Raleigh baby room surprise

I remotely planned a baby room design for my friend Meghan in Raleigh. You can see some of my planning here. Last night, while Meghan was sleeping, I made it happen in 4 hours. The best part about this room? All of the major ingredients to make it fabulous were less than $600.
As a reminder, this is what the room looked like before. It was basic – nothing particularly special about this room, but it is a room everyone can relate to. It is a basic bedroom!

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A very basic baby room – the “before” shot

Meghan had recently carpeted and painted the room so there was a nice base to work with, but decorating wasn’t a first priority with the baby only 4-weeks away. The baby gender is unknown and Meghan wanted this room to “last”, so the design is intended to be gender neutral and sophisticated so it will be age appropriate for many years.
When working on a budget, the best way to make a big impact for less dollars is to hang a mural wallpaper. Lulu and Georgia has beautiful choices. I needed 2 rolls for this project. I began at 9PM and started with wallpaper.

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It was my second time installing wallpaper and I did it alone, so I trust anyone could do this. The paper is pre-pasted so all you need to do is use a sponge to spread water on the back of the panel, hang, and push out the air bubbles. The pre-pasted glue is a bit “slimy” in texture once it is activated, so you have some time to maneuver the panel and slide it into place so it matches up. I trimmed the base, top and around the outlets with a sharp x-acto knife and a straight edge (the same tool I used to smooth out the wallpaper).

After the wallpaper was done I worked on the curtains.

DIY Pom-Pom Curtains: The curtains are Threshold from Target. I bought pom-pom trim from Amazon and 1 roll of HeatnBond hem tape. This is all you need, plus an iron. These curtains were less than $50, TOTAL, for BOTH panels! All you need to do is iron the pom pom trim to the inside edge of the curtain with the HeatnBond hemming tape. I had to set my iron to a much higher steaming setting than the directions recommended, but that worked fine. This took ~20 minutes.

Iron on pom-poms, make fabulous curtains for <$50 total
The finished panel from the front. So beautiful and so easy and so inexpensive!

After I finished the curtains, I arranged the furniture around the edges of the room, accessorized with a $36 Lulu and Georgia Zeba pillow, a $48 trio of West Elm frames filled with my own animal watercolors and laid down a $163 Lulu and Georgia Nasra 5×7 rug.

West Elm gallery frames with watercolors by me
Lulu and Georgia Nasra rug, 5×7, brightens up the room and adds a nice extra layer

While I initially planned to make a DIY mobile, I found this Blabla mobile on eBay for $40, so I went with that given retail is $170+. Whenever I’m looking for something special, I always check Ebay first and I always bid under list. Even if the item is an auction item (and doesn’t have a buy it now option), I will message the seller and ask if they will take a lower price. Why? Because negotiating is fun! 😉 This one was listed for $60 and I got it for $40, muahaha.

My Ebay Blabla mobile is FAB and entirely handmade! Fits jungle theme perfectly.

I finished at 1AM. Surprising Meghan was the best, she loved it. 🙂

A 4-hour makeover, complete! Lulu and Georgia Mural
Jellycat doll, Pehr bag, Target Lamp, Wayfair chair, Lulu and Georgia pillow and mural and rug

 

 

Potter Barn crib, BlaBlah (Ebay) mobile, Target side table, DIY pom-pom Target curtain, Lulu and Georgia Mural
Paintings by me! Lulu and Georgia jungle mural

The drawer pulls we planned to update are delayed from China, but they are en route and will be mint green porcelain.

Love you Meghan and baby S to-be! Lulu and Georgia jungle mural

It was such a fun project and I’m so lucky that Meghan let me express all my ideas freely and completely trusted me with this room after a half bottle of wine. Love you Meghan, and baby S!

Stephanie Hier artwork

For the dining room and the den

We came across Stephanie’s work for the first time at an exhibition in Chicago called Note G at Chicago Manual Style. The first piece I saw was in a ceramic frame.

Stephanie Hier, It’s time to pay the fiddler (2018), Oil on canvas with glazed stoneware frame, 15 x 10.5 inches. Chicago Manual Style, Note G Exhibit.

I love this painting and I especially love how technically detailed it is. I thought about the work after the show and almost immediately went down a rabbit hole to find more works by this artist, and learn more about her, and maybe find a piece I could buy. And, I found two! The first is an edition that is really beautiful with unique, hand-applied, temporary tattoos. I got first pick and chose the strawberry and cherry because I just love them! I bought this edition from David Dale Gallery in London.

Stephanie Hier, With a belly full of the classics (2018), Digital print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, hand finished with temporary tattoo, 69 x 53 cm. Variable edition of 12. Private collection, from David Dale Gallery.

I separately found a stunning piece from Downs & Ross in New York. A perfect fit in the dining room. The second I saw it I knew it was the one. It couldn’t be more perfect for the green room in subject and color and size and depth – I couldn’t love this more.

Stephanie Hier, Step into the light (2017), Oil on linen, 60 x 49 inches. Private collection, from Downs & Ross.

Both pieces have been hung – one in the den and one in the dining room. Both making me happy! 🙂

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!

 

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!

The Story / Sapiens Bookcase

How I make a good looking book stack

Design Within Reach has finally re-released the famous Story Bookcase in a short and tall version here. I purchased ours on Amazon in 2017 before the re-release here. The Amazon version is 79.6″ high, 14 shelves and $285 + $43 shipping. The DWR version is 75.5″ high, 12 shelves and $295 + $21 shipping. If you’ve ever seen this bookcase in a photo and wondered how someone can possibly stack their books so neatly without them falling over, well, this is how.

The Sapiens Bookcase from Amazon

While the bookcase is a bit pricey, I love it because it can hold a ton of books in a super space efficient way and it looks chic.

 

Large to small, white bindings out (or pages)

I stack my books from large to small, bottom to top (I wouldn’t recommend any other way), with white bindings or pages facing out. Yes, this means that if the binding is colored, it is facing pages OUT and binding IN such that the entire front of the stack is in shades of white. Of course you can stack any way you’d like.

Time consuming exercise to get this right!

To most quickly order the books from tallest to shortest I first line them against the wall to gauge height and organize on the floor first, into groups, then transition to the shelves.

 

 

I leave a bit of room at the top for extras that tend to collect around the house

The Sapiens Bookcase is such a great architectural piece that adds nice interest to any room. If short on floor space, the short stack can be added to the top of a desk or console for equal impact.

Charles Mayton artwork

we are slowly building our collection


We are slowly building our art collection and this was our first real piece. We bought this Charles Mayton painting from the David Lewis Gallery in New York. We love this piece and it looks beautiful over our dining room table (that my dad made) and chairs (that we made). See this post for how-to make the chairs from $25 Ikea frames (steal!).
The painting was described to me as a re-imagined still life. The artist pushed the boundaries with his use of the canvas, hanging the “plates” separately. It is fresh and modern and I love it.