30 September 2011

Old houses for sale

 I've gotten a little distracted this week....

One source of my distraction was a site I stumbled across a few days ago and now keep going back to. It's The National Trust for Historic Preservation. It shows old homes around the U.S. that are for sale. I am hooked. Seriously, this site is like crack for someone like me.

I have always thought it would be so much fun to buy some super old dump and turn it into the most gorgeous house imaginable. Old houses just have something that new ones don't- charm, character, personality...

Of course old houses also have other things that new homes don't...like sinking basements, cracked foundations, and warped walls. Not to mention lead paint and asbestos. So I've realized that what I really want is to build a new house that just looks old. It seems like a lot less trouble.

Still, I look at old houses and dream about what I would do with them if I had unlimited resources.

Which is what got me looking at the historic preservation site in the first place. Some of the houses on there are AMAZING. And since I love torturing myself with images of things I'll never have, I keep skipping over the more practically-priced listings to drool over the more jaw-dropping ones.

Like this gem in Virginia, built in 1850, that's for sale for $4,995,000.

But really, what can you expect when you're getting 165 acres, a barn, a stable, and a guest cottage? Those things don't come cheap.

{These images totally suck, btw, so sorry that they're so small. If you go to the site you can see them a lot better.}

I keep looking at this next place too. I don't love it like the first one- I think it looks a little bit too imposing or something. But it's still cool. And shoot, I wouldn't turn it down, that's for sure... 

But 3.7 mil is just a teensy bit too far over my price range. 
It's also in Virginia and was built in 1840.

 This next house is interesting because of the stipulations that come with purchasing it:

It's in Illinois and was built in 1892. In order to purchase it, you must first purchase a separate lot in it's neighborhood, agree to move the house to that lot, and then agree to renovate it in a way that keeps it authentic to it's original style. If you can do that, the house is yours for $1. Yep, a buck. I'll bet it's a doozy inside. The condition is listed as "distressed". 

I looove this one, in Virginia.

It was built in 1803 (well, the first part of it...it was added to later on.)
It's on almost 200 acres and is for sale for $7,500,000.

Why, oh why, is luxury so expensive??

Here's one with a much more down-to-earth price, but that is still spectacular.

It was built between 1911 and 1916. Supposedly a chest of money that had been hidden during the civil war was found buried on the original owner's land. He used it to build himself a house that was "as fine as the White House." 

See, that's what I love about old houses- new ones don't come with stories that cool. 

Anyways this place is in South Carolina and is for sale for $299,000. 
I think the best part about this one is that it's been totally renovated, so even though I'd still want to change a lot about it (like the ugly kitchen) it's all superficial stuff so it wouldn't cost much.

This last one may seem a little out of place after all of those...

It's not a house; it was a former shirt factory built in Vermont in 1906. 
I used to watch this show where people would buy these big old buildings- old schools, churches, whatever- and totally gut them and turn them into the most unique and amazing homes. 

Maybe I'm totally crazy, but I feel like this place has that kind of potential. 
It's a little less than 10,000 sf, so, huge for sure, but not a totally unmanageable size. And it's only $125,000.

If we had a reason to live in Vermont, it'd be seriously tempting. I think this place could be awesome. Look at all those windows..... Can't you just picture the inside all opened up, and maybe the second floor  gone so that the first floor had tons and tons of light from two rows of windows.....and then all the finishes could be really cool, industrial-type stuff....

Well I better stop daydreaming and meet my 6 year old at the bus stop. 

Seriously, check out that site. You'll be hooked too, I swear. 

26 September 2011

Another glass link chandelier

 A week ago when I was out shopping, I passed a lighting store and saw a fixture in the window that stopped me in my tracks.

Look familiar?

It's a round version of the chandelier from West Elm that I'm planning on getting for our dining room.

Naturally, I had to go into the store to take a closer look. The round one is very pretty. I'd love it in an entryway that had a high ceiling. 

It's $1200 price tag made the price of West Elm's version seem so measly. Thanks West Elm for affordable lighting. 

There were some other pretty fixtures in the store that caught my eye as well.

I love this one. I think it would be really nice in an entryway also.

I like this simple, silver drum shade.

I think the glass bubbles dangling off this one are pretty.

This one... I just thought was interesting. It would almost be like a piece of art.

22 September 2011

Before & After Thursday

 So, how can you decorate your house using a drum??


By turning it into a drum shade. Duh. 


I love it when people think outside the box with their decorating. Or maybe because the name of this one makes it so obvious, it should be called thinking inside the box.....I don't know. I just know that as many times as I have admired a drum shade and thought about making one, it never ever crossed my mind to do the awesomely obvious and make one from a drum like Lindsay from Living with Lindsay did. Seriously girl, you rock. 

Check out her post for how-to's. 

19 September 2011

Gorgeous wall art {that I inspired!!}

 I had to throw that last part of the title in there, because I am sooo flattered that my copy of some wall art that I saw in West Elm several months ago, inspired Beth of Final Touches Redesign to make this:

Beth made her's from sheet music cut into squares.

