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when to buy vintage when to buy new

One of my greatest dilemmas when buying things for my house is whether to buy vintage or buy new. There are merits to both! There are pitfalls to both! A classic pro and con list is called for.

Pro: Buying Vintage 

If you found a (seemingly) one of a kind item at some dusty thrift shop on a gross side of town then make way for some major bragging rights. Oh, that old thing? It’s unique, awesome, and it was only three cents. Also, vintage items have that perfectly rusted and perfectly distressed look to them that just cannot be recreated (although we’ve all tried at some point). Vintage items can also be significantly cheaper than new items that look old. In my experience the further away from any major city you go the cheaper the items are (not to be city snob but country folk don’t always know what they have). Another pro? Finding a cool vintage piece feels like winning the lottery. You searched and you found that perfect vintage school map for under $100 and the shopper’s high is incredible.

Con: Buy Vintage

Buying vintage is kind of a lot of work. I mean, it’s not like you can just go to the one perfect thrift shop in town that has all the cool stuff for affordable prices (unless that place exists, in which case, tell me where!). Buying vintage takes driving around to all the thrift shops in town and sifting through loads upon loads of unorganized, dusty junk to find that one brass figurine that your heart has always desired. Your hands will smell and you’ll be hungry and you’ll get drowsy from all the driving. Not to mention that vintage items can be really overpriced. I’m sorry, you want how much for the dinged up, not to mention non-functioning, letter ‘T’ from an old neon sign??? I mean it would look insane in my dining room but I’m not paying three figures for it! And now with the proliferation of blogs and Pinterest that once unique light up globe lamp that you found for $12 (ahem) doesn’t look so special when ever other photo on the internet showcases one. If you think about it, we are basically buying stuff that was mass produced 50 years ago, it isn’t really that unique, it just happened to have survived the last few decades.

Pro: Buying New

Pretty much any store that sells housewares has vintage-looking items. That distressed crate with French words, the side table with the brass capped legs… you know what I’m talking about. The obvious pro to buying new is convenience. Any home store will have a vintaged-ly patterned china set and hey! it will all match and you won’t spend hours/days/years thrifting to find a matching set. Also, can I just say cleanliness. Thrifting isn’t for the faint of heart, I have been in some straight-up nasty stores looking for vintage stuff, in comparison, you could perform surgery in Target it’s so clean. Buying new will also provide you with more knowledge of the piece you are buying. If you are buying a new mid-century style dresser you will know the quality based on where you purchase it, buying the same style dresser at a vintage shop and your guess on it’s origins, quality, and life span are only just that.

Con: Buying New

My number one problem with buying new stuff is unoriginality. Sure I love a lot of stuff at IKEA and Target but the likelihood that someone I know will also purchase the same piece is up there. Number two? Price. I wanted a side table that looked like a bar cart but I knew that if I purchased it new it would be over $100, so I buckled down and thrifted until I found what I wanted for $15. Also, buying new doesn’t necessary mean it will be good quality. Most furniture sold today is particle board or some sort of manufactured wood, but vintage stuff can often be well made. Just think about it, there is a 0% chance that Lack side table from IKEA is going to last even until next year let alone 30 years from now. Vintage furniture has stood the test of time.

So what do you think? Are you dedicated to the vintage hunt or are you happy with the convenience of buying new? I definitely lean more toward vintage but I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of buying new things. I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments!

Photographs of my Bedroom

October 24, 2013 — 1 Comment

This is my bedroom as of September 2013, enjoy!

Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser

All photos are courtesy of Ashley a. Photography, thanks Ashley!

Living Room Photographs

October 22, 2013 — 5 Comments

This is my living room as of September 2013, enjoy!

Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room

All photos are courtesy of Ashley a. Photography, thanks Ashley!

I really hate to break it to you but chalkboard paint is sort of a sham. Don’t get me wrong, I love the look and I don’t regret painting a chalkboard wall in my kitchen but it is only a “chalkboard” in the sense that IKEA furniture is “wood.” At least that is what I’ve been thinking since I painted it about six months ago (here).

