Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Shelfie Time

When we bought our house, there were two cut outs in the wall that had been closed in windows. They were just boxes at the time but I wanted more shelves, so my dad crafted some shelves for me! (He's good like that). They still need to be properly placed in's been a while on that :/ But in the meantime, I have enjoyed styling and restyling them. This side is my favorite. Don't mind the grainy, dark photos...the shelves are in a darker area of the house (and as I said, they USED to be windows...not sure why someone closed them in and I really wish they hadn't!).

The two biggest strategies I use when styling shelves is to keep the coloring similar and to create layers and dimension! I stuck with whites, beiges, and golds on this one and even though there is a mix of new and old pieces, it still works! I also layered by adding the plates in the background, books for elevation, and mixed heights. As I encouraged in my previous post, use things you have around the house! Don't run out and buy all new pieces just to "follow the rules"...repurpose instead! I really wanted to use the old books on the shelves, but didn't like the colors of the covers, so I flipped them around to show the pages instead and allowed the coloring to work for me!

I hope you enjoy my "shelfie"! Now go style your own!

(all sources mentioned below)

Platters: Décor Steals
Cigar Box: my parent's garage sale :)
Milk glass: various thrift stores
Flowers and hexagonal vase: Terrain
Old books: various antique stores
Brass candlesticks: thrift store
Old clock: Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY
Bust: Home Goods

My Find of the Week

My husband is originally from southern Illinois and his family is still there, so we were out visiting two weeks ago. We had a free afternoon one day so I made them go antiquing with me! There were a few shops in their town and a few others we drove to, but just enough to keep us busy for a while. I would have to say my favorite thing to do is find one of those old barn antique stores with a bunch of disorganized junk thrown in at dirt cheap prices and just go to town hunting for some finds! We ended up finding such a place...where the whole back room was piled high with stuff and you could see your breath as you dug through because there was no heat. There was a whole section of clocks, which Les really liked...some really great dressers for next to nothing, which we couldn't exactly get home on the plane...and even this old desk where the table part is attached to the seat and then there was an old brass lamp attached to the top of that, so like everything in one! It was so great. Somebody needs that piece in their house! Wish I could have taken it home. find was these table legs. There might have been a table top that went with them, but they were ok with selling them separately. I love their character even just as stand- alone pieces or maybe someday I will learn how to craft furniture and I can make a table out of them. I have them on display in this old crate in my living room. And you know what is the best? When your husband brews his own beer and has this large jug that could be mistaken for something I would also find at an antique store, but secretly it was probably half the price and I am re-purposing for the sake of storage:) But back to the table legs...we had to package them up with bubble wrap and check them as luggage on our Southwest flight home and a guy from the tarmac had to walk all the way up to the baggage check area just to pick them up as they were deemed "poorly shaped" to go down the conveyor belt. We also bought an oar for $5 and this was also brought via nice tarmac man down to the plane.

So there is the exciting story of the table spindles and their journey to Philadelphia. I should have saved that and told it at my next party but luckily for you, you came to my blog and heard it here first.

What is the purpose of this post? To encourage you to add character to your space by using texture and adding dimension and to utilize all your resources. Is there something in your house that you thought lost its appeal and is about to join your next trip to Goodwill? Move it to another room! Put it next to some new friends and give it new life before running out to buy something new! Adding old baskets or old chippy pieces add character and can be mixed just perfectly with newer (non antiquey) pieces.
Go have fun with it!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Defining My Style

Here's my problem: when I find something I like at a flea market, antique store, or Home Goods, I just buy it. I know, doesn't really sound like a problem, right? Well, you're probably thinking I am about to start talking about my spending habits (ok...which are a problem...) but what I really want to discuss is how it's really hard to just pick one style sometimes. When I lived at home with my parents before I got married, we went to flea markets and I grew to love the antique stores so I would collect treasures from those and I didn't really have much sense of style in my little bedroom because, well, it was one room and that's all my mind was focused on. Then when we got married, I had this time period when I started liking a more contemporary, all white with some gold kind of style, so all my antiques and junk were dead to me. I made a few purchases that I look back on and regret, but luckily we were on a super strict budget so I couldn't have made any huge mistakes even if I wanted. Then over the past year or so I realized that trend really did not bring me joy, so I turned back around and brought the antiques back out of the basement. I dusted them off and redecorated. Being on Instagram is really what started providing me the most style stress. There are so many amazing designers with awesome tastes. One day I wanted my house to look just like so-and-so and the next day I switched to a totally new obsession. Each purchase I made reflected something I saw online. One day I would try to make my house look like a farmhouse (....I live in the middle of the city....) and the next I wanted to be minimalistic (HAHA!) and the next I liked a more Pottery Barn look and the next I wanted to be all French countryside. It wasn't until recently that I realized how silly I was being. I spend so much time trying to choose a style but lose track of what a home really is. It's the one place that I get to make mine. Who cares if I can't define my style? My style is Allie. It's a combination of what brings me joy and if it doesn't fall into a category, who the heck cares? The journey of creating my home is my journey, not Home Good's journey, not such-and-such Insta-famous blogger's's all mine and I hope you enjoy glimpses of what brings me joy:)

Oh and I know...#firstworldproblems, but this is a blog about home decorating and the things I like so I don't feel bad being honest... :)

All this to say...I bring you my living room!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How I Repainted My Kitchen Cabinets

We bought our little South Philly house in May of 2014. I can't believe we are quickly approaching 2 years as homeowners! I was sold as soon as I saw the old wood floors, beadboard walls, large third floor master suite, and fairly large kitchen (for a row-home). The downsides? The kitchen was mostly builder-grade and the bathrooms got a shotty re-do in the mid-90s. You can only imagine...

