one from a design site. You be the judge!

Back at my condo, I had my work cut out for me. A coat of primer, several coats of white lacquer, and a final clear protective coat. All of the drawer pulls had to be soaked to remove all of the paint, and then scrubbed with brass polish. Lastly, steadily gold leafing the fabulously beautiful carved design on the drawer fronts. All and all, about a 10 hour long ordeal I'd say, but COMPLETELY worth it! The chest now sits in my living room, right where it has always belonged!