Creative Uses for an Armoire

My friends at Chairish asked me if I would come up with ideas for creative ways to use an Armoire. That was a challenge I happily accepted!  I love re-purposing furniture and coming up with new ways to take something traditional and put a modern twist on it.

Let’s back up a little…what is an Armoire?Chairish Chinese Light Blue Storage Cabinet

 

By definition, an armoire is a tall free-standing cabinet typically used for clothing and storage.  It’s very popular in European countries to have an armoire instead of a closet.  In the 90’s, we saw a resurgence of using armoires for the television and media storage, before wireless brought the wall mounted television.

Chairish.com makes it fun and easy for design lovers to buy and sell vintage furniture and decor
to one another. Their shop exclusively features curator-approved treasures in a full-service and trustworthy
environment.  I had fun looking through all their armoire choices and I narrowed it down to three I really like.  I can’t decide so I am making this a three-part series…

Armoire Pool Side….

 It occurred to me that often times in the summer months, we stash things in those plastic pool benches, or have to lug everything from inside outside, then inside again.   Wouldn’t it be fun to organize all your outdoor entertaining needs in a stylish, pretty armoire?  Obviously, you need to make sure you have a covered space so this gorgeous piece will be protected from the weather.  This is just a concept to embrace.  A coat of marine varnish on an armoire could protect it from the elements.
  • Roll up your beach towels and either stack them on the shelves or stuff them in this fun Rugby-Striped Bin from The Container Store.  The beach towel is from Lands’ End.
  • Store noodles upright in the umbrella stand from The Container Store.
  • Pottery Barn is having a great outdoor entertaining sale.  Melamine is perfect for dining al fresco.  A jug of fruited water placed on the shelf inside the armoire means you won’t have to make trips inside for beverages for the kids.  Your friends can sip this recipe for a Pear-Basil Sipper.
  • Porch Parties is a charming book full of recipes and inspiration for outdoor entertaining.
  • Always make sure you have a generous supply of sunscreen available for guests.  You can easily store extra bottles and a first-aid kit in the armoire drawers, along with pool toys.
  • Lastly, I thought a chalk board would be fun hanging from the door knob letting guests know the pool is open!
Check back soon for Part-Two to see what armoire I choose next…Thank you Chairish for the fun homework!

 

Dressers: Not Just for your Bedroom Anymore

I love to paint furniture.  Since I discovered Annie Sloan Chalk Paint a few years ago, I have several pieces in my house that I have restored using her fantastic paint.  But, I have to say, I am most proud of the restore I did on this dresser…


The French Provincial dresser belonged to Sister Bee and was part of a bedroom suite of furniture.  Then, it was used by my grandmother when my parents set her up in a little apartment.  Over time, it had yellowed and the paint on the top was peeling away.  But, I didn’t care.  I used it in all our bedrooms around the house.  It was always in the back of my mind to repaint her. Then, one day I was thinking to myself why do we always relegate the dresser to a bedroom?  Look at all the unused storage space just sitting in a guest bedroom.  So, we moved it downstairs to the entry way.  I plan to fill it with party essentials and seasonal decor.  The top right drawer houses all our pet supplies such as treats, leashes, meds, and their sweaters for walks.  Making it so convenient to be right by the front door.

Here are some before photos.  You can see how the furniture had yellowed over time.  My grandmother was a smoker and when I cleaned the piece with 409 before I painted it you could see years of dirt, smoke and just yuck coming off the furniture.

 Peeling paint on the top. 

I sanded the top where the peeling was happening just so I could smooth it all out. After I cleaned the furniture, I wiped down everything again with a damp cloth. Then, I gave it a light coat of Annie Sloan Pure White paint. I let it dry overnight.  The next day I gave it another light coat of paint.

For the hardware, I didn’t remove it and painted around it being careful to get just the right amount of paint on the hardware.  This photo shows a little of what I mean.  The first photo is just after I painted it on…

 The second photo is after I wiped it off with a damp cloth.

