The dining room, in process

Ellis green, a needlepoint rug, and Ikea hack woven leather chairs

I posted the “before” photos of the dining room many months ago, when it was gray (and boring!), and I am not quite ready to post the “after”, but I’ve certainly made progress. What makes this room special is that all of the major elements were either made by hand or procured second hand from Ebay and 1stDibs. The most expensive item in this room was the paint. We painted the dining room Ellis Green from Farrow & Ball for a big impact. While the dining room has a lacquered look and feel, it is actually a high gloss finish and not a traditional lacquered application which is why it is not a perfect mirror, but it is close. This saved ~$5k and it works. I love the high gloss green and it makes a big impact for less [than Swedish putty / lacquer]. The inspiration home (linked above) was painted with the traditional lacquer treatment. Otherwise the paint color and finish (high gloss) are exactly the same. Comparing the two rooms you can see a difference, but one that I am willing to live with for the savings.

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Farrow & Ball “Wendy’s Green”, Ellis Green high gloss paint in pre-war dining room

The ceiling and molding is painted Wimborne White. Similar to the guest room, the rug was from Ebay and is an Asmara needlepoint rug. It was a great price (<$1,000) and a perfect fit, in perfect condition.

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1stDibs Chandelier, South Loop Lofts credenza, Ikea hack chairs (I made them), Asmara rug

The chairs were an Ikea hack with a $25 Ikea frame and leather strips purchased from an online supplier, based in TX. I posted a tutorial on these chairs on my old blog that you can find here. The chairs were ~$90 each. My father made the table and the bar cabinet.

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High gloss Ellis Paint, Farrow & Ball, Ikea hack chairs, window will ultimately have drapes

The artwork is my own and flanks the large window while it awaits the perfect chintz drapes, TBD. I have pulled a few samples and am working on my final selection for long drapes, but haven’t made a final decision yet.

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Will add a large piece of art over fireplace and decorate mantle

The fireplace is marble and was custom made for the house (by the prior owner). We will hang a large piece of art over the fireplace this month. The piece that I have chosen is currently in a show at Downs & Ross in New York. I will post the great unveil when it is hung!

 

DIY: 14k Gold Earrings

DIY jewelry making

Today I took a break from my usual home photography and made two pairs of earrings. I had been searching for weeks for the perfect gems for these earrings on Etsy and Ebay and finally found the right selection. This was a trickier jewelry-making project because the chain and the wire was so thin and small. It was hard to wrap those loops! And, I can’t even begin to give instruction on how to do this yourself because frankly, it takes a lot of practice, but you can find a great tutorial on how to wrap loops here, which is the main skill required to pull these off, and the supplies are as follows:

Supply List: 1) 6-ft of 14k Yellow Gold round wire, 30-gauge, dead soft, 2) 5-inches of 18k Yellow Gold 1.5mm oval cable chain, 3) 1 pair of 14k earring posts with 5mm balls and open rings (to attach the chain), 4) 1 pair of 14k earring backs and 5) various heart faceted briolettes from 5mm to 10mm in size.

Pro Tip: As you make your loops, never forget to “link” the next piece (the chain link) before you close your loop. If you forget, you won’t be able to open your loop back up and add a chain, or a next loop. The only case where this is an exception is for the open loop on the post.

I am a very crafty person and I have always been good at painting and making things myself. My mom and dad are both so talented, and I am sure I got some of my skills from them. I remember spending time with my mom in the basement growing up doing crafts together, and helping my dad in the wood-shop. I took my first (and last) jewelry making class on the Indian Reservation near my hometown when I was a teen, (many years ago!) but otherwise have been self taught.

14k gold earrings that I made today with various gemstones that I sourced from Etsy and Ebay

I cannot wait to wear these! If you like them too, you can find them here!

Decorating with Chairish

“Old” is new nightstand, for $113

I love Chairish, as you may have assumed from my previous post. What I am most excited by is the opportunity to give something “used” a new life, and to find great quality pieces at affordable prices, that are also unique and different!

I found this nightstand while searching Chairish and paid $113 for the nighstand + $80 shipping (negotiated down to UPS from white-glove). It is prettier in person than it was in the listing and there are two operational drawers that were not initially highlighted that made me so happy to see.

Chairish nightstand: a beautiful alternative to a big box store for $113

Am now searching for a new lamp with more color to add to this room – potentially an emerald green or a painted floral base. TBC…!

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.

Window Treatments

and custom drapes

We installed Blinds.com Malay Oak wooden romans in the guest room and will layer curtains on top. The blinds.com wooden romans are a great deal and this custom treatment cost only ~$290. The shades fit perfectly on the first try and the continuous loop cord is discreet and has a clean finish.

Double hung wooden blinds from Blinds.com, Malay Oak

We will add Bird & Thistle curtains that match our Brunshwig & Fils wallpaper.

Bird & Thistle Wallpaper, blinds.com window treatment, Ikea Gjora bed

Layered over the wooden roman will be Bird & Thistle drapes in a traditional French Pleat, also known as “pinch pleat”, style. I am having the curtains made locally, in Chicago.

Rods are typically installed 4″ above the window frame, but we will need to install closer to the ceiling to align best with the window casing. This window is 63″ wide and 73″ including the trim. The length is approximately 106″. For this window I was advised that I should leave ~10 inches on each side of the window to provide enough space, but I am leaving only 3″ in addition to the molding since the molding is so wide. This will provide for 8″ on each side beyond the window glass for the drapes to bunch.

