Friday, April 18, 2014

Our New Modern Chandelier

I've been meaning to switch out our old pendant with a chandelier that had greater light coverage for our living room. Previously we had this drum shade pendant hanging over our table back when our living room was a dining room. Once we switched the two rooms, we had a super low pendant and never changed it. I'm sure no one else noticed, but it annoyed me that a. it was so small in diameter, b. didn't really match our furniture, and c. hung low as if being hung over a table-thus we had to keep our coffee table centered under it to prevent bumping your head.


I've been scouring craigslist, but I had something very specific in mind and couldn't find anything.
Today at Lowes while picking up some furniture wax for another project, I wandered into the lighting section. After having some really high-end lighting pieces at my store, I swore I'd never buy lights at Lowes or Home Depot again. Kinda snobby, I know, but the quality just isn't there. BUT this one chandelier's price was $97 and at that price, I couldn't pass it up. When I checked out, it actually rang up higher at $159, but I assured the guy that the sign where I got the box said $97 and took him back to show him. What a score, huh?

Last night when my husband came home we hung it. Why are these things always so much harder to install than you think it should be? In theory, it's connecting three wires and screwing in a nut, but no, it took us seasoned veterans a whole hour to get this baby in. I haven't had an arm work out this good in a year.
Anyways, here's the end result.

I have ceiling fan bulbs on it in the meantime while I find some cool Edison light bulbs to put in there. I'm thinking something like these might work.

or this one:
There's so many to choose from on this website, but I think I like these two best (they have to have a skinny base, so that limits my options).

Next week we get our new couch in. I'll probably put this leather couch on my website for sale. Also for sale: the lovely black and white drum shade pendant- currently still for sale at Lowes for $99. We're asking $60.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Embellishing Old Art

My husband and I participated as vendors in the Steel City Con show in Monroeville this past weekend. It was our second time selling there. He has a huge, vintage arcade collection and does pretty well at these things. I really enjoy going along for the ride. These shows are pure entertainment. I could sit and people watch for hours. In fact, that's just what I do. And sell arcade marquees/NES games on the side. 



Anyways, this year we sat in the artist gallery across from some pretty neat artists. Directly across from us was Drew Blank. His sign said, "Drew Blank; arter writist". I immediately looked him up to see if "Drew Blank" was in fact his real name because that seemed too good to be true. He has a great inventory of kitschy, graphic art "squares". Here are some favorites we came home with.

He had such a colorful booth to look at. I found new things every time I looked. 


The second thing we came home with was something we thought was pretty clever: using old art as a new medium. I saw this old sailboat painting at a flea market the other weekend, and I was just thinking it'd be cool to repaint it with new colors and add some flare. This is what Audra did with her "Observers" painting. It was previously just a boring landscape picture, I'm sure she found laying in a pile at a local thrift store. It's nicely framed, but otherwise nothing special. She found three of these landscape paintings and proceeded to add her own flare in the form of robots (You can visit her facebook page to see the other two in the series). I'm not so much a fan of sci-fi, but I appreciate her creativity. My husband, on the other hand, was slightly obsessed, and thus, it's now hanging in our dining room (for now, at least). I think it's kind of unexpected. At first glance, you're like, "Oh, a landscape". And then, "Oh, robot explorers in a dining room". See what I mean? Not normal, huh? I could see where it almost might be offensive. Artists painting on other artist's work. But there's still something I really like about the idea. Think of all the old, boring art that might just get thrown out. It's recycling at its finest.


What do you think? Does it make you want to run out and try something with an old painting? That's what I want to do now. Thanks for the great art and a fabulous weekend, Steel City Con, we'll be back in August.

She went from this to this in 5 minutes flat. Oh the drama!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Real Estate Monday: Greenfield

