by Lara on November 4, 2013

in decor

Well, my dad and I finally submitted to the city and hired a surveyor to complete the 3-page checklist of crap the city calls an E&S Plan.  It was just too much to deal with on our own, as hard as we tried to skirt the issue and find a loophole.  So be it.  Everyone cross their fingers that I can finally push a shovel into that lot in about a week!

I ordered my drawer pulls, the 8 open kitchen shelving brackets and my faucets (still need tub/shower combos):

bathroom faucetbathroom faucetkitchen faucet

Isaac Mizrahi ironing board coverIsaac Mizrahi ironing board cover I got for $10 tonight

I picked up a round black and white scroll pattern rug for the kitchen (or maybe a bathroom).  My collection of Japanese bowls is getting bigger.  They pop up at TJ Maxx all the time and I grab ‘em when I see ‘em.  I plan on throwing a big housewarming party so, entertaining odds and ends are becoming a big deal.

Japanese bowls

I have about 5 running lists on my phone, constantly getting updated and rearranged – what I have, what I need, which room it will go in – from the largest detail like a bathtub,  to the smallest detail, like a mini cutting board for the bar and a surround for the doorbell.   I need sooo many things to make the house complete – doorknobs, end tables, bedside tables, rugs, bathroom mirrors, salt and pepper shakers, every single light… it’s overwhelming and I’m trying to stay organized, on task, high quality and waaay under budget.  It also needs to be cohesive.  That’s the hardest part.

Developing personal style is hard when you like everything.  As I get older, the ultra modern aesthetic is less appealing.  I don’t want everything to be glossy and white.  This weekend, I made my first trip to a Hobby Lobby.  Everything in that damn store was covered in chipped paint, so came the realization I’m not as “rustic” as I thought I was.  There’s a limit.  I want to be surrounded by character… clean character.  How does one make classic/rustic/Victorian/whimsical/neutral/colorful work?


+ & –

by Lara on October 27, 2013

in + & -,decor



  • In need of a new series to become obsessed with, I started watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix this weekend.  In these trying times, Jax Teller is getting me through.  God bless.
  • I picked out my house numbers!  They float above the siding.

house numbers

  • I scored and got 8 of these pressed glass goblets for $4 at Goodwill!  They’re going to look so pretty on the open shelving.

green goblets

  • Speaking of shelving, I sourced these iron shelf brackets but will get them later.  I need 6 at $8 each.Shelf bracket


  • Last weekend I finally made the trek to Class and Trash.  What a great place! I found an old apple crate that belongs to Virginia Senator Byrd’s apple orchards… just like the pic below!

Byrd applesI also got an old metal Pet Milk crate and a 1961 yearbook from Ozark, Missouri.  I had my eye on a sweet old wooden turkey coop that would make a great coffee table with a glass top and casters… like this chicken coop but taller:

coop coffee tableI really need to go back and grab that thing.

There were so many wonderful old photos:

old pics

  • I can’t believe I spent hours online hunting down kitchen cabinet pulls.  I decided on one style that will go horizontal on the drawers and vertical on the doors.  They’re selling for a lot more elsewhere but I finally found them for $1 each at some random site!


  • This weekend I finally went to Caravati’s Architectural Salvage.  They go into old homes being renovated or torn down and save all the old fixtures (and iron fencing, hard wood floors, tile, sinks, everything).  The place is massive and so depressingly expensive.  I couldn’t even afford a doorknob but, I guess if you’re desperate to match something in an old house, that would be the place to go.

Caravatisjust a tiny fraction of the warehouse

  • So yeah, it’s been all house all the time.  I’ve also become obsessed with Bellytimber’s black bean nachos (smothered in thinly sliced fresh jalapenos) thanks to Terra!  I crave them constantly.


  • All this planning and shopping and I still haven’t broken ground on the house yet, which is driving me insane.  The city of Richmond’s building permit office is full of incompetent morons, and add to that the surveyor in May neglected to draw on the plot plan a small area in a back corner of the lot that is part of the Chesapeake Bay protection area.  The city is losing its mind and well, I kinda am too but; it will all work itself out.


this new house

by Lara on October 16, 2013

in decor

My dad is in the process of getting the building permit!  Apparently, it’s not as simple as it used to be.  The lot is considered a Chesapeake Bay protected area because it’s near the Falling Creek Reservoir and while we’re in no way disturbing the minimum amount of land to require any special permissions, there are extra forms to fill out, extra copies of everything to be made and a soil test to be done.  Everything should be a-okay in about a week.

The roof trusses have been ordered and brick for the foundation picked out.   Here’s what the house will look like:

the houseAdorable, right? A red front door is mandatory.

It’s all one story but the living room in the front and the master bedroom in the back have 12″ vaulted ceilings and 9′ ceilings everywhere else.  There will be ample attic space above the rest of the space.  Here’s the floor plan:

house planSome changes will be made:

  • no garage
  • side door will be on the right side by dining area since the driveway will be on the right
  • stone fireplace on the right side of the living room area but stone will only go to the mantel inside.
  • no standalone shower in the master bath – the toilet will go in that space and the laundry room will be extended a bit into the existing toilet space to accommodate the hot water heater – a linen closet will be added in the remaining space in the master bath
  • tub/shower combo in the master bath with a tub surround instead of a giant picture window by the tub – a long window will be added high above the tub surround to get some natural light in that bathroom

So I will have a spare room/bathroom for guests and an extra room for my sewing machine/painting!

