Little House in the District

Two first-time home buyers' adventures in decorating, DIY, and the occasional dumpster dive.

Our guest bedroom is turning into quite the cozy spot!   

Here are some fun facts about the various pieces:

  • The bedroom set is Tripp’s Ikea furniture from about 7 or 8 years ago.  He got it when he first moved down to DC.  It’s held up great!
  • The chair is the best piece of furniture ever.  It’s a $3 garage sale find that my brother showed up with when he was about ten years old…good eye, Peter!  It’s been wherever I’ve lived since.
  • The wallpaper, which has gotten pretty popular lately I think, is Cole & Sons Woods.  My grandpa and parents came to visit one weekend and were an IMMENSE help by hanging the paper (among other things).  They’re pros.  A note on the paper, if you’re thinking of buying:  It costs an absurd amoung on Anthropologie’s website.  I shopped around and got it for half Anthro’s price (even though it was shipped from London) at Wallpaper Direct (a UK store with super awesome selection, btw). 

Flowers are going bananz outside.

More Tripp photography.  Trying to figure out where it could go in the house…could be an awesome pic for a bathroom paired with this wallpaper.  

More Tripp photography.  Trying to figure out where it could go in the house…could be an awesome pic for a bathroom paired with this wallpaper.  

Possibly my favorite thing in our house: vintage tole daisy lamp!

Possibly my favorite thing in our house: vintage tole daisy lamp!

Saw these two items at Vastu and think they are badass.  Sadly, they are both badass AND too expensive.  I’m plotting DIYs of both for our housel.  

For the stools: Tripp found some wood on the side of the road (he the is king of trash treasures) that we’d like to have cut into rings for the top of the table.  Once that’s done, we’ll sand and stain the wood.  For the legs, we’ve ordered some mid-century looking legs from Waddell that we’ll paint black.  Finally, we’ll screw it all together for the finished product: A close replica that cost about $10!

For the lamp: I need to do some recon on how to construct this bad boy.  The shade is made from a thick strip of wood veneer, which is folded and contorted and then reattached to itself to form an infinite loop.  I looked for thick and long enough wood veneer but the usual home improvement stores don’t have it.  Instead, I’ll probably use a thin flexible plastic of about the same thickness.  Maybe in a fun color.  Once the weird contortion is figured out, I’ll throw an Ikea pendant lamp in the middle and hang it.  Another sweet DIY for only around $20.

I’ll post finished products of both once the projects are complete!

Not sure what I love more: these Umbra shelves or the tchotchkes adorning them.  The shelves fit nicely in our living room.  The tchotchkes remind me of favorite people, places and things.  Gifties from loved ones, travel mementos and best of all: a picture of my Nana and Papa!

Here are some more cool pictures that Tripp took.  One of these days we’ll get them printed and framed.

Lounge Chair.

If asked to ascribe an adjective to the word “chair,” the word “lounge” comes to mind instantly. Lounging is pretty much what chairs are made for, and since we first came across our little house in the District in late 2010 Tripp wanted a set of Danish-style lounge chairs for the living room.

As so many things tend to happen around here, we stumbled across a pair of sad little Grete Jalk-inspired chairs on Craigslist via Apartment Therapy. They were in pretty decent shape, but the cushions were, as Steph puts so gently, “ug-O-trons.” Thankfully, this was the kind of ugly that was easily fixed. 

On a weekend trip down to our friends at Modernicus we lucked out and scored roughly one million yards of awesome green wool fabric for $20. Unreal steal. After that we found an upholsterer down the road from our office and had him put together some new cushions for us post haste. 

Bingo. New chairs ahoy!



Pretty sure this lamp is Target circa year 2000.  It works just fine, but the original green shade got all faded and filthy.  Not winning any style awards.  I thought about getting rid of the whole lamp, but then decided to give it a little face lift instead.  Picked up a plain white shade at Target and made a crafternoon of painting it with giant cartoony flowers.

To make a similar lamp shade: Sketch your design on the shade using pencil.  Then paint away!  I used Caran d’Ache paints given to me by the greatest artist ever: Al Infantino.   Let the paint dry, and then sketch in bold lines with sharpie marker.  

A warning: the paint and sharpie will bleed a bit.  I didn’t exactly think of this beforehand.  In retrospect it seems obvious.  Anyway -  more abstract designs are probably best for this project. 

This project got me thinking about other cool lamp shade modifications - I’d love to see a lamp shade covered with felted flowers.  Perhaps for my next lamp-DIY.  

Tripp’s Manspiration.  For the perfect 1960s super-villain lair. 

This is a post about dumpster diving.  Sort of.  Last weekend Tripp spotted this beat up dresser on the curb.  It was pretty filthy, had some nasty water stains, and someone had stuck bumper stickers all over it - so there was goo all over the drawers.  Still, we saw a TON of potential in this baby (the original drawer hardware is GORGEOUS).

After some vigorous sanding, a coat of primer and a coat of paint, check out our newest piece of furniture!  It’s the perfect size for our entry way, which sorely needed a punch of color.  We haven’t finished this little “space” yet, but were too excited about the dresser to wait to post it.  Will post more once the area is updated with tchotchkes.

In case you’re curious, we used regular wall paint - latex acrylic - to do this project.  Piece of advice, which I learned the hard way: You only need about a pint of paint TOTAL to do this project…not gallons.  Oops.

Tripp and I have both been busy with DIY projects lately.  Last week Tripp undertook the MOADIY: Mother of All DIY.  He built this very nifty mid-century modern stereo console.  With his own two hands.  The project is a modification of one in Handmade Modern by Todd Oldham.  Except Tripp got fancy by making it taller and adding panels made of speaker cloth.  He also rigged it so it’ll play records AND iPod music.  Impressive.

I don’t know if he’d say the project was easy.  Probably not.  At one point he dumped stain all over himself and thought he’d never be un-sticky again.  But now that the stick is gone only the sweet memory of this little winner remains!

Tripp took these great pictures of the hyperbolic coral reef at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  We intend to have them printed and framed for wall art.  Love all the colors!

Here she is: home sweet home.

Here she is: home sweet home.