Guest bedroom, flipped

Into a baby room!

MyChicagoHouse is expecting! We are in the process of flipping our guest bedroom into a baby room for our first child (a boy!) due in August. Thankfully we didn’t spend too much on the furniture in the guest room – only the Ikea bed, a needlepoint rug from Ebay and a side table from Chairish, and I’ve already sold the needlepoint rug (yay!).
I knew for this baby room I was going to need a crib AND a place for guests to sleep, but we weren’t going to be able to fit both the queen and the crib, so we had to get creative. First I plotted my floor plan in excel to get a sense of the space.

Original floor plan left with rug (green) and bed

The bottom right door is our bathroom and top left is a hallway. The closet door is not pictured but it is on the bottom right wall adjacent to the bathroom door. The old rug (that I have since sold) was too small for the changes. It was always a bit small but it worked better with the bed.

I mocked up a new larger rug. Generally, my rule of thumb on rugs is bigger is better. You want to fill up the whole room. If measuring I do 3-4” away from the walls and get as close as I can with a standard size.

New floor plan on right with bigger rug, crib and daybed

After I was happy with the floor plan, we found the Asmara rug of my dreams at http://www.rugsource.com (10′ x 12′) for <$450 and scooped that up with a rug pad, then purchased the Elsie Daybed from Pottery Barn on sale, with the trundle and matching crib.

Pottery Barn Elsie daybed with trundle and Target pillows

PB oddly has two beds called “Elsie” but this one has the spindle sides. It is amazing how much more space we have! It will still do-able for two people to sleep in this room comfortably on Tuft & Needle mattresses (the top fits this mattress, but the trundle will need to be thinner from Amazon). While I did buy new twin sheets, I kept all of our queen bedding, folded it to fit the twins, and added some throw pillows from Creative Co-op at Target.

These Target Creative Co-op pillows are lovely and <$45, pillow incl!
New rug, daybed and crib in place!

Our bookcase has always been a bit of a challenge because we were short on books and long on shelving. Now, we need to free up shelves for baby books, so I moved all of the books up and closed the gaps. This freed up nine shelves! The boxes that remain are empty, and I will leave them there until we have filled the space with books for the baby.

Lower shelves are filled with empty boxes, to be replaced with baby books soon

For now, you will probably notice that we do not have a changing table or chair in this room. I was planning to sit on the daybed and use that as a space to change the baby. We have all of our supplies on the back of the closet door that I customized. I know this isn’t ideal but the room is small and from the floor plans above you can see the door on the right-hand side is actually the guest bathroom, so 3/4 walls have a door on them.

There is not much space for extra furniture so we are trying to be minimal

It is possible we squeeze in a chair next to the crib in front of the bookcase but it seems tight to me. We are also in the process of getting blackout curtains made in a fabric that matches the wallpaper which, believe it or not, was cheaper than restoration hardware!

Let me know what you think about this room and layout!

The den, plaid makeover

Plaid carpet install

The den has been in process for quite some time and not including the kitchen, the last room to finish, but we have a great base with the walls painted Railings by Farrow & Ball to layer on mixed plaid and cozy this room up! As a reminder, this is what the room looked like before we got started. 

The den, from the listing photo

It is amazing to think that our cozy den was once a bedroom!

The first thing we did was paint the space and remove all traces of gray

It still makes me sad that the homeowner painted the entire home gray to sell it, just for me to immediately re-paint, but alas – the gray is gone, and so is the pink square that the mirror was hiding… 

The carpet selection for this room was simple. I knew I wanted a modern plaid rug in a navy tone and was immediately drawn to a carpet from Stark that could be custom cut to fit the room perfectly. 

From selection to installation, the Stark carpet was in place within one month

We had a couple of real-time decisions to make as the carpet was being installed. Namely, whether or not we left the “tail” of carpet alongside the fireplace and behind the door. While it is relatively “skinny” I decided to keep the tail as the door is often open and I wanted to see the carpet extend behind the door. I also did not want the door to get caught up on the edge of the carpet when opening and closing. After months of living with this carpet, I am happy we kept the tail. 

