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Planning For The End (Table)

We moved to a new state/town/home eight weeks ago, which means we have been using a big, blue plastic storage tote as a end table for eight weeks now. Honestly, it was already there as we unpacked and approximately the right height to sit a lamp on so there you have it. It is time to get it together and get real with our tables.

Last week I popped into a local second-hand store here in Ithaca, the Finger Lakes ReUse, with only about 10 minutes to spare. I knew I was after side or end tables (someone tell me the difference?) and this one stood out in the crowd pretty quickly. Not because she’s beautiful (she isn’t) or flashy (definitely not) but because she was the somewhat-hard-to-find-size we need, very very sturdy, has rounded-corners (we have little foreheads running in circles nearby) and has a shelf below for storage.  At $35 she was a bit more than I would usually want to spend for a second-hand table, but she fit the bill so I took the leap.

Here she is in all her… well, not exactly glory yet…

Planning For The End (Table) | Painting Sunny

But she will get there. Oh yes, she will.

Planning For The End (Table) | Painting Sunny

The classic Paloma Pose. This is her version of blue steel. Yes, our children propped all those pullows up against the walls for some reason. I assume they were probably launching something across the room at them… sigh.

Planning For The End (Table) | Painting Sunny

There is a label on the bottom, but looking up the company online yielded zero results. You can kindajustbarely see in this photo the underside of the top of the table which I think shows the original color of the wood and which was actually quite nice.

It isn’t good wood, just veneer, and is a bit dry and the finish is not in great condition. So it is slated to be refinished for sure. I’m brainstorming ideas, so please let me know if you think I’m on the right track or totally bananas. Anyone else just get that Gwen Stefani song stuck in their heads? No? Just me?

I’ve found some good Pinspiration (not all of the pics linked are of tables, so you have to use your imagination a bit).

Perhaps a glossy black with gold dipped legs like this?

Or an ultramarine blue like this?

You all know I’ve been in a Mid-Century mood, so maybe a nice avocado like this? I’m afraid that might be hard to coordinate, but would be a little unique. The green table linked here is gorgeous too… the color is so bold!

In the meantime, I’ll see what the Mister thinks, get it all gussied painted up, and show it off!

Anyone else doing 10-minute-or-less thrift store shopping? Have a cat with a photo-op problem? Want to dip some stuff in gold?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.


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Tenacious Tenant: Renter-Friendly DIY

I love to write about my DIY adventures, many of which focus on the home and how to make it just a little bit prettier. But you know what is different about this blog and many of the others like it?

I rent.

Having just relocated, renting a home while we get settled and learn about the community makes sense for us. Renting can pose some challenges when it comes to DIY adventures for the home. After 10 years of renting everything from a 525 sq. foot apartment in grad school to a spacious HOA-controlled three-story townhouse, I’ve learned a lot about what was worth it and what wasn’t when it came to beautifying my spaces. I’m also not the only one.

Recently, I spied this article from Dwell in the Twittersphere, it made me think about how far some people stretch to make a rental fit for them, and how a little creativity can go a long way. If you can minimize your life a little, all the better. I’ve been inspired by the whimsical beauty of Oh Happy Day’s 500 square foot rented apartment, a rental bedroom upgrade by JWK Style (featured on Little Green Notebook), and pretty much everything pretty on Apartment Therapy’s website. See, renters, we are not alone! It’s time to unite!

Tenacious Tenant: Renter-Friendly DIY | by Painting Sunny

Seriously hard to believe this is in a rental, but I believe her… Source: JWK Style via Little Green Notebook

Tenacious Tenant: Renter-Friendly DIY | by Painting Sunny

Okay, so her landlord sounds ultra-cool, but this is a good example of the power of negotiation. Source: Oh Happy Day

So, those other people’s pics are gorgeous, but what’s actually worked for me?

Yes, you can take it with you. Some stuff, at least. I try to focus on things that can follow me to my next home and which are versatile enough to fit be useful in case my next place has a very different layout or amenities.What’s some stuff I’ve made that changed the look of my home, without being bolted in place? DIY mercury-glass lamps, sewn pretty pillow covers, colorful artwork for the walls, hand-painted paper lanterns, a little red occasional table… the possibilities are endless, and you don’t have to walk away from like you would re-painted kitchen cabinets or built-in shelving.

