There weren't a lot of changes in the shop this week, so instead of a Welcome to Homestead post we've got this little gem to share.
Over Labor Day weekend we decided to expand our showroom which in turn meant moving our office to the (mostly) finished basement. The goal for the basement is to use it as a large indoor workspace this winter. Right now it's where we store our upcoming projects and inventory backstock. It can get a little crazy down there to say the least.
We started clearing out the new office space in the early afternoon and completed the setup as it was getting dark. It was a tiring process, we decluttered and meticulously organized everything. Worth it. We haven't had a functioning office in months.
Next video we make I promise not to be in my workout clothes. (That is absolutely not true.)
Thanks to our friend Tori Wadzita for patiently documenting this process with us. If you want a cool video made, she's your girl.
Thanks and praise go out to my friend Sam. Because of him I've been inspired to start a new blog series. I'm calling it Rose and Thorn.
It's a pretty simple concept, but let me explain. Rose and thorn could be used to describe the best and worst parts of anything really. Example: What were your rose (best) and thorn (worst) memories from the past week? From your day at work? Rose and thorn of the new person you're dating? And so on. It's fun, I promise, and everyone can join in.
In an effort to stay focused my Rose and Thorn posts are going to be strictly about things that are going on with our house. Ryan and I work on the house non-stop. It's as much of a job as our actual job. I think it'll be good for me to vent (and swoon) over the things we work on and accomplish each week.
Owning a home is hard work and I want sympathy and encouragement, dammit!
Here it goes.
ROSE AND THORN 01
Most of the beautiful furniture we buy goes directly to the shop because I need to share. the. wealth. But, this time I got to keep the cool new thing that we bought and I feel so great about it.
We found this vintage tufted leather settee online in early March.
It was originally from an old mansion in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Of course it was, look at it. The problem was this beautiful settee was currently residing at a horse ranch in Spokane. While obviously closer than Jackson Hole, Spokane is about a five hour drive from Seattle and in my opinion a five hour drive calls for an overnighter. We knew we wouldn't be able to pick this guy up for weeks but that wasn't going to stop me from trying. Luckily after putting down a deposit the owner was willing to hold onto it for us.
After almost four months we were able to schedule a trip to get this beauty. The trip ended up being one of our first big buying trips and one of our most memorable trips together. Spokane is a pretty nice place and the settee was as perfect as expected.
In an effort to keep this stunner I offered up the sofa in the tv room (I guess it's more of a tv nook) as a trade. It's an amazing sofa and it has been a loyal companion for years, but you can't stop true love, and true love is how I feel about this tufted leather settee.
The tv nook before.
Getting to the point.
This week's ROSE was learning that the settee would in fact fit up our tiny staircase and then staging the room around it. I love how this space turned out and my life is upgraded because I finally have side tables. Side tables are now something I would consider a necessity not a luxury for this space. I also feel great about getting rid of over half of the interior design books that I never ever look at.
The tv nook after.
I can't wait to finish watching Boardwalk Empire in here.
Time to be a downer.
This week's THORN:
One word. WEEDS. Weeds weeds weeds. I hate you. Landscaping has always been a job outside of my comfort zone so I never really noticed when it didn't look good or if it needed work until it got really bad. For some reason this is the year of noticing. For better and for worse.
I'm trying to be reasonable and not overwhelm myself. I've decided to take one small section of the yard and just focus on that until it's looking its best and is as low maintenance as possible.
Here's our side yard after a week of weeding and maintenance. We'd like to add a few more plants and a layer of topsoil. The tall plants are jasmine, we're training them to wrap around the fence. They're still babies but eventually they should cover the entire thing.
I figure that slowly, after a lot of hard work, the entire yard will somehow become manageable and low maintenance.
Until then my parking strips look like abandoned weed gardens.
What were your home related rose and thorn this week?
We're finally getting back into the blogging swing of things and we have some exciting news to share! A few months ago we (and our house) were chosen to be featured on the HGTV online series Home Diaries. Each mini-episode in this charming series features "the compelling stories behind unique homes located across the U.S., told from the perspectives of (really cool) homeowners." Thanks to the production team at Red Arrow Industries for posting about it and making us the first in the series.
Until we can get the video on our site directly you can view it here or by clicking on the image below. Keep an eye out for a sneak peak at our ever-changing showroom. You can make an appointment (by email or phone) to visit us and see all of the great stuff we have listed on our site along with some pieces that you can only find in the shop.
Hope you enjoy it!
This set of six Mid Century Thonet dining chairs have been patiently awaiting an overhaul. Luckily for them it was sunny in Seattle last week so I had a good excuse to finally get this project started. In addition to the great weather I was also fortunate to have help in the form of my brother-in-law, Zach. He wanted to learn how to refinish wood and I needed a second set of hands.
Many of our pieces can get by with a small bit of touchup; removing a spot of paint or sanding out and oiling a scuff. Not this set. The vinyl was splitting and peeling, the finish had worn through, and the stain was splotchy. These chairs needed to be fully sanded, restained and reupholstered.
