A Mistake

I saw this lovely old chest for sale in one of the local antique markets around here. And around here,  “antique ” means good old wood  stuff that some Etsy wannabe has ruined with chalk paint and then stenciled a sea shell on top. But this was different – it wasn’t chalk paint it was old fashioned oil based paint, lovingly worn away at the touch points instead of assaulted with 100 grit sand paper to look distressed*. The description in the local ad called this dresser “a lovely old gal” and she sure is. Even the modest floral design is hand-painted freehand and is exactly right.

ugh I did not buy this

But in person it was hideous. It’s hulking presence was enormous – the top was almost at my chin. The green and yellow hues which looked so appealing  in the photo were soiled with decades of cigarette smoke. It was just wrong.  And the price tag was an unacceptable $329.00.

But I was looking for a small dresser to put into the guestroom to hold bed linens and to be another surface for guests to lay out their stuff. At the same store, I found this sort of cottage-y thing at the right price ($50.00) and unfortunately wearing a coat of pale aqua chalk paint. It did have the original hardware which mercifully was unmolested. My intention was to paint it in the same color scheme as the lovely old gal and adorn it with a modest amount of tasteful floral decals.

ugh I did buy this

It might appear to be another hulking specimen but it’s really quite petite – only 36″ tall and 18″ x 29″. It sat for a week or two in the guest room while I thought things over, and then I bought two sample paint pots from Lowes. Today I applied spots of paint in various combinations to determine if it was going to be green on yellow or yellow on green. And while I was up close and personal with it, I made a discovery about this little dresser.

This is the point in my story where I apologize to the chalk paint. Because the chalk paint is the only thing holding it together. The person who sold it must have found the chopped up pieces in a wood pile somewhere and reassembled it. It’s that much of a mess. So instead of a simple independent painting project this has turned into a wood glue wood filler extensive sanding that then painting project that now depends on Sami . Who probably will conclude that he has a say in the finished appearance. Correction: … will erroneously conclude …

I’ve lost heart for it. I’m going to go through with the rehab just to get it out of my system and then I’ll sell it. I made a mistake bringing this home with me and I don’t want to be reminded of that.

*Distressed is exactly the right term for this treatment. I am EXTREMELY distressed by how many salvageable wood pieces have been sacrificed to appease the chalk paint gods.

She Buys Sea Shells At The Online Store

Let me tell you something that you probably already know: in modern-day America it is extremely difficult to escape the siren call of a coastal decor theme.

I have succumbed. But in a tasteful, understated way (I think). I believe that for the most part, I have successfully avoided coastal kitch but still created a tranquil space reminiscent of the beach. I say “for the most part” because there are two things in this bedroom-turned-den/tv room that border on the questionable but really give me a lot of pleasure: the starfish finial on the curtain rod and the single, delicate string of starfish and shells that I hung up with the curtains.

this is still tasteful and understated, right?

I came by the curtain rod legitimately.  This is the smallest bedroom – 10 ft x 13 ft – and it was decorated for a pint-sized surfer dude and used as a baby nursery. The rod was left behind by the previous owners. In fact, they also left the same rod in white in one of the other bedrooms. I spray painted the bronze rod and hardware to a more compatible sand color but left the resin finals alone.

We planned on using this as a guest room but realized that would only work if there were no people or suitcases in it. The space between the edge of that mattress and the closet doors is only 12″.


For the whole time we’ve been here, we’ve called this room “the baby room”. Now we call it the “baby tv room”. We’re very clever! It’s a tiny informal hideaway for TV viewing, needle pointing and cocktail-ing when inclement weather stops us from going outside.

The photos of the new paint color look different in every shot because they were taken at different times of the day on several devices.

The Ikea love seat turned out to be a great thing. It was very easy and trouble-free to put together. Even putting the slip cover on was no big deal. Online reviews of this particular Ikea piece all made remarks about how putting the cover on was the hardest part of the job, but I guess most online reviews for Ikea things are done by the youngs who may have never met up with a slipcover before and are lacking real life experience about how slipcovers work.  That slip cover gives a very casual, summery feel to the place – perfect for the effect I am going for here. It’s impossible to get a clean shot of this room – it’s just too small.