Illicit spray-painting. In the dark. Sometimes. When you rent, especially in a multi-unit place, it can be hard to find somewhere you can paint stuff without worrying about upsetting the neighbors. I mean, I get it – why should they have to smell the painty-fumes while they’re enjoying dinner just so I can have a coral-colored ceramic hippo? But it can def cramp my style. So, what are your options?

  • It isn’t necessarily a cool move, but you could find a little spot away from other people’s homes and just try to spray paint really quickly at dusk, hoping your landlord doesn’t notice. Honestly, I’ve been there.
  • Find a friend with a big yard who will let you come over and paint in a corner of it. Don’t forget to bring a drop cloth so you don’t color her grass purple. Probably a bottle of wine is a good idea, too, since you’ll be hanging out while the paint dries.
  • See if there is a vented spray-booth in your area. Many fine art studios and art schools have ventilated spray-booths for using paints and adhesives. For a fee, or just out of the goodness of their hearts, they might let you use one.
  • Again, if you have more money than time or ventilated-space of your own, try asking an automotive shop if they will spray it for you. My mother once had an auto-shop use their car-painting equipment to spray a locker for me and it worked out awesomely! They probably have some cool colors, too.
  • Switch to a brush-on paint and use a good drop-cloth. If you choose a low or no VOC option like milk-paint or good latex paints, you can use your kitchen as a studio with no worries! It doesn’t have quite the same effect as spray-paint and can be a longer process but can achieve some even more unique special affects.

Bold and bright distractions! Pop some bright wrapping paper in a frame and make a new focal point in your space. Some quirky kitchen utensils on a counter, a colorful accessory in the living room, a wall full of books you love… these are the things your visitors will remember. A modern and cool environment is great, but I’ve always felt like rented homes need a little extra personality to feel like you put your stamp on them.

Bring it to life. I just posted about my new and lovely little houseplants, and since they found a new home here it’s felt more like one to me, too. I’m not saying you have to live in a jungle or invest stock in Miracle Grow, but having a little something green, leafy, and alive can make the space feel loved and show everyone your nurturing side. Check out this awesome post from A Cup Of Jo on how to buy houseplants “once and for all.”

Tenacious Tenant: Renter-Friendly DIY | by Painting Sunny

Yes, my cat photo-bombs.

What is just not my rented-cup-of-tea?

Really sticky stuff. I haven’t tried out this temporary wallpaper. Or these removable sticky tiles. Yeah, I’m just not sure about that. I need to see someone remove them in real-life before I’ll stop being a scarety-cat. Oh Happy Day tried some out, though, and the removal seemed to have some pros and cons. Maybe see what she thinks?

Taking the kitchen cabinet doors off. I’ve removed closet doors and put them back up, but kitchen’s just have… so many cabinets. When I’m in the process of moving to a new place, getting cabinets back up without dents just doesn’t sound stress-reducing.

Swapping out the wired-lighting.  I love a good spray-paint session with a lamp, so customized lighting is totally my scene. Figuring out how to turn off the electrical, finding a ladder, and getting a chandelier over the dining room table is not. Most overhead lighting in places I’ve rented has been alright and fairly basic looking, so it hasn’t ever been worth it to mess with. I can just turn the lights off, switch on a lamp, and try to ignore that light-fixture-that-looks-like-a-boob. BHG had some good suggestions on lighting in rentals, though.

Check out my Renting It! Pinterest Board for more inspiration, or one of these awesome-possum places:

My Little Apartment

The Borrowed Abode

Better Homes & Garden’s idea round-up

Apartment Therapy

The Handmade Home’s colorful rental ideas

Anyone else renting and still DIYing? Not willing to mess with electrical stuff? Strangely obsessed with houseplants lately?

PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.


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A Haven For Haven – Inspiration For Our Girl’s Room

I am about to embark on a major voyage… and one I hope won’t involve any battles. Yes, I am redecorating my six year old daughter’s room. Haven has spent years now devoted to Disney Princesses and hot pink. Not that those aren’t awesome, but they have just worn me down with their plasticy smiles and over-saturated hues. It is time for a change! Anyone with a kindergarten-aged daughter knows, however, that they are not necessarily easily convinced. Still, I’m trying to get her on board by giving her a chance to provide input… while still limiting it to things that don’t make me cringe.  To describe what I’m going for, the first words that come to mind for me are: Vintage, feminine, subtle details, calm, pretty,  colorful and not all  muted, clean, bright. I’d like to focus around vintage floral fabric designs. The overall effect should be whimsical but not cluttered. Wow, that was a lot of adjectives.