This project, although extensive, was worth it for us because these are iconic chairs with a classic silhouette. I feel great giving them at least another 50 years of life.
Here's what I used for this project:Lint Free Rags (Old t-shirts work great)
After I had all of my supplies together we disassembled the chairs. This made sanding quicker and in this case it allowed us to send off the cushions to be reupholstered while we worked on the wood.
Next we sanded every piece down by hand. Here's Zach being a hero and taking on the bulk of the sanding. We started with 80 grit sandpaper and sanded with the grain until the finish and stain came off completely. Then we went over it again with 220 grit sandpaper. The 220 smoothed out the surface and allowed the stain to apply more evenly.
I have learned to never be lazy about sanding. It feels terrible to sand away for hours only to have the stain go on poorly and then be stuck sanding everything over again. Don't skimp on sanding.
Once we had the first leg sanded we tested out a few different shades and types of stains and settled on a gel stain in dark walnut. Oil-based stains are great for bringing out the highlights and natural colors of wood grain but they're harder to work with than gel stains. Gel stain applies much more evenly than oil-based and it is easier to clean up . Since I was looking to keep the color as even as possible and because I was working with Zach on his first project, gel stain was the best option.
Before and after the first coat of stain.
I'm nearly done staining the chairs and the frames should be ready by the time we get the cushions back from our upholsterer. These two plaids were our top choices. Michele decided on the vintage blue Pendleton plaid fabric because the teal stripe feels more summery than the burgundy. Everything should be finished in a week or two. I can't wait to see it all come together.
As many of you know we had to completely renovate our second story because of an electrical fire. Before the fire it was a cozy attic bedroom with dark eggplant walls and a low ceiling. Our bathroom was a golden yellow with white beadboard and a single sky light.
This was how it looked when we were featured on Apartment Therapy.
Up to this point I had pretty much only received positive feedback from friends and family on the house. I was proud of my work in general, but I knew there was room for improvement.
Before our house tour went live I was warned to under no circumstances read the comments left about it. People leave negative comments just because they can. Don't let them get to you. I couldn't help myself, I was really interested to see what my peers (other people who read Apartment Therapy regularly) thought.
Almost all of the comments were positive. It felt nice to hear that other people (people that didn't know me) thought I did a great job on our home. It felt "warm, cozy, perfectly Seattle." Maybe I should have stopped there. Of course I didn't.
The comment that stuck with me, and that actually made me cry, was something to the tune of, 'This is all just junk. Get rid of everything and start over.' Why did I hang on to this instead of focusing on all the compliments? I think it's because we occasionally need that kind of feedback to improve. Tough love. It hurts, but without it we would just flat line. At least I would.
It's safe to say that 99% of the things we own were not purchased brand new, but those things are not junk. I'm very sensitive to not letting my house look like a yard sale. I want to be a shining example for buying vintage by having a clean, stand out home that looks better than any cut-and-paste house filled with all Restoration Hardware pieces. I don't want people to think that vintage means out-dated upholstery, jars of buttons and dusty bowls of dried flower petals. Vintage for me is thick well-worn leather, solid wood, fine craftsmanship, classic metals, natural fibers, timeless patterns, and re-purposing (but not in the DIY kind of way) old pieces to fill current needs.
For example, we use this trunk as a laundry hamper. The only thing we did was clean it.
I want to continually grow as a decorator and push myself out of my comfort zone. That can be a challenge in your own home. When it comes to your personal things it's hard to see your stuff and your space with fresh eyes. I needed a clean slate. Luckily, that's exactly what I got.
When we moved back into our home our goal for the master suite was to make it feel like an escape from the rest of the house. Our main floor and basement are filled with Homestead Seattle things. The upstairs is our space. We wanted it to be clean and relaxing. I wanted to get rid of the majority of the tiny knick-knacks and highlight the pieces that were really stars. I wanted to lessen the heavy burden of all of our stuff.
Here's the first step of that transformation.
Good boy, Jake.
My brass animal collection.
I'm not crazy about the painted vanity but it was badly damaged in the fire and this rescued it.
That old wood container used to store nails and now it holds dog food.
The ottoman is for sale in our shop. We were borrowing it for size and color.
We lovingly named this guy Franken-Chair. He may be too distressed for some but he's not junk. We had the springs restored and frame re-glued so he is structurally sound and very comfortable.
There's still too much stuff on the bookcase.
The view from our loft.
The biggest changes upstairs are the vaulted ceiling, wood beams, loft, darker floors, new windows, additional skylight, painted vanity, glossy black doors and white walls everywhere. If you would've asked me the day of our Apartment Therapy shoot what I thought about white walls I would have told you, 'I don't live in a sterile apartment. I own my home.' What a snob. Also, what an idiot.
White walls, especially in an attic, are amazing. Talk to anybody that lives in Amsterdam.
While I still have strong negative feelings towards primer-white, there are thousands off warm whites out there that really make a room feel fresh and let the furniture and the things stand out. We used Benjamin Moore White Dove, semi gloss on the trim and eggshell on the walls. Part of me wishes I had used semi-gloss everywhere but I'm not going to beat myself up over it.