This is Mr. Wilson helping me.  The smaller the container, the better the fit.

After I finished painting, I let it dry for several hours.  Then I went around and sanded the piece where it would get normal wear — around the edges of dresser top and legs and by the drawer pulls.  I wiped the piece down again with a slightly damp cloth, and then I waxed it with Annie Sloan clear wax and buffed it with a clean, dry cloth.  The only feature that isn’t present anymore was the golden paint that ,when the piece was brand new, was in the crevices of the legs.  I may try to figure out a way to replicate the gilding without it looking to “perfect.”

Then, came the fun part!  Styling the top.  I plan to use this piece as a showcase to change out the top with the seasons.  Right now, I am feeling a blue rhapsody with blue and white pottery I have started collecting.

Add a candle and a pop of green with tiny apples.

I moved some lamps around and decided my Target Threshold beehive lamps were perfect for this dresser.

 I’m just really excited about how it turned out.  Now, to find something else to paint!

Magnolia Fall Workshop with Chip and Jo Jo

magnolia-market-sign-on-bosce

Enjoy this post from November 2014 before the Silos…

I love HGTV’s Fixer Upper hosted by this sweet couple Chip and Joanna Gaines..

chip-and-joanna-gaines

From Waco, Texas they flip falling down houses.  They are a down-to-earth couple and have a great story you can follow on Joanna’s blog.  I also follow Joanna on Instagram and when she posted she was hosting a fall workshop in Waco, I jumped at the chance to get tickets.  I got two tickets and took my bestie from middle school for her birthday.

magnolia-workshopMary and I met about 37 years ago in the school lunch line swooning over the lunch lady’s chocolate sheath cake and we’ve been friends ever since.  She lives in Austin so we met in Waco and made a night of it staying in the Hilton and treated ourselves to room service.  It was tons of fun to have no kids, dogs (and husbands) to take care of for 24 hours.  When we checked into our hotel we were given goody bags with a map to Joanna’s favorite places to visit in Waco.

magnolia-market-swag-bagAs we stood in line waiting for the event to begin, Chip made the rounds and we got a pic with him. His teeth are just as white in person.

chip-mary-and-meThe event was held in a restored warehouse with beautiful hardwood floors and beams, the perfect backdrop to the rustic elegance theme.  The audience sat in long tables decorated with wooden boxes filled with pumpkins, greenery, and mini clip boards with chalkboard art.

 magnolia-market-give-thanks
Each plate was placed on top of a grapevine wreath with a napkin and a galvanized metal shaped leaf tied with twine.
magnolia-market-workshop-tablescape
magnolia-market-thankful-for-cardEach guest had a card to record their blessings printed on craft paper card stock.
We enjoyed a buffet of hot butternut squash tomato basil soup with cheddar cheese croutons, pork tenderloin sliders, and six-cheese macaroni and cheese.
Joanna shared their story of how they met, married and started Magnolia Farms.  How you have to believe in your dreams, no matter the obstacles.  She talked about, as a mom, simplifying your life especially at holiday time.  Less is more and it’s about time spent with family, not how the decorations look.  I think we can all take a lesson from that.
Everyone got to take home a Magnolia Market swag bag with most everything at our place setting, including the galvanized metal leaf and clipboard.

At the conclusion of the event, they opened a boutique of gifts from their store and offered photos with Joanna.  Mary and I were in line for so long to check out that we missed the photo time.  I walked up to her assistant and used my dimples to real nicely explain we really wanted a pic and that we were buying stuff could they pretty please let us get a photo?  We ended up with a pic with both Chip and Joanna!

chip-me-mary-and-joannaThank you Jonathan for making that happen for us.  It was such a fun night.  On Friday we headed over to their retail store and got pics in front of their store…

magnolia-market-old-shopWe look forward to seeing them in January when HGTV airs season two of their show.

Pop of Pink Vignette

I have had this little starburst mirror from Pier1 for over a year waiting to find a home somewhere in the house.
 

