About this time last summer, I was neck-deep in our kitchen renovation.  The demo portion of the job started in April and lasted much longer than I anticipated, mostly because I was often working alone (picture me pulling upper cabinets off the wall in the direction of my face!).  When I wasn't worried about knocking my teeth out (again) or dying alone under a pile of 100 lb vintage cabinets, I was really excited to uncover some clues about our home's history.

My first discovery was under the oven cabinet.

A Wally Walrus coloring book with marbles and bouncy balls out the wazoo.  Clearly, children lived here!

The next discovery came while my sister Amy was up helping me get ready to paint and tile.  We spotted two small pictures stuck to the wall behind the counter.

How about those jackets!  We think these are school pictures of the two adorable boys who grew up here.

Circa 2010, but with many original features.

Our house was built sometime in the mid-sixties (we think 1964) by the Jones family.  We are the third owners, but little was changed in the home by the family we purchased it from.

From what I've heard, Mrs. Jones was very instrumental in the design of this house.  For example, she was insistent that the house be situated so that the basement could have a large sliding glass door -- a feature which I love for the light it brings in.  She had an affinity for bright paint colors, which I've discovered in little leftover spots around trim and behind outlet covers. She also seemed to have generally bold, fashion-forward style all the way around.  This picture of our kitchen with its bright turquoise counters (which is not totally representative of what it looked like when we bought it) is a pretty good indication.

I love that she and I share some favorite colors.

Another fun discovery, though not related to our house or the Jones family, came later last summer in a Goodwill purchase for our patio.

My older sister, Jennifer, came up to help me wrap up a couple kitchen projects and update our patio.  She spotted this mid-century piece at Goodwill and suggested I use it for outside storage.  It was the perfect size and in such bad shape that I didn't feel guilty about putting it out in the weather.

While I was prepping it be repainted in black exterior paint, I found this sweet Father's Day note for its previous owner.

I think the signatures read "Dan, Sheree, Damian & Harmony."

I know that the sixties were not all that long ago, but it's still been fun to discover these little reminders of a time gone by.

All of my best wishes to the Jones children and their families, wherever they are these days.

Dwell With Dignity Inspired Makeover

Two years ago, I was privileged to spend a few days with the incredible women at Dwell with Dignity (DwD) in Dallas, TX - a non-profit that is “inspiring lives with design.”  They partner with other organizations, designers, and companies to transform spaces for families going through difficult life transitions.  Volunteers and staff members spend hours repurposing donated furniture, creating art, and collecting items to make gorgeous, meticulously designed spaces that make their clients feel nurtured, hopeful, and ready to tackle all of life’s challenges.  My experience there only served to solidify my understanding of how significantly your physical environment impacts your life.

When my friend Beth (a very loving, hardworking mom to 3-year-old Anderson) told me about her 1970s lime green bedroom, I could only imagine how that space was impacting her mood (and her eyes!).  In the spirit of DwD, I wanted nothing more than to give her a space where she could come and relax at the end of the day.  I shared my idea to bless Beth with a bedroom makeover with some mutual friends and came up with $500 to go toward a redesign.

Take a look at the psychedelic space we started with.

The walls, wallpaper, and carpet were ALL green (the two girls that grew up there in the 70s picked the scheme).

And the switchplate needed to be replaced also...

Here's the "after" following several weeks of shopping, planning, prepping, a fabulous crafting party, and one very intense weekend of painting, carpet removal, and installation with the help of some very kind and generous friends (thanks Beth, Mandy, Megan, Nathan, and Alex!).

Beth asked for light gray walls (SW 7015 Repose Gray) and a color scheme inspired by one of her favorite prints.  Here's the design board I put together.

Gray and Coral Origami Bedding by Nate Berkus from Target, coordinated with white furniture, feminine florals, and light teal/mint/gold accents, combine to create a fresh, sophisticated space.

In terms of the layout, I came up with two floor plan options.  This first option was roughly based on the way she had originally arranged her room, with the addition of a desk-turned-vanity and two matching nightstands.

The second option shifted the bed to the middle of the room, taking advantage of unused space on the shorter side walls.  Beth preferred this layout.

In the end, we were able to supplement Beth's existing furniture with a combination of new and thrift store finds.

$8 Ikea LACK tables are Beth's new nightstands, complimenting her new-to-her $10 painted thrift store headboard. Teal lamps from Target (purchased on a "Buy one, get one 50% off" special) and a painted thrift store mason jar (courtesy of our friend, Mandy) add pops of color.  

Market blooms and a thrift store tray (painted by Lauren M.) are ready for breakfast in bed.

On the other side of the bed, more revamped accessories and photos add personality.

Beth's favorite print gets a prime spot in the room, next to the window.  Underneath, a piece of pretty, teal wrapping paper becomes quick, affordable art.

A $35 vintage CraigsList desk, cleaned and painted white (Behr Ultra Pure White), provides extra storage for beauty products as well as a naturally-lit spot to get ready in the morning.  This $5 thrift store chair, painted a muted teal (SW 6478 Watery), is a fun pop of color in this corner.  On top - Beth's college sorority symbol, the anchor, adds a personal touch to an otherwise plain white IKEA pillow.

Beth chose this pretty, feminine mirror from HomeGoods (which I painted to match her chair) to hang over her vanity.  More clearance and thrift store finds complete this corner of the room.

Near the door, a gallery of smaller frames (filled with simple, geometric line drawings) create a larger scale art piece.

Beth's beautiful jewelry pops against the light gray walls on this accordion hanger she already owned.

This dresser, which Beth had already, coordinates with the other vintage-style furniture in the room as does the gold hardware.  A drawer needs repair, but the piece looks almost-new after being wiped down with dark wood polish.

More thrift store and clearance finds (including this Ikea bowl, updated by Brittany B.) continue to add color in the room.  Spray painted frames filled with stationary and a free print create visual interest.

Altogether, I think the room came together so beautifully.  Beth was involved in many of my choices but we banned her from the space once the painting was complete.  Part of our "installation crew" stayed and surprised her with the end result on Mother's Day.  I'm so grateful for our friends that contributed to this project in so many ways. We exceeded our $500 budget a little, but I'm so impressed with how far we stretched what we had.  This is where the money went:

Comforter Set: $85 (Target)
Bedskirt: $0 (Donated)
Sheet Set: $45
Headboard: $10 (Community Thrift)
Nightstands: $16 (Ikea)
Curtains: $20 (Ikea)
Curtain Rods: $20 (Ikea)
Lamps: $40
Ceiling Light: $30
Frames/Mats: $24 (mostly donated)
Desk: $35 (CraigsList)
Chair: $5 (Habitat for Humanity ReStore)
Mirror: $20 (HomeGoods)
Makeup Mirror: $10 (Marshalls)
TV Cabinet/TV: $0 (Already Owned)
Hamper: $4 (Goodwill)
Accessories: $35 (Goodwill, Ikea, Donated)
Toss Pillows: $30
Paint: $130
Craft Supplies: $10 

Total: ~$569

What an incredible transformation.  Anderson gives his approval with "two animal crackers" up.  Thanks again to all who contributed to this project, to Beth for allowing us to take over her house for a weekend, and to Dwell with Dignity for inspiring lives from Dallas to Pittsburgh.