The drapes will require 12 yards of fabric. I will hang the drapes on loops and mount the rod directly onto the wood frame (I don’t want to mount on the wallpaper). Hopefully we can leave a few inches of fabric behind the loop and have enough to pull across given this configuration.

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!

Master Bedroom

Relaxed roman shades

We decided on relaxed roman shades for the master bedroom in a privacy-backed linen. The shades are a perfect fit and match the walls well. They are from Restoration Hardware, were custom fit, and took approximately one month to arrive. We completed the install ourselves and it was easy.

RH relaxed romans in the bedroom

Each of the shades have a chain continuous loop that has been mounted to the window frame.

RH relaxed romans

Living Room Layout

The seating area is coming together with the addition of artwork and furniture transitioned from the loft. As a reminder, this is what the living room looked like in the listing (staged).

Living room in the listing photo

And, the living room when we moved in:

Delivery day!

The living room offers a good amount of space and light but as I’ve mentioned before, the paint job was not high quality (stray painters tape, drips and drops) and I am not a fan of gray, so our first step was to paint the entire space Wimborne White and start FRESH.

The moldings, walls and ceilings were all painted Farrow & Ball Wimborne White

The paint made a huge difference in unifying the space and making the moldings pop!

A fresh coat of paint unified and brightened up the space 

The paint brightened up the space and highlighted the woodwork, providing a great fresh slate for furniture and art, beginning with the Pink Eyeshadow Monkey.

The Pink Eyeshadow Monkey fit perfectly in this nook (Ralph Lauren upholstery)

The living room will have two seating areas and each will be anchored with two matching rugs. After some time spent swatching, I decided on two Restoration Hardware Teen rugs that were on sale in 10×12 size. Unfortunately they will not be delivered until August, but they were relatively well priced and the colors fit the space.

Our choice RH rug with neighboring fabric swatches and papers (Gucci, Room & Board)

We faced the chairs away from the fireplace which is a trick I first noticed at Twin Farms in Vermont and I like it here because it includes the couch in the conversation vs. facing the chairs towards the fireplace and away. The Sapien bookcase, artwork and furniture came together nicely to frame the fireplace until the rug comes in.

Final furniture layout in first seating area, pending rug

Our real estate agent purchased the horn vases for us in Africa, the bookcase is an Amazon find, the coffee table was a floor sample from Molteni, the chairs were reupholstered in Ralph Lauren fabric and the chaise couch is from Room & Board.

almost forgot. 🙂

I almost forgot the flowers!

Master Bedroom

Art finds a home in a traditional space

The master bedroom was painted Wimborne White and is a great fresh slate for art, which was installed last weekend!
As a reminder, this is where the master bedroom started:

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The master bedroom was all floral in the listing photo

Today it is a fresh slate, painted Wimborne White, for art, and for a more modern aesthetic, in a traditional space.

Farrow & Ball Wimborne White wall, perfect for hanging art

My favorite piece of art that we own has found a new home in this room. This piece is by Charles Mayton, who is represented by David Lewis Gallery.

Charles Mayton, David Lewis Gallery

A great improvement from the faded florals of yesterday!

DIY: An IKEA hack

A Gjora bed painted Farrow & Ball

Everyone loves a good IKEA hack, like my last leather woven chair hack that you can find here. This one is much simpler. The prices of the beds at IKEA can’t be beat. This bed was $359 + tax and delivery and can be found here. For this project, I am only 1) painting and 2) tweaking the design a bit by leaving off the top cross beam. Easy!

The bed that I selected was the Gjora bed because it has a nice height off the ground (more traditional) and it is simple. It also doesn’t hurt that it ” doesn’t look like Ikea”.

The Gjora Ikea Bed is traditional with nice height off the ground

The bed came in 5 thin and tall boxes that were relatively easy to wrangle into the elevator. I laid out the primary wooden pieces and immediately started to paint the exterior of the platform support and the bedposts Wimborne White from Farrow & Ball (leftover wall paint) to match our guest room trim. I quickly ran a clean towel down each piece to pick up any dust (there didn’t appear to be any).

Ikea Gjora frame pieces laid out for painting

I did not prime the pieces or do any prep work and used a brush to apply the paint. I applied the paint only to the outer surface of the support boards and painted the top edge AFTER the bed was assembled. This was easier than having to hold each board on its side. It also helped to conserve paint as no edges that do not show were inadvertently painted white.

 

Two coats of Wimborne White from Farrow & Ball gave great coverage

I debated setting up the bed directly onto the hardwood, but decided to lay down a basic rug to give some texture to the room and a soft place for feet to land. This rug was from Houzz and was not expensive. It can easily be changed out in the future.

Houzz rug is basic and looks best with a bed on top

After I painted the bed, I left off the top cross-bar that the Gjora features because I felt like it appeared too high and a bit strange. It also gave me less to paint! I will add finials to these posts once I identify which finials are best.

I will add finials to the top bed posts

Final Ikea Gjora bed with Company Store, Frette linens and Brooklinen pillows (still waiting on 1)

I will add additional pillows once they arrive, finials on the bed posts and a quilt to the foot of the bed. Will post additional pictures once it is complete.

The total cost of this bed was ~$980 start to finish, including the mattress from Tuft & Needle and the frame from Ikea.