Still a work in progress but these are the bones of it. I’m thinking of covering that black footstool with a burlap coffee bean bag.

There’s still work to be done before I can call this finished. I just can’t get that lamp color right – it’s been bronze, unintentionally silver, bright glossy white, iridescent pearly white and today its getting a shower of Rustoleum “Sand” gloss (same as the curtain rod). They all look wrong 😦 . I have to give the upholstery of that rocker a good scrubbing. It was one of Sami’s happy trash pile garbage day finds from several years ago and he wont give it up even though I have made it quite clear that IT IS SPOILING MY PERFECT ROOM. Ah, well the things we do for love – am I right, ladies?

Here’s what I used to accomplished a tranquil beachy/coastal feel without mermaids, seahorses, coral, surf boards or wooden signs that say things about sand between your toes :

  • a laid back color scheme of aqua, beige and white
  • curtains that have a white-on-white nautical rope design ( a happy coincidence – I bought these at Christmas Tree Shops last year because they were the only $10 pair in the store on the day I went).
  • a string of starfish and shells hung with the curtains that I got from a too-expensive online place that was on sale for an amazing $8.99. Nothing else in that shop is anywhere near that price, sale or not.
  • a $20.00 watercolor of dune fencing also from Christmas Tree Shops that I bought on impulse last year but never hung.
  • a hurricane glass with sea glass-ish beads from Joann Fabrics to hold the TV remotes.
  • place mats from Amazon made of sail cloth strips interwoven with twisted banana leaf  to tie together the odd bits of furniture.
  • a clearance-priced rattan tray from Hobby Lobby.
  • a ceramic pot in a basket weave pattern from Christmas Tree Shops.
  • a stretched out duck-like shore bird.

Note – if you don’t know Christmas Tree Shops, start now. It’s not a Christmas store, it’s a …. I don’t know. A store full of stuff you don’t need but cannot resist buying. It’s a chain that started in the northeast and NJ had several locations. The Jacksonville store (only 2 in Florida! where they’re known as andThat!) opened shortly after I moved here. It’s ~ 40 miles away from where I live, but I mange somehow [cough] to get there at least once a month. And I never walk-out empty handed.





Redecoratin’ 2: Bedroom Boogaloo

The race to have a guest room before the Christmas guests get here is on. Considering that it takes us an average of 5 weeks to get through a project, prospects look dim at the moment.

The room formerly known as “the little TV room” has been emptied out, stripped down and taped off and is ready for paint. I spent a long time looking for the perfect shade of cream to coat the walls of what I was planning to be a decor theme of “Quaint Cottage Style“. But when I looked at the accumulation of the things I’ve amassed so far, the theme has actually turned out to be “Looks Like It Came From Craigslist“. Which it did, more or less. Once I realized that, I was free to abandon the cream idea and go with Behr Country Linens for the wall color. (Look familiar?)

This room was the guest room before we bought the house.gb1

Once we got here, we turned it into a den-like TV room. It was roomy and comfortable and it was where I was set up to do my needlepoint. But the former baby room next door was too small to be a comfortable guest room, so we had to rethink. We sold the big comfy sofa last week, jammed the remaining stuff into the baby room temporarily and here we are today:


Time is short and we aren’t 25 anymore so the going will be slow. We’re aiming for painted walls, cleaned carpeting and a place to sleep by the time the first guests arrive.  The frills will have to come later.