Remember those green chalkboards from elementary school? I loved those. I especially liked it when my class job was to de-chalk the erasers which involved just going outside and banging them together so that the dust flew everywhere. There is no comparison between a real slate chalkboard and something painted with chalkboard paint, but I finally figured out a few tricks to make mine work better.

The problem I was having is that whenever I tried to erase a message it doesn’t really erase. See how you can still see my previous message underneath the current one?

Here is what it looks like after I tried to erase (with a dry paper towel):

Yeah not great. Because I’ve had this problem I’ve only changed the message like three times in the six months since I painted it. Frustrated by this I decided to actually spend 15 minutes and figure out what I was doing wrong and amazingly I did figure it out.
Here is out to properly use a chalkboard painted wall:
Prime it with chalk. When you first paint the wall the directions tell you to ‘prime’ it which basically entails rubbing a piece of chalk all over the wall. It seemed weird and pointless but I did it.
Side note: Chalk gets everywhere while doing this and I read somewhere that folding over a piece of painters tape will help catch some of the dust. It actually did help a little bit, but not a ton. 
 
What I did originally was prime the wall with chalk and then I completely wiped it off. That seemed like a reasonable thing to do, but it is the wrong thing to do. Instead of wiping the chalk off completely you just sort of rub it around until it’s smoky looking.
I also thought priming it was something you did once, but in order for it to work properly you should prime it whenever the wall looses this smoky look. If your wall looks smoky like this you can write and erase and write again and it works!
* So chalkboard paint actually does work… if you use it properly! Who knew?
Here is a side by side showing what to do and what not to do:

Also, if you ever do make yourself a chalkboard wall let me be the first to tell you that it is really hard to find chalk. I looked everywhere! I finally found colored chalk a few months ago, but I really wanted white so I kept looking. I finally found some last week so I was happy. I guess the best place would be to go to a teacher supply store or something but whose got time for that? I finally found some at Target which I’d looked at several times before but this time they actually had some in stock.
Also, I copy all my messages straight from the Pinterest ‘quotes’ category because I’m super original.
The end!

I don’t like blinds. Growing up I never had them. My parent’s house is in a neighborhood but for whatever reason we only had curtains in our bedrooms. College was my first experience with blinds of the aluminum variety. I remember I had one friend who would come into my room nearly every evening and chastise me for not closing my blinds. She was appalled that I wasn’t more worried about people seeing me. Then after college we lived together for three years and I got really good at closing and opening blinds at appropriate times (thanks for the life lesson friend, oh and also for teaching me how to load a dishwasher!). Now I realize that blinds are a necessary evil because if you want to have big beautiful windows that let in sunlight during the day, conversely you will need something to block all the people of the world seeing your business at night.

So my blinds situation… notice anything wrong with the picture below?

If you’re keen you may notice the four little eyesores around the window trim. Ugh, those things have been staring at me and mocking me for months!
Back when I first moved in all four windows in the living room had matching blinds. They are cream vinyl blinds from Walmart. See how long the string hangs on the window on the left side of the picture? Yeah, well Bob tends to get tangled up in the cord like once a week, I know, I should hook them up or something because he might strangle himself, but I’m just a terrible pet owner. All that to say Bob has broken several blinds over the past year and even though the replacements are only $4.00 I’m really tired of buying them all the time. So I moved the blinds from over the couch to the front windows in the hopes that those two will last me until I replace them with something better. You may not be able to tell from these pictures but the house next door (behind the couch) is really close to mine. Like six feet away close (good thing they are nice people!) and thankfully there isn’t a window directly across from mine so I haven’t been too concerned with replacing those blinds. There isn’t a good angle to see inside those windows from the street so I don’t worry about it too much.
The Point: I need new blinds and I can’t make a decision about what kind to get. I’ve thought about switching to curtains instead, but here’s the thing about curtains: you have to get the kind with a lining for them to really be opaque and those kind are more expensive. Plus, I’d have