I promise I've been scouring the internet for new homes, but until now, I hadn't found any "worthy" to post on. At least not that I considered "affordable". Today, I'm posting a house in Greenfield. It's located right across a bridge (of sorts) from Squirrel Hill. It's easily walkable, accessible, and all around a pretty great location if you ask me, without the sticker shock of Sq. Hill.
This house has the most incredible floors I've seen in Pittsburgh. Seriously. I'd like to interview the owners, they're so amazing. If you happen to read this, owners, please contact me, and do share how you did them. Anyways, this pretty much goes without saying, the floors are why I chose to showcase this house. You'll see what I mean.
306 Kaercher St., Pittsburgh, Pa 15207 listed for $195,000, it has 4 bedrooms, 2 baths.
 If I walked into this house and saw these floors, I think I'd buy it right then and there. I'm a sucker. I know.  This layout is very typical of any old, Pittsburgh home, but the floors make it flow oh-so-nice and really step it up a notch.
 They clearly remodeled the kitchen, adding a nice breakfast nook.
 I love the sliding doors off the dining room. You could open those up and really expand your living space once the weather warms up. Also, how beautiful is that mission style cabinet? I like that the color palate is neutral, too. It really allows the space to feel fresh and clean.
There's that bay window you see from the front with some wonderful built-ins.
 The floors on the second floor are beautiful as well. And look at that nice, big hallway.
 They've chosen to use the space on the third floor as a family room, but I'd imagine it could also be a pretty awesome master suite, as well. I'm sure there's hardwood under that carpet, too, but I like carpet in bedrooms. It makes it a little cozier under your feet.
I don't think this house will be on the market long. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Life Lately (in pictures)

 It's been a long time since I blogged last. Let me catch you's been a busy season of life. And please excuse the iPhone pics. A couple of weeks ago we decided to repaint our house. It's a craftsman style bungalow, which is beautiful, but it's really boring. The siding is dirty and off white, the columns on the front porch are brown. The brick is sort of this ugly red, orange. Nothing really highlights the architectural features of this house. So we're painting.
Here's the inspiration photo below. Granted this is a different house, I feel like I can still pull inspiration from it. Isn't it gorgeous? Maybe I'd finally feel ok with chopping down the bushes that hide our front if it looked like this.

Here are two colors I tested below. I'm going with the bottom one. It's Downing Stone from Sherwin Williams.

 I painted that on the one day two weeks ago that we had nice weather. The next day it snowed and I booked a last minute flight to see my parents in Florida. It was 80 degrees and sunny all week.

I decided it was the perfect time to announce to the world we're expecting baby #2.

 The baby "bump" appears much faster second time around! Here we were at my favorite Cuban restaurant, Columbia, in St. Augustine.

 I love beach décor, and my mom decorates with cute starfish throughout her house. I think I'm going to try to incorporate some into my décor. Maybe it'll make me feel like I'm back in Florida.

Here's my mom "matsa" and Taliila at our favorite beach café, Lillie's.
What a wonderful week! I was supposed to be studying for my real estate exam, but that was so hard to do when I wanted to be out and soak up as much sun as possible.
When we got back home here in Pittsburgh it was a chilly 45 degrees! Welcome home, I guess.
Taliila and I drowned our sorrows in some retail therapy.  
 We scoured thrift stores (and craigslist) for a love seat for our ever-changing playroom. I swear I've rearranged this room a bajillion times. I found nothing of the sort. But I did find this awesome four-piece French provincial bedroom set. This would look awesome refinished. Too bad I'm pregnant and lifting/repainting four heavy pieces isn't really going to happen right now. So I thought I'd at least share the find. It's at St. Vincent de Paul's in Murrysville (there's a tall chest not pictured).
We ended up getting a cheapo Ikea love seat since we had such tight space requirements. I took our desk out and replaced it with our old tv console that was more narrow. The desk is now for sale on my website. $60 (approx. 40" wide).
Here's the new couch in the space. So much more room now, and there's actually a comfy place to sit while T plays.
Now you're officially caught up. I have my national exam coming up next week that once I pass I will be an official Realtor. Whohoo! We'll see if I actually like it as much as I think I will. Time will tell.
In the mean time, I've been keeping an eye on some items in the newest auction to redo. Soon I'll be decorating another nursery. Fun. Fun. Fun.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My Real Estate Mondays (literally speaking)

So I've literally been spending my Mondays (and Wednesdays) for the past month or so taking the required real estate courses to become licensed. I'd consider realty a hobby right up there with redoing furniture. I love it, and I figured it was about time I did something about it. I'm really not in it so I can become some cut-throat real estate agent who sells her soul. I hope no one's in it for that reason, but rather just to be able to legally assist family and friends, and perhaps even myself.

This book is no joke and I have a whole new respect for my Realtor. Please excuse the marker that won't come off my table...guess we'll be sanding and painting that soon.

 If all goes according to plan, I'll sit for my state exam sometime in early April and get a job with a local Brokerage company. Whohoo! I'm seriously pretty pumped about this. Just like this girl is pumped to be playing in Prince Wednesday's castle!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Do or Don't: Houndstooth Sofa?