Psych! I have plenty of frills all lined up and ready to be deployed. What do you think I’ve been doing all this time if not scouring Craigslist, the local Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace sites, second hand shops and antique centers? And by antique centers, I mean consignment shops where villains slop chalk paint onto good old wooden furniture. Here’s what I have so far:

  • an off-white federal style secretary. perfect as it is
  • a bamboo side chair which I was told came from a furniture sale at the nearby Ritz -Carlton resort. I believe it. It’s the most elegant thing in the room.
  • a badly damaged maple wood colonial night stand which I was planning to paint off-white but now I’m thinking metallic gold. Seriously.
  • a colonial head board. I want to tell you that it’s maple wood but it has a very plastic-y vibe to it. I don’t know.
  • an off-white wicker arm chair
  • a bridge lamp with a beaded shade.
  • a latex orchid in a marigold glass creamer.
  • a small braided rug basket to hold bottled water.
  • a small rectangular bamboo table in a dull gray. I might paint that metallic gold, too.
  • 3 (or 5) vintage Modern Orchid plates as wall decor.

So that’s a start. I need a wall clock, some art work and maybe another lamp. Oh, did I mention that I’ll be using the Modern Orchid lamp in that room?

How does it all sound? Like random Craiglist ads? I think it’s all going to come together very nicely.

I really do.

Urgent Need For Reader Input

Friday 6/16 Revised update 6/19: I ordered the full bed. The bedroom is big enough to support a foot board – the mattress isn’t here yet (or even selected) and I may have to go with something less kitchy than my sentimental vintage orchid lamp but here it is:


IMG_2015 The package(s) came sooner than expected and it weighs a ton. the quality of the finish is wonderful – I’m really pleased with it. Also, remember when I said you can see into the master bedroom as you come up the main hallway from the front door to the family room? Well, the foot board is kind of showcased in the door frame, so Whole Shebang was the right call here. Now everyone who passes by can admire it, not just me.

Wednesday update Polling Results: the Whole Shebangers outnumbered the Headboard Only crown by 2-1. So I just bought the Whole Shebang, to be delivered by the end of the week.

Now I guess I should go out and buy that mattress.


Here’s a list of posts I have started:

  • how the top of my head is going to blow off if the pool contractor doesn’t get his rear in gear
  • a new Chelsea Cooks! post called “Meemaw’s Xanax Smoothie (Also good for little Abie’s bottle) “, but you’d have to understand Hillary’s mental breakdown AND the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to get that
  • a rare serious post about national security
  • buying roadside shrimp , which is a big thing in this neck of the woods. Here’s my favorite late night tv ad about it. 

But instead, I have a design question that I need your input on. When we moved to the new house, I brought my 75 year old bedroom furniture with me except for the headboard. I fully intended to buy something new as soon as we got here but that didn’t happen. Finally I found a complimentary bed/headboard that I am really excited about but I can’t decide if I should get just the headboard, or the whole shebang: headboard, footboard, side rails and slats.


Isn’t it snazzy? My heart wants the whole shebang because It’s more of A THING but my head knows that the headboard alone will be easier to live with , crashed toe-wise and will make the bed-making easier. The 4 people in my family that I consulted are split 50-50 and so I turn to you to help me decide.

What would you do? Headboard alone or full set up? (I expect a yuge participation level here , even from the silent lurkers. I need your help!)

12 noon – MIDDAY UPDATE  The voting is running in favor of the whole shebang. (8 to 3)

This bed is available at many online sites under different names. Here’s one that allows magnification so you can ooh and ahh at the mottled tortoiseshell-like finish and the ornate gold connectors*.  The best deal I found so far is at Overstock.com. Throw in a 10% off coupon and that brings the price down to $365.07 with free shipping and no tax. You almost HAVE TO BUY IT for that price.

*I forgot to remind you that I am now in my Eva Gabor**  period of life (except without the diamonds and Merv Griffin) and this styling completely suits that.

** Without question the best Gabor.

I Want To Share This With You

hwIt’s more  of a confession rather than a sharing. In a complete reversal of everything I have ever believed in, I have to tell you that I am now a fan of painted furniture.

It all started because if you approach my front door, you can look through the side light and see all the way up the hallway and through a little ante room to gawk at a slice of my bedroom – the slice where I keep the chest of drawers that holds my underwear. I would get out of the shower and make my way over to that dresser to pick out something to put on and realized with shock that the unexpected arrival of the FedEx guy or even a dog walker with good vision could see something that could never be unseen again. So I got the idea that I could minimize the risk of being seen au naturale by putting a small dresser to put into the big closet.