I’m working on an official mood board with my current specific thoughts… but I’m letting it slowly evolve while I gather some inspiration. I am right at the starting line: a general color scheme and a vague idea of the look I am going for. Thank you to my Pinterest obsession for helping me out on this one. All that pinning isn’t wasted time, right?

Let’s start with color. I love color… bright, neutral, bold, subtle… I love all of it. I noticed that, when thinking of Haven’s room, I was drawn to some colors by Benjamin Moore (the paint company). Clarification: this post is not sponsored by Benjamin Moore. They just happened to have a few colors that seemed most accurate to what I was picturing in my head.

Looking at vintage floral fabrics, there are a lot of nice color combinations. My daughter’s favorite color is pink, so I want to stick with it but maybe steer her towards corals and softer pinks. I would love a clean, bright green. To keep it from being girly-overload, a nice blue seems to pop up in a lot of vintage designs. Here are my choices:

OB-Haven's Room Paint Colors Numbered

  1. Coral Gables by Benjamin Moore (paint # 2010-40)
  2. Utah Sky by Benjamin Moore (paint # 2065-40)
  3. Spring Meadow Green by Benjamin Moore (paint # 2031-40)

I’d like these colors to be worked in together in harmony; combined in a quilt, banner, artwork… who knows how, but something cohesive. The grounding color should be a nice vintage white, to provide a clean base. Oh, now I’m getting excited…

There are a lot of gorgeous rooms out there, and I’ve stumbled over several that are so perfectly what I am picturing in my head. When looking for inspiration rooms, Pinterest, Apartment Therapy, and Modern Parents Messy Kids are all great places to start. I managed to narrow my inspiration pieces down to four… hard work I tell you. Even if I don’t come close to achieving these looks, part-way would be a big improvement over our current Disney, hot pink, miss-matched mess.

Indigo's Hyggelig Nook

Source: Apartment Therapy; Indigo’s Hyggelig Nook

cheery-country-girls-room ivillage

Source: iVillage, Home Organization Ideas: Color Combinations (#16)

Source: Modern Parents Messy Kids via skona hem

Source: Modern Parents Messy Kids via skona hem

Source: Jelanie Shop Blog

Source: Jelanie Shop Blog

Sigh… gorgeous, right? Funny how three of the four rooms have one of those trendy triangle banners… I guess I know one project I should start on. I actually already have the perfect fabric for it, too, courtesy of an awesome Etsy shop I ordered from. Who doesn’t love Etsy, right? I swear, half my earrings were less than $10 and ordered of Etsy. Okay, maybe 3/4 of them. Or almost all.

Here are a few Etsy shops that are totally my jam right now. The only one I have actually ordered from is SugarSweetSheets. It was a great experience; very sweet shop owner, quick service, they made me a great deal… Not only would I order from them again, I probably will soon. (Again, this post is not sponsored by anyone. Just my own wallet and thought process.)

Girl's Room Inspiration from Painting Sunny

  1. fruitflypie; Ceramics and embroider beyond adorable, it’s whimsical and pretty.
  2. DesignAtelierArticle; Vintage finds for any space, but this clock is a perfect hue.
  3. LauraFrisk; Quirky woodblock printed pillows, for something unique and woodsy.
  4. SugarSweetSheets; Floral, vintage fabrics that are affordable, practical, and lovely.
  5. CocktailZoo; Some of these are a little intense, but this bunny is straight out of a storybook.
  6. AddisonWonderland; Gorgeous decor items, including canopies. Could these photographs be any more gorgeous?
  7. oliverbludesigns; Lovely little banners that are a clean and bright design.

Although I make almost all of the decorations and artwork for the kids myself, Etsy is addictive with it’s gorgeous shops, and if I can’t or don’t feel up to making something myself, supporting an individual artist is always a great feeling.

Well, this is the tip of the iceberg for this room, but I feel inspired and ready to get started! Anyone else with a princess-loving kindergartner? Any advice on how to collaborate with them on design decisions? To be continued…