 

So, I got to shopping for stuff around my house.  I set up a tray with an orchid, a gold and white box that was on clearance from Target, a mercury glass box from HomeGoods, a small gold letter “m” and a lidded jar of sour cherries, one of my favorite candies.  The spot behind the tray needed something so that’s when I thought I’d use the mirror.  It added just the right touch of glam.  The best part of all this was I didn’t buy a thing.  These were all accessories in other places around the house and I brought them together.


The little pink artwork is actually an enclosure card that came with a Kate Spade order. 
 I loved it so much that I put it in a gold frame.


 
 
My bedroom is very neutral — the walls are painted Revere Pewter and the bed linens are in shades of grey, taupe, and white.  So this pop of pink is perfect.



I challenge you to put together a tray of things that make you happy, that reflect your style and serve as a reminder of what a great person you are to be around!

Have a fantastic Friday!



A study in color — Shelfie Series Continued

I recently painted one wall in Mr. Bee’s study.  Toucan Tango from Clark and Kensington.  It may be my new favorite color.

I wanted an orangy red color that would coordinate with the World Market Suzani curtain panels we have on the windows and the shades of blue and turquoise we have throughout the rest of the house.

I also just wanted to accent the wall we put the Emerson shelves from World Market so there would be a backdrop of color against the accessories. We purchased two shelves and put them end to end along the wall.  I am so glad we went with an open back shelf.  A solid shelf would have made the room feel really small.

This shelf shows an assortment of old and new things.  I found the seltzer bottles at an antique store.  The clock on the top shelf belonged to my grandmother.  You can see I tried to balance the weight on each shelf with solid dark colors of accessories against the airiness of glass.

These are mostly all Mr. Bee’s collection of books and memorabilia from his English parents.  I filled in with some of my family’s things like the black mantel clock and the black marble candle weapons holders.  Mr. Bee has an atlas from when he was in elementary school and he turned a page to the British Isles.  I found the faux mother of pearl magnifying glass at HomeGoods.

The globe on the stand belonged to his Uncle Desmond.  The other one is circa 1970 and I got it out of the trash at the Goodwill.

I need to find another globe or maybe a decorative box for the empty spot in front of his Grandfather’s Aeronautical Society certificate of membership from the 1920s.

I added this mirror from Kirkland’s to the other side of the room above a credenza. I love the touch of blues and lime greens.
 
The last thing on the list for the study is to re-style all of Mr. Bee’s diplomas, certificates and his old wooden propeller that belonged to his Grandfather from an airplane crash he investigated back in the ’40s.  It’s pretty cool and I want to hang it up on the wall.  Plus, it wouldn’t be a finished room unless I paint a piece of furniture.  Stay tuned.

Shelfie Series

Today I am kicking off a series called — Shelfies — showing you how I styled my shelves recently.  The first room is my ladies lounge.  It’s the front room when you walk into my house.  I think it was probably used as the dining room by the previous owner, but I’ve used it as a sitting area.  It’s the perfect room for ladies to talk while the men are in the family room.  I also like to use it as a quiet reading room, while Mr. Bee is watching his war movies.

I cleared everything off and dusted each shelf so I could start with a blank canvas.   There is no right or wrong way to style your shelves.  It’s personal preference.  I do a little at a time, step back and look at it, and do a continuous edit throughout the process.  I set aside an entire Saturday to do this.  I worked a little at a time, walked away when I felt overwhelmed and came back later to start again.  Be creative with your book placement. The books don’t have to be all stacked up like a book store.

A simple trick is to style by color scheme.  You will see on the bottom shelf in the photo below I put mostly blue and green books together, with a dish of small, green apples and a large green glass vase.  By taking off the covers to your books, you can find some beautiful color schemes to work with.  Put the covers away in a safe place if you want to put them back on your books later.  To balance the bottom self, I repeated the green a few shelves above it, then again with the light green photo album propped up on the second shelf.