We debated keeping this “tail” or cutting it short and decided to keep it

The addition of the carpet made such a difference in this room and I am so happy with it. It is a perfect compliment to the Railings paint color. 

The carpet is a perfect match to the Railings paint from F&B

Still in process is a cornflower blue pull-out couch from Avery Boardman that will be delivered soon. Once the couch is in place I will select chairs from Chairish (or Ebay) to re-upholster.

Stark carpet in place, waiting for furniture

I’ve narrowed down the fabric to a selection of Colefax and Fowler plaids, pictured below. They all coordinate well with the couch fabric (below, bottom right), and the carpet. I’m debating introducing more than one plaid and am thinking about it all as a big mix and match project. It needs to coordinate, but it doesn’t need to match perfectly. 

Swatches from Colefax and Fowler and our chosen couch fabric from Manuel Canovas, bottom right

Keeping in mind the art that we selected for the room, I am leaning towards the plaid on the top right of the image above for side chairs. The fabric has a sense of plum which helps to pull in the tones of the artwork and it feels like a better coordinating fit, to me. 

Stephanie Hier artwork in the den, wall painted Railings by F&B

Once the couch is delivered and in place, I will make the final decision. I’m enjoying taking my time on this project! 

Halloween Chic

Simple Halloween decor that is classic and spooky

Our Halloween decorations were all sourced from Michael’s craft store. We spent less than $100 and will use all of the decorations again next year. I wanted to bring in the “spooky” and “freaky” without making the decor too dark or sensational, and on a white bookcase it was impossible to make the decor too dark anyway, so I worked with what we had and even incorporated some of our usual shelf decor, that with the black fabric looked spooky too!

The hand mannequin that is always on our shelf looks spookier with the Halloween colors

I flipped all of our books so that black, white and red bindings were the only visible colors facing out. I removed all items from our shelves that were out of the color scheme and hid them below. I layered a combination of black fabric, black stuffing and faux fall leaves across the shelves with a mix of styrofoam (read: cheap) skeleton heads, black crows and a “bag of bones” nestled in a chicken wire box.

All of the books turned out or face forward were red, white and black / B&W

The black stuffing went a long way to elevate basic shelves to Halloween chic with the mix of faux leaves. Be sure to stand the leaves up in the stuffing so that you can see them from afar vs. simply laying them down flat.

Leaves standing up in the black stuffing add more color and texture than leaves laying flat

The crows were a fun addition to the shelves and we were able to tuck a few away in some “surprise” places throughout the house.

A crow perched atop the Sapiens bookcase

Each fireplace mantle was decorated differently with a combination of small pumpkins, white and orange, and more faux fall leaves. In total, I used four bags of the faux leaves and they went a long way. I took all of the extra leaves and piled them at the edge of the fireplace on the ground.

Out of frame is a pile of faux leaves at the base of the den fireplace

The dining room fireplace was decorated with faux leaf branches from Michaels and a line of orange and white striped pumpkins from the patch!

The faux leaves look real against the [real] mini orange and white striped pumpkins on the dining room fireplace

The dark Calla Lillies that we always have in our living room in their bone vases look perfect for Halloween! The white pumpkins are simple and sweet. 

Friendly “Halloween” flowers in the kitchen

All of our mini pumpkins were purchased at the pumpkin patch. We bought 15 of these minis and scattered them through the house!

All of our pumpkins were cleaned before we placed them around the house. 

While we will have to toss the pumpkins at the end of the season, all of the other decor can be stored for next year. 

In our entry, we nested a bundle of dried corn against a cluster of larger pumpkins and more faux leaves

Happy Halloween!

DIY: Rope Credenza

It’s labor day weekend and we’re making a credenza!

Once upon a time I set my eyes upon a rope credenza at a property that we visit annually on the East Coast. The second I saw it I thought, “I could make that”. And alas, the time has come. Our den walls are plaster so we cannot hide our TV wires within the walls. We will hang a Samsung Frame TV and hide the wires in a credenza. Since I was not originally planning on needing this piece of furniture, I wanted something simple and inexpensive while still appearing high end. I covered the entire IKEA Henmes sideboard in rope. (Naturally!)