The lot is in a quiet little family neighborhood in the city, near where I grew up, is a half-acre and longer than wide.  It’s 200′ deep so, with a 30′ deep front yard, I’ll have about a 120′ deep backyard.  It goes all the way to the  buildings you see in the center but it’s hard to get a sense from this pic.


Here are some decor ideas I’ve been pinning:

white cabinetswhite cabinets and a small amount of open shelving

tin backsplashpainted tin back splash in kitchen

continue hardwood into kitchen - diagonal

hardwood floors in this general shade, continued into the kitchen on the diagonal

pedestal sink

pedestal or wall-mounted sinks in the bathroom, with vintage-style tile flooring

All white trim and white doors.

Pale grey walls in the main living area.

My dad has an old slab of wood he’s been saving to make a rustic farm table for the dining area and he’s keeping his eyes peeled for similarly rustic fireplace mantle.

My parents collected a ton of antiques and there’s a lot of my mom’s old furniture still at my dad’s house.  I haven’t had room for it and my dad wants me to add it to the new house.  There’s a mid-century mod boxy loveseat that needs a linen slip cover, a grey Parson’s table and the mahogany reproduction Chippendale desk and dresser my dad made me.  So there will be a mix of modern, rustic and formal.  I hope I can make it all work!

I’ve been pricing and saving ceiling fans, light fixtures and all the little details.

industrial pendant lamp

2 or 3 pendants above the kitchen bar counter

bar - ikea expidit w legs

bar in dining area – IKEA expidit on its side w/ legs

art class seating

hodgepodge of bar stools for the kitchen bar


oh that light fixture!

red wicker headboard

painted wicker headboard for the guest bedroom

So basically, this is where I’m at:

life is short


IKEA trip

by Lara on December 9, 2012

in decor

We finally made it up to IKEA on Saturday to claim my Christmas present!

A dresser! I haven’t had a chest of drawers for almost 4 years, except for the narrow thing of drawers for my drawers and socks and stuff.

We got the 6-drawer Mandal and put it together last night.  So much fun.  If someone paid me well enough to put together IKEA furniture all day, I would totally take that job!

Ulti was our quality control supervisor:

“Don’t blame me if you’re missing a part!”

All set up!

I don’t know how we functioned this long without this extra storage.  It’s been rough.  Then, there was the reorganizing of the stupid stupid tiny closets.

I also got the Fado table lamp that now sits in the hallway radiator.

And lastly, a fun green plastic fruit bowl from the PS line:

We also got a super minimal floor lamp for the bedroom.  Ulti shredded the paper shade one.


new sofa

by Lara on May 31, 2012

in decor

FINALLY you guys! We got it!

This past Memorial Day weekend, we gave ourselves a budget and hit the furniture stores. We were ready to pull the trigger and had always intended on getting a sectional sofa with a chaise on the side (looking at it – the right side). It would’ve been nice for both of us to stretch out at the same time. Well, that ain’t gonna happen.

I hate buying furniture with our apartment space in mind because we aren’t going to be there forever but, I also don’t want the door to the bedroom blocked for god knows how long. The chaise parts were just too long on everything we looked at plus, we would need a new coffee table PLUS most of the sectionals we looked at didn’t have RIGHT side chaises. Plus we didn’t want loose pillow backs or two tones, and we really wanted leather. Sorry pushy sales lady, we know what we like. I wasn’t going to settle even if our old green sofa (a hand-me-down from my mom) that we despised, was beginning to drive us insane.

Thankfully, we shop really well together and have the same taste. I took measurements before we left, brought a tape measure, and had already searched online for years (you really need to do your own personal butt test in the store).

At the second store we found a sofa that suited us perfectly. It wasn’t a sectional but it was damn near perfect. We figured we could get the loveseat (matching or a different style) for the other wall some other time, since we would’ve gone over our budget for both pieces. I’m a haggler and the salesman wouldn’t budge. He already knew we loved it too much.

There she is!

Normal furniture stores rarely have modern pieces and if they do, they looks like they’re from The Jetsons. “You want modern? We’ll give you modern!”

LaDifference is the major modern furniture store here but sweet christ their prices are la-ridiculous! That’s the place we would go to browse and cry. Maybe one day I’ll own a pillow from there.

The sofa we got was one of 2 modern collections at Havertys… this one didn’t look ultra-futuristic. It’s top grain aniline dyed leather (oh boy did we get an education on leather from our salesman Bob). It was on sale, under budget and we got 18 months no interest to pay it off. Stoked!

It’s a bit darker than the picture in real life but light leather still scared the bejeebus out of me so we got the protection plan for it. If we accidentally mess it up (meaning, I don’t dive onto it naked covered in baby oil with a head full of hair dye), they will come clean it as often as we need and even replace the entire thing within 5 years. Uhm yes!

So here it is in my totally un-staged and messy living room this morning before I headed out the door:

A friend gave us a fluffy orange rug but the cats destroyed it so we just threw it away.  If we ever got another rug it would probably be a cowhide.

The coffee table has a drawer on each end – one for David and one for me. Across from the sofa are 2 windows, 3 Korean style wood cabinets and a big TV. David has his computer hooked up to the TV and has a wireless mouse & keyboard. This is his command center. Ha!

The orange Steelcase chair, I got at Goodwill for $10. That and my mom’s old glass coffee table next to it is gonna go once we get a loveseat. Paintings are by me!

Yay! So excited!