I love how she added the word grow to the side

Beth made this for her daughter, who is off at college. I'm sure it means so much to her, to have something so beautiful to display that was made for her by her mom.

Check out Beth's website to read about how she transforms people's homes using items they already own. {How brilliant is that?!} You can also find her on facebook, at Final Touches Redesign.

Thank you so much for sharing, Beth! It is absolutely beautiful!!

16 September 2011

Pink & Purple: Why they're better together

 A couple months ago, I scared the crap out of my husband. I dropped the M-word. Magenta. It was when I was trying to decide on a color for this console table-

{which I ended up painting like this, and I'm so glad I did, cause it's gorgeous.}

But when I was brainstorming what I wanted to do, I was wanting something bold, glamorous, and a little daring. Which is why I thought magenta might be perfect. 

For some reason I've been kind of obsessed with this color for a while, even though it is no where to be found in my house, except in my son's crayon box. 

While pink and purple can be done beautifully in a house, neither of them have ever been my thing for my house. 

Both very pretty, right? But put them together....

I am absolutely dying to do a room where it's mixed with gray, black and white, like it is here:

I'm a sucker for neutrals. They're calming, and relaxing, and you never get tired of them. But they don't have the punch that bright, fun colors have. 

You can have the best of both worlds, though, if you just have little pops of it. Look at this room....

I don't think that teensy amount of pink would scare my hubby too much. Maybe at some point I'll sneak this color in here somewhere. 

Weekend Bloggy Reading

12 September 2011

What I'm saving every cent for

 The dining room is one of my favorite rooms in this house; I think it is so pretty. The only thing about it that I'm really not crazy about is this light fixture:

You always hear that lighting is the fastest way to make or break a room, and this thing is KILLING this room. 

Here's what I'm going to replace it with:

I love it. Love it, love it, love it. I dream about it all the time. 

Look how pretty it is hanging above a table:

I'm a fairly greedy person, so my list of things I lust after is usually pretty long. But every once in a while something comes along that I just Have. Got. To. Have. Can't live without it. 

Unfortunately now that my husband is in law school and our budget has tightened like a noose, running out and dropping $300 on a light fixture isn't something I can do right now. So, I'm saving every single cent and I've put this light fixture on my extremely short Christmas list. I am absolutely determined to be ringing in the New Year under this thing. 

Lighting is one of the easiest ways that you can make a rental home feel more like you. And since no one wants to spend money on a house that isn't theirs, it's perfect because when you leave, you can take your fixture with you to put into your next house. (Just make sure you save all the old lighting so you can put it back before you leave- I'm sure nothing would infuriate a landlord like walking in and finding a bunch of empty holes in the ceiling.) 

One thing I realized though, is that you have to check first to make sure the old fixtures haven't left damage on the ceiling that your new fixture wont be able to hide. 

I really wanted to replace this light fixture in the hallway...

...with this pretty chandelier from Ikea:

But if you look really closely at my hallway's light fixture, the ceiling was painted around the outside edge of it. 

So if we took it down, there'd be a big circle on the ceiling. And I really don't feel like repainting the ceiling just so I can have a new light fixture. At least not right this second.... {Plus, I realize that whether or not that chandelier would work there is questionable anyway...if we couldn't hang it high enough we'd be hitting it with the closet door. Sigh. Nothing bums me out like having my vision squashed by reality.} 

But just envisioning the West Elm chandelier dangling above my dining room table is enough to keep me happy right now. I am so in love- I can't wait to have it!!

09 September 2011

For the love of Ikea

 I have a confession: until we moved here, I'd never, ever been to Ikea. I know, I'm like the last person on earth to go there. I'd heard how amazing it was; I'd looked at their products online. But it wasn't until I went into the store- that is so huge that the street it's on is named after it; and walked in awe through it's perfectly arranged rooms; and looked at the thousands of products designed to meet every possible need at home; that I finally got it. That store is amazing. I believe half the world's problems could be solved at Ikea. World peace is waiting just beyond it's giant doors.

We went there out of curiosity since we've never had one close before. When we left two hours later, Rob's wallet was lighter, and so was my heart. Ikea definitely solved one of my problems- or more specifically, my kitchen's.


This room has been begging for an island. It's been driving me crazy when I'm chopping something that has to go into a pan on the stove, to have to trek back and forth across the whole room to get from the counter where I'm chopping to the stove where I'm cooking.

All that changed though, after we brought this butcher block island home from Ikea.

 It's been life-changing. I believe that every kitchen needs an island, except for the tiniest ones. And this one has changed the way I use this room. Now instead of schlepping back and forth with chopped vegetables balanced on my knife, I can just spin around and drop them straight into the pan.

So thank you, Ikea. You've solved my problems. Maybe you can't bring world peace, but you've sure brought peace to me.