Am I crazy for wanting an entire sofa covered in houndstooth fabric? And a sectional sofa, at that. Since I've been married, we've owned five different new (or kinda new) sofas. That's one for every year of marriage. This is getting ridiculous! We don't change because we get sick of them and want something new, we change out of comfort. Thankfully, perks of being a furniture resale business owner allowed me to a. resell our sofas, and b. find decent used ones. So we never really spent a ton of money, but it still adds up along the way.

This year we're feeling a bit gutsy. We've been toying with the idea of buying what we feel like is the most comfortable sofa in the world. At least in our world. It all started 7 years ago when Tony and I first met. He spent the night on my aunt's Baldwin sofa from Arhaus and fell in love. From then on, we've compared every couch to the comfort of that one, which feels like you're laying on a bed of feathers. We finally went in the store this weekend to browse. BIG MISTAKE because we're totally not ready to buy. But at the same time, they're running some hot deals to encourage people (like us) to buy. I guess all the snowy weather has caused a dip in their sales, too.

Anyways, onto the even crazier part than paying that much for a sofa- paying that much for a houndstooth sofa. Ugh... I'm so afraid of hating it, but I'm super attracted to it, and have been for years. I even saw a sectional in a model home that I tried to buy from them, but they wouldn't take my offer. Shucks.

So here's some cool inspiration pics that I'm showing you to 1. gain your support, and 2. make myself do what it takes to decide one way or the other (because I literally have a day to decide). I already have my mom's vote...

Love this one. Totally the color and everything I'm going for.
 Not so crazy about this one. The loose cushions make it look more shabby chic, which is not really what I'm going for.
Isn't this mustard color fun? I think the key is tight modern lines. What do you think?
 Wouldn't this be fun paired with the brown houndstooth?
And one more for the road. Since the pattern's so small, it almost takes on more of a neutral feel without feeling too boring. 

That's the end of my design rant. We'll see if I chicken out or not. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Decision to Sell (or rent) Our Church

Road Runner - The Bigger from Matt Costa on Vimeo.

You're probably wondering why I put a random music video on my blog. If you look closely, it just so happens to be filmed in our building. The hole in the wall doesn't look so bad when it's the backdrop for a cool indie rock band. I wish I could have posted this sooner because Road Runner is playing at the Brillobox tonight. It's looked down upon to bring a 3 yr. old to a club, so I'm home blogging about it instead.

Since selling off my store's contents back in August, we've been renovating a little (did you see the shiny floors in the video?) and racking our brains with ways to use this super, cool building. All along the main plan with buying this property was to build a garage for my husband's landscaping company (we were able to do so on the other side of the property). For awhile I ran my store by appointment only in the church, but decided to close that to focus more on redoing custom pieces vs. having to run a store. The actual church building has remained unused aside from this fun music video opportunity. We decided to list it for sale and see how it goes, but we're also open to renting it out if y'all know anyone interested. The acoustics are great for music videos! Read on if you're interested in details of what was done thus far to fix up the building.

For some background information [read: boring stuff] we bought this building as a foreclosure and knew nothing about it's history until after purchasing it (click here for before pictures). After chatting with some neighbors we figured out the previous tenants had a constant problem with water in the basement. This was a huge learning process, but thankfully I have a very capable husband who knows how to run really big machinery. The property next to the church was a big sink hole where water would just collect, and, thus, run into the basement of our building. Tony dug it out, installed a leech bed/drain so the water would properly run out to the street. He then filled in the hole with dirt making it a usable piece of land.

Inside, he installed a french drain and a sump pump that pumps any water that gets past the outside drain back to the street. The walls were also dry-locked and all repainted. There used to be a kitchen down there, but we stripped everything out since there was previous water damage. It's not perfect down there, but the water situation is under control and at least half of the basement would be able to be finished without concern of it getting flooded again.

The sanctuary was painstakingly repainted a more soothing color. There was a lot of purple and gold to cover up, even purple carpet. We recently sanded and polyurethaned the old floors.  The bathroom was a total gut and redo, but all our paint and materials were recycled from other jobs, from my shop, or purchased from Construction Junction. Half the windows were replaced on the side of the building with glass block. Half are still original, including the lead glass windows in the front of the building.

We had to completely replace the gutter system outside and now that (and the roof) is in pretty good shape. Those are the basics. Let me know if you have any more questions.

1675 Laketon Rd. Wilkinsburg, Pa 15221


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