I am in love with our room. I think it does need a little work though.
My current design style is practical and need-based. I like to figure out what I (or the person who lives there) actually needs in a room and then to use that to dictate everything. The struggle here is I don't know what our exact needs are for this room.
This is our current list, these things can stay:- A bed
Ralph Lauren, Winter Rose. So good.
The best thing about our master suite is that no matter how crazy our day was, when we get in bed at night we feel stable, calm and proud. When we wake up in the morning we get to start the day fresh with a clean palate and clean mind.
I haven't given up on color, it will definitely be re-introduced thoughout the house, but the white gives our eyes and mind a break and some time to actually see our things and simplify our lives.
First off, no I have not finished the hall. Actually, it is pretty crazy right now. But there's the marble table and bamboo chairs.
It's a start.
I'll get to it soon, I promise.
The problem is I've been really distracted by our newly refinished basement. It was the final part of our renovation and we have been dying without it since we moved back into our house in September. Our house is big, but not big enough for us and all of the furniture that lives here.
The stairs were a nightmare and you hit your head on the ceiling every time you went up or down them. There were awkward useless rooms separated by rotting drywall. An enormous ancient heating system took up a majority of the space. The windows were old and didn't open. And the floor was something that no person should walk on with bare feet. Ever.
I'm obsessed with this rug though. On the other side of that wall was this eyesore. The soon to be top of our dining table. It was super creepy, and this is after a ton of work.
The goal is to live out our industrial warehouse dreams down here.
We don't have the insane natural light or square footage of this place. Which of course happens to be in Barcelona (adding insult to injury). But we do have exposed ceilings, new windows, waxed concrete floors, a 1903 brick chimney, vintage doors with original hardware and a loft. Not bad.
We plan on using our basement for shop related projects, to organize upcoming product and for general hang out during the day while we work. Essentially this will be our office and we want it to look dope.
So, we started with this chesterfield sofa that we found on Craigslist.
Read it and weep.
Super distressed Argentinian leather, original horse hair fill and a sprung front rail. I have been searching for this sofa for years and now I have it.
MY JOB IS AMAZING.
Back to the basement. It's a work in progress but here's what it looks like right now.
Ignore the dining room chandelier. Behind that tapestry is a huge loft that is currently filled with projects but some day will have a guest bed. This is our first crack at a layout. I'm sure as we spend more time down here things will change. And yes, we still have a ton of work to do.
BUT IT'S GOING TO BE INCREDIBLE.
I'm having trouble deciding if I want to keep the ceiling the way it is with the dark wood and stain all the newer beams to match or just paint everything white. I think a white ceiling would brighten up the space and give it a really clean look, but I hate painting wood that has such great character.
I guess we'll just have to start using the space and see how it makes us feel. Rooms have a way of telling you what they need.
Yes, my house communicates with me. It's only weird if you make it weird.
So, it's finally time.
We don't have the threat of drywall dust covering everything at any moment. We don't have to move our belongings from room to room so contractors can finish their never-ending work. Today is the day that all of our things can find homes and we can figure out the best way to use each room in our house. Hallelujah. It's been over a year. I think I need a drink. Maybe two.
No better place to start than this awkward space. It used to look like this before the fire. Yep, a real fire. It destroyed our second story. Old wiring + attic insulation, not a good mix.
Those chairs. I will mourn you forever.Now it looks like this.
What is this room?
One day that angled wall with one sad skylight will have a whole row of skylights and this will be my indoor greenhouse. (How Seattle of me.)
As is, it's an unused space where the cats eat. The only usable-for-human things in here are a secretary desk and my favorite plaid chair.
When I set up the room like this I had the best intentions of doing work here in this light-filled plant heaven.
Reality: Why would I do work here when just a few feet away is my bed... covered in pets? I can do everything I could at that desk but better with three sleeping creatures next to me.
Sorry little desk, it's not you - it's me.
So the desk has to go. And maybe the portraits. Don't worry, I'm sure we can find them a better home. The plants can stay. Actually they can multiply. More plants and pictures of plants everywhere please.
We need a table. With two chairs. Let's start there.
I have a marble French bistro table with a cast iron base similar to this guy.I was going to use it on our deck but whatever, it just got upgraded. So great, done and done.
I have a pair of vintage dark bamboo chairs (similar to this one) that I've been waiting to reupholster until I find them the right home. I looked for more inspiration pictures on pinterest but my god, everyone is painting their bamboo chairs crazy colors. STOP THAT. STOP THAT RIGHT NOW. I guess I understand the look but it's not for me.
Or maybe I should go with the expected Tolix chairs. I do have a set of six in silver. I mean, if they're good enough for the Eiffel Tower.
Mid Century Kodawood gems for contrast? In plaid of course.
I guess if we plan on sitting there for long periods of time we might want leather wingbacks.
I can't believe I sold these wingbacks. Why?
Too many options. I'm working on it today. I'll let you know how it goes.
Here's hoping that I can make this weird hall feel like an outdoor patio. In Europe. With tons of plants. Plants, marble, plaid, leather, cheese and baguettes.