In this photo, I wanted to highlight the colors of the conch shells — corals, pinks, oranges (the missing book..Mr. Bee is reading cover-to-cover Mastering Art of French Cooking).  Use artwork on your shelves too, propped up as a backdrop.  I made the shadow box of butterflies which are actually push pins.

Overall, I was trying to achieve a look that when you see the shelf at first glance, your eyes travels in a nature curve downward — not stopping at any one point on the shelf.  Each shelf is balanced starting with the orange vase on shelf one, spiraling down to the silver bowl of shells on shelf two, and skimming through the clear vase on shelf three, to the silver grouping on shelf four, down to the green vase on the bottom shelf.  I like “white” space so your eye has time to rest.



You want your shelves to tell a story.  Many of these things are what remind me of Earnie.  Seashells, butterflies, the cross, my little white Bible I received in nursing school, her photo with Daddy.  The best part, I didn’t go out and buy anything.  I just used what I had around the house.

What do your shelves say about you?

Master Bath– the Pony Wall

I have fun pics to share of our master bath remodel.  I want to be careful to say the “before” space was not bad in the least.  We started with the traditional stand up shower lined with builder grade plastic and an adjoining sunken tub made of the same plastic that when you stepped into it, you were certain you would fall through.   It all functioned fine, but there was nothing special about it.  Since we don’t plan to move, we knew the investment in time and money would be well worth it.

I created a board on Pinterest and made a notebook with color swatches, photos from magazines and a “wish list”.  We decided that for our personal tastes we would gut everything and instead of putting in another tub, we would increase the size of the closet and have a larger walk-in shower.  Yes, you heard it right, we have no tub.  Neither Mr. Bee nor I are tubbers, and since we will be approaching the age where we can no longer get in and out of the tub, and that we plan to live in this same house until we move to the funeral home, we felt very comfortable living without a downstairs tub.  If we need a soak, we can go to the upstairs bathroom or to a hotel.

I will share the updates in a series so you can see each thing we did to keep the segments shorter.  This story is all about the pony!

I have always disliked a water closet that is closed off.  It makes me feel claustrophobic to be inside a dark room taking care of my “business.”  So I got this inspiration from Pinterest.

We removed the wall and the contractor used the photo as a guide to create the frame and glass shelves.  It meant that Mr. Bee would be losing his medicine cabinet, but we remedied that with adding drawers to the cabinets you can see below.  The little commode room also had a door, which we removed (all the doors went to our neighbor for her son’s theatre department for set design — yay for up cycling!).  In fact the bathroom had five doors to contend with.  We removed them all and now only have two sliding, pocket doors — one to enter the bathroom and one to enter the closet.  That’s it.  Very streamlined.

This pic shows how small and dark the water closet was.

Then during the demo of the wall.

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Here’s the after of the pony wall…

We didn’t do the sconce like the inspiration photo, because we already had a light source inside the commode area.  And since the sink was right next to the wall we didn’t make shelving below the pony wall. 

I think it turned out amazing. I wanted the cabinets to feel like furniture, not bathroom cabinets which is why I went with a darker color scheme than the inspiration photo.  The wall color is Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter.  The cabinets are Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze.  I will do another post on the accessories so stay tuned.  Remember, this is all about the pony.

The bottom shelf is part of the framing.  The three shelves above it are tempered, thick glass.  We added rubber feet to the hardware so the glass shelves don’t slip off when cleaning them or reaching for a cotton ball.

The mercury glass accessories give just enough bling and sparkle to contrast against the darker wood. 

Next stop…the shower! 

Summer Vignettes

While Mr. Bee is busy ripping out shelving in Miss Bee’s closet to prepare for the Elfa invasion, I am snapping photos of the summer coffee table décor.  Little things I’ve collected over the summer.

 
Miss Bee and I stopped into Walmart and I saw these
beautiful succulents in their garden department.  They’re real!
 

 

They came in white terracotta pots.
I placed them on a glass block my friend
Kathy gave me.
 
The brass alligator tray I picked up at Target.
The conch shell and paper weight I already had.
The sea urchins were from bestie’s stash.
The antlers Miss Bee found on a hike.
 