As newlyweds (ish...ok it's been 3 years..) with a mortgage, there is little room in the budget for a complete kitchen renovation at this time. Don't tell my husband, but when that day does come, I have it completely planned out in my head (see my Pinterest board entitled "Kitchens")

This photo was from our first day in the house. Don't you love the tile and orange walls!? Doesn't get better! First thing I did? Take a hammer to that backsplash and got rid of it fast! Second only to covering that orange wall with white! Oh and hidden from this picture was the red dome light hanging above the island. Switched that out REAL fast with a sphere pendant light from One Kings Lane!

Anyways, I know a lot of people might be in a similar situation as I was, as kitchens are usually the main thing requiring updates in older homes. I actually did this painting project in March of 2015 (about a year ago), but wanted to share with you the steps.

This second picture was taken right before Project Cabinet Repaint. Note the white walls, white backsplash, new lighting and some other decor! (Even the décor has since been upgraded. This was taken about a year ago today!) Let me explain how I started...

Step 1: Gather your supplies

My first stop was to Lowe's Home Improvement! I spent $55 for plastic dropcloth, 2 nice paintbrushes, 1 gallon of primer (see below), a pack of 220 grit sandpaper, a small foam roller with tray, and gloves (not entirely necessary because you will be using water based paint, but I prefer to cover up!). 

Tip 1: Use Zinsser 1-2-3 Bulls Eye Primer. It is water-based, so clean up only requires soap and water and goes on very smoothly! Every tutorial I found during my research recommended this brand and type. 
Tip 2: Invest in high quality brushes! I did this, but later had to buy an extra brush and went cheap. I paid the price when I kept having to pick loose brush hairs off my cabinets! 

Step 2: Disassemble and remove hardware

Carefully remove each cabinet. I did not have to label each one so I would remember where it went, because most of my cabinets are all different sizes, but I would recommend removing the hinge and in the hole where the hinge was, write where the cabinet will return to (this area will not end up being painted over). Use your own strategy to keep the hardware for each door together so they can go back on the right one. If changing the knobs/handles, just keep the hinges together. 

Step 3: Clean the cabinets 

Using a degreaser (dishwashing soap and hot water works, or there are other options available at the hardware store), wipe down each cabinet and the structure to remove grease and grime and create a clean surface. I used soap and water and it worked well enough. 

Step 4: Sand the cabinets

Not all the tutorials I found included this step, but I wanted to make sure I did the process the right way. Using 220 grit sandpaper, I quickly sanded each door and the frame. Literally spent 20-30 seconds on each...real quick. 

Step 5: Prime away!

After brushing off the dust from sanding, start priming! I used a brush for this, not the roller. However, looking back, I would use the roller on the flat parts and a brush on the grooves. I did this with the actual paint and it went faster and put a thicker coat on. Let the primer dry overnight. 

Let me explain where I put the cabinets when I painted them...all over the living room floor! Not much room in our South Philly rowhome, but we lived like slobs for a week during the project, and it worked out. 

Here is my suggestion about this: make sure you elevate the doors when you paint them. This can be done on 2x4s or Home Depot/Lowe's sells specific things for this (like little triangle things- I forget the names because, well, I didn't use them.). Why do I suggest this? Because if you just lay the doors on your plastic dropcloth like I did, paint will creep its way under the door and get all up on the other side of the door and dry and look terrible when you are done (no matter how much you wipe drips off the sides). This is also why you should paint the fronts first, to prevent drips from creeping to the front then you have to sand them down...Consider this my lesson-learned :) 

Step 6: The final coats

Now it's time for the fun part! The paint! After perusing the internet for the best cabinet painting tips, the consensus was that Benjamin Moore Advance paint (in satin) is the way to go! It is water based, but dries like oil-based and creates a nice, hard surface (it's an alkyd). I chose White Dove, which was also highly recommended! It is a nice warm white that is not too yellow, but not too stark white! With my lovely orange countertops, I needed a warm color. The paint went on as I stated above- with a brush and the roller. It required 3 coats total and one on the inside. A lot of bloggers stated they did not paint the inside of the doors, but to cover up my blemishes (see step 5...), I swiped a quick coat on. I allowed at least 24 hours between each coat, although the can states it dries in 6. Better safe than sorry...

And since I have posted some photos on Instagram already of the final look, I will share a few below with you...


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Front Porch Winter Decor Inspiration

I pretty much grew up with the best inspiration I could ask for...a mother with a background in interior design and a dad who knows how to make or fix just about anything! They are the ones who taught me to love flea markets before I could even walk (ok maybe I didn't love them then, but I sure did attend more than I can remember and love them now!) and provided me with just enough knowledge to style the place I can now call my home...or at least try to.

But anyways, my mom is the best at making her house feel like a home and this week I want to share with you her front porch. Oh I'm thought this was pictures of Terrain? Oh no...just my parent's house. Isn't it perfect? She laughs and says these are just a bunch of sticks she picked up in the yard, but it takes talent to arrange those sticks to look like a winter wonderland and I think she nailed it! Please enjoy this short tour!

oh and if you are wondering about the color of the door, as some have, here it is: Behr Exterior Satin Enamel in Trail Print (#790F-6).  

adding pinterest script 3. Changing the Position of the Pin it! button The cool thing about this code is that you have some freedom over where the Pinterest button for Blogger will go over the image. Take a look at the code that you just copied and pasted into the HTML for the word 'center'.