Supply List:
1) IKEA Henmes sideboard, light brown, 2) 1,200 feet of 5/16″ Manila Rope, 3) Glue gun and glue sticks, 4) A paintbrush like this, 5) New knobs (optional) and longer screws to fit (rope requires screws to be slightly longer)

Pro Tip: This project took me 14 hours start to finish, so you need a weekend. I’d also recommend a very sharp knife and scissors for cutting the rope.

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IKEA Henmes sideboard: $329

Mecox has some interesting rope covered furniture that serves as a nice inspiration for this project. While I won’t be exactly mimicking this piece, I liked it very much.

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Mecox Pawley Abaca Rope Dresser: $1,875

The rope I am working with is from Knot & Rope supply.

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1,200 feet of 5/18″ rope from Knot & Rope Supply

Beginning with the drawer fronts, work from the outside in to cover them in rope. Do the same with the top of the sideboard. For the drawers, I worked from the center out because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t covering the holes for the drawer pulls, but in retrospect I think this was a harder path. It was harder because I had to measure in from the outer edge to make sure I was starting in the right place.

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Process if you begin in the center, and work out. I found it was easier to work outside in

For the cabinet doors and sides I wrapped the center section first, similar to the top and the drawers, but cut separate strips for the outer border.

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Beginning at the outer edge, wrap to center, then cut strips for sides

I cut the rope with a Global knife that I will be taking to get sharped on Tuesday. Not to say it’s dull now, I’m just expecting that is possible…

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Cut separate strips to cover the border edges

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All the pieces coming together in the living room for assembly

After the credenza was assembled, I glued down the trim pieces.

Ikea Henmes hack, covered in rope

I appreciate that I am did not go into too much detail here, but I am expecting the likelihood of some fellow-crafter following in my footsteps to DIY this piece is somewhere around 0% (rounding). So, please reach out to me if you do want to do this, and I can help guide you through.

Ikea hens hack, covered in rope with Samsung frame tv (waiting on frame)

I will have a piece of glass cut to top this off and help protect from dust. The knobs were replaced with cast iron knobs that I found online for $20. The Samsung frame tv will have a maple frame that is still on it’s way to us.

A baby room, in Raleigh

Remote planning!

One of my closest friends is pregnant with her second and I was so excited when she asked me to help decorate her baby room! We don’t know if the baby is a boy or a girl so we are keeping this design gender neutral. I’m working remotely on this project until I fly to Raleigh in two weeks, so I have relied on photographs until then to plan and buy.
Here is the room today:

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The room is messy today so it will be easy to make this room look stunning!
This room is freshly painted Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, has new carpet and all of the necessary furniture is already in place from her last baby, so we are in a good place on furniture. However, we will add some accessories to refresh some of these pieces like new ceramic drawer pulls and a fun throw pillow for the chair!
I mocked up each wall of the room in photoshop using the exact Benjamin Moore color on the walls and got to “decorating”, virtually.

meghan 1 complete copy
New drawer pulls from Anthropologie freshen up dresser: $6.40 each (on sale)

The mirror we already had, so wanted to work that into the design. The drawer pulls here are from Anthropologie, but we ended up ordering our pulls from Etsy where they cost less than $2 each and were only $17.65 total for 7, including shipping.

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West Elm frames with art by me: $48 + Zebra Pillow from Lulu and Georgia: $36

These frames are a steal and with DIY art you can fill a wall for <$50.

Meghan 3 final copy
These curtains are from Pottery Barn, but we will do ours DIY

We already have a set of white curtains, so will DIY iron-on pom-pom fringe to jazz them up.

Meghan 2 final copy
My favorite – a wallpaper mural from Lulu and Georgia: $175 / panel (we need 2 to cover 12′)

This DIY mobile is from Etsy and is made with felt. We will make our own. The mural is from Lulu and Georgia and can be found here.

Meghan Baby FINAL
Mood board for the space including the Nasra Rug from Lulu and Georgia, $163

This rug from Lulu and Georgia is a really great price for 5×7 and will add a nice cushy layer to the room and brighten it up. So excited for this to all come together in Raleigh!