 The Threshold candle from Target
was on clearance.  It reminds me of beach glass.
 
One more pic of the succulents along side my August BHG.
 
 
I’m not a summer girl.  But scenes like this make me think I should be.




Digging Yellow — It’s Mellow

Yellow and orange are my fave colors du jour.  Here’s my mellow yellow journal.

I love the wall color with the grey dresser and hot pink accents.

Miss Bee’s science project.  Anatomy of a cell.

Love this reddish/orange chair.
 

 
 Yellow rattan chairs.

Fun journal from Barnes and Noble.

 
 Greenish yellow ottoman and hot pink.  Love.
 

Book I want to read.

Mrs. Schumacher’s Pretzel Rods.  She’s teaching her daughter,
Miss Anna, the trade.

 
Lemon Drop Cookies
 
 
This is an easy cookie to make.  You can change up the flavors by using different cake mixes and extracts.
 
1 box of lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp lemon extract

 
Mix all ingredients.  Form about a 3/4 tsp of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar.  Bake on a cookie sheet 6-9 minutes at 375 degrees.  Dust with sifted powered sugar when cooled.  Makes about 5-6 dozen.
 
Flavor ideas:  Chocolate with peppermint extract; strawberry with orange extract; vanilla with almond.  Combinations are endless.

Miss Hathaway, Take a Letter Please

I have a new secretary!  I have named her Miss Hathaway — for those of you who know your TV trivia — she was the dutiful, prim secretary of Mr. Drysdale at the Commerce Bank on the Beverly Hillbillies.

My secretary came from Sister Bee’s house.  It was Earnie’s and Sister Bee has been using it for years.  She is redecorating her house and moving things around and offered it to me.  I am so excited!  I’m using it to put on my makeup in the morning and for secretarial duties like check writing and correspondence.  Here she is….

The desk flips up so I can hide any insightly mess.

Inside I have on the bottom shelf my morning accessories like makeup, perfume and a dish of q-tips.  On the top two shelves I have my latest books and accessories.




The desk cubbies hold stationary, my clock and timely coorespondence, a milk glass cup of fun pencils, a Citron bottle with a red flower, a journal my besties gave me and my mirror for when I feel like belting out “I feel pretty” from West Side Story (I have been known to do this, by the way).

The last time I was at TJ Maxx I found this fun frame so I put a photo of my besties from one of our trips.  Sister Bee gave me the “buzzes” card.

Moving out an old desk and a cabinet freed up space for a sitting spot next to Miss Hathaway.

The leather storage ottoman I found at Kohl’s last year for almost nothing.  The table is from my Southern Living at Home days.  I use the ottomon for the desk and also a spot for me to put my shoes on in the morning.  The framed photos are botanicals I took during a trip to England to visit Mr. Bee’s family.  The wall lamp I found at Home Depot and I love it because it frees up table space.  Do you see Ruthie’s weinerend in the photo?

Two more things to show you before I buzz off.  New uses for old things…

I find I almost never use the bedside table on the right side of the bed.  Thought I would use this wasted space by topping it with a dressing mirror and my jewelry.  I am so glad I did!  I use this space every morning now to accessorize my outfit and check my hair on the way out.

I took a tiered dessert server and put my baubles on it so I can see what I have.  And, I found a hand ceramic piece at TJ Maxx on clearance (I guess no one could think of how to use it) to hang my long necklaces on.  Very chic!

One last change up I made was to move Earnie’s marble top Victorian table to the bedside.  I like it so much more. Gives me more room for my things and creates visual space as well.  The photo doesn’t show all the detail of the bottom.  I had a crazy thought…painting the bottom a peacock blue?  Mr. Bee would die.

What to do with my latest book, the remotes, my lotion and notepad?  I took Earnie’s old rattan desk organizer and put all the stuff in there.  Looks great and keeps it all together.  Old is not so bad.

Gotta run.  Mr. Drysdale needs me to make a deposit into the Clampett’s account.