FullSizeRender (40)So I took to the local Craigslist and found the perfect dresser on the first shot. It was the right size and color and looked very much like the simple, unadorned cabinetry in the adjacent bathroom. It was made of solid wood and the seller was only asking $75. So I sent a text and sadly found out that the item was in a second floor bedroom. That killed the deal for me b/c I can barely navigate a set of steps myself, let alone wrangling a solid wood dresser. Later that same day, the seller texted me to say that if I was still interested she would have the dresser brought downstairs for me. So arrangements were made for pick up the next day at 12:30.

In the end, it didn’t work out. As I pulled up to the address, the small front yard was filled with dishes, furniture, lamps etc for sale and she was slouched in a chair with her feet up on the porch railing. I will spare you the scathing description that I treated my husband and brother-in-law to but it will suffice to tell you that the seller was a dolt  who was having a half-hearted house sale to avoid eviction. The dresser was not downstairs, she didn’t know anyone who could help bring it down, was unaware of a local gathering spot to hire day laborers and so on. FYI  I drove 40 miles to get there and she knew what time I would arrive so I wouldn’t think it would be too much to expect a text or call to say don’t come today. To put it kindly, my judgement was that she was not familiar with or capable of this type of expected behavior.

As we walked out of the townhouse and back into the outdoor yard sale, there was a large bowl that had fallen to the sidewalk and smashed.  I noticed it when I came in and now , the woman apologized for the mess and pushed some of the pieces to the side with her foot. Then she went back to slouching in the porch chair.  As I drove away, my last sight of her was as she was raising her feet to put back up on the porch railing. The next day my BIL arranged for a guy with a truck to fetch the dresser and deliver it to me but she never returned his texts or phone calls. I tried reaching her again via text but she never responded. Five days later the dresser disappeared from Craigslist.

Not that I’m bitter.

But it left me with a hole in my consumer’s heart where a dresser should be. I kept my eye on CL and other online market places and second-hand shops looking for something similar. I gave up the matching bathroom cabinet idea but stuck to the specs of a certain size, 5 drawers and solid wood. And one day last week, I came across this:


Painted furniture! I know, right? I always railed against the ruination of good vintage furniture by the army of talentless amateur chalk painters never in a million years thought I’d own painted furniture myself but everything about this was right, even my favorite shade of green. It was love at first sight. And to complete my humiliation, as I was waiting for the shop owner to find somebody to get this into my car, I spotted this desk:


I had already been looking around for a desk for the guest bedroom and here was the perfect one right in front of me. Remember when I said it was love at first sight for the green dresser? I laugh now  that I know what real love is.  I bought this on the spot and came back for it the next day. They threw in that crystal lamp, too.

In my defense, I have to tell you that these items are not chalk painted.  They are painted with Farmhouse Paints, a resin-based acrylic paint that is more durable than chalk paint. The floor clerk, the register person and the shop owner all used that same phrase  and practically sniffed in disdain when forced to utter the distasteful words “chalk paint”. This greatly appeals to the serious snob in me (a snob who haunts Craigslist, junk stores and the Dollar Tree). So now, anyone who comes into my house will have to suffer immediate correction of any attempt to say the words “chalk paint” and the same casual but prideful reference to Farmhouse Paint. Come visit me and hear it for yourself!

ns smAnd further more, yesterday I bought a solid but messed up nightstand for $15, also for the guest room. Here’s the thing: coincidentally the shop that sold the Farmhouse painted furniture also sells Farmhouse Paint. And the person who did the work on the desk told me that she paints things people already have. So now look where we are: I’m on the brink of turning into a painter of wood furniture myself. Although really, if I can slip it by Sami without too much of what we old marrieds call “discussion”, I might just take this over to her and ask her to give it the works in Creamy Linen with Aqua Provence accents.

I know what you’re thinking. I can’t even believe it myself.