Decorating with Needlepoint Rugs

The inspiration bedroom for the guest is of course, Tory Burch’s Bird & Thistle bedroom in the Hamptons.

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Architectural Digest, Tory Burch – Asmara Ferncroft rug

While the wallpaper was easy to identify (Bird and Thistle), the rug was not and I had to deep dive the internet to identify the rug as the Asmara Ferncroft. Tory has layered multiple rugs in this room as you can see from a photo taken at an alternate angle. It is unclear to me if this rug is also Asmara, but it does not appear to be.

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Architectural Digest, Tory Burch – Unknown layered rug

Both rugs are beautiful, but at >$6,000 for the size we needed, they were out of budget, so I shifted the search to Ebay and found the perfect fit 6’x9′ for <$400. There are plenty of needlepoint rugs on Ebay to choose from. Most important for me was to find a larger floral pattern that would compliment the Bird & Thistle wallpaper well. Matching a rug to wallpaper is a bit like matching a tie to a shirt. You can mix and match patterns but the sizing should complement and the colors should coordinate, but don’t need to match perfectly. The rug that I purchased was $450 including shipping, a far cry from the thousands of dollars you could spend on a new rug, and this rug is new itself, but made in the 1990’s.

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Aubusson Needlepoint Rug, 1990s, from Ebay

You may remember the rug that is currently in the guest room from this post,  but here is a refresh:

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Surya, Grace cotton rug with crochet edging, in off-white

The rug lays flat, is an off-white color, has crochet edges and is 8’x10′. I am currently selling this rug on Ebay. Here is a picture of this rug in our room, before we swapped it out.

The Surya cream rug works well, but is basic
The nightstand – A Chairish find!
The pattern works perfectly with the wallpaper
And, more pattern with the Liberty quilt, made by my mom

The new rug in position couldn’t be more perfect and I love the play of pattern across the rug, quilt and wallpaper.

A Chairish Makeover

Re-upholstering a Chairish find

I am a big fan of the Chairish app and the great deals that are available there. Chairish is like a garage sale without leaving your home. The shipping costs can be a bit tricky, but overall there are some incredible finds on this platform. I recently nabbed two chairs for $315 on Chairish, had them re-upholstered in Colefax and Fowler Bowood fabric, and they are now like new!

Cowtan & Tout, Colefax and Fowler Bowood Fabric

The most important part of getting a good total value here is to pay as little as possible upfront. This helps to accommodate the high price of fabric and labor. Otherwise, you may be better off buying a brand new chair and providing your fabric direct to the manufacturer to upholster. Before I begin searching, I get a rough idea of the dimensions that I need the chair to be, then I sort by these dimensions. I am typically flagging (“hearting”) every chair that has a good shape and size and am not discriminating based on price (I always negotiate). A particularly good tip is to find slightly dirty or oddly colored chairs that generally won’t sell well – and bargain down. My first offer is always the lowest price the slider will allow, and then I see what happens.

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SRQ Vintage chairs, purchased from Chairish

In this case, I found a pair of great chairs from SRQ Vintage in Bradenton, Florida that were in perfect condition. They were listed for $595. I offered $315 and I got them. Off to a good start! Shipping was $369 which is really expensive, but I have since learned that if you speak to the seller you can get much less expensive shipping options.

On delivery day, the chairs are in great condition!

The chairs were white-glove delivered to our home and were the perfect size and fit. However, they were missing swivels so I had our upholsterer add a new base. Comfort Upholstery did an amazing job re-upholstering these chairs quickly (and well) and picked up and delivered when complete.

Upholstered Bowood chairs by Custom Upholstery, Chicago

From start to finish this project took 2 months total from the day I ordered (April 7) to the day the chairs were delivered from Chairish (May 9) to the day I sent to upholstery (May 18) to the day they returned (June 6) and I love them!

Bowood chairs happily re-covered and in place in the living room

The chairs required 16 yards of fabric, but there was a good amount left over that has been sent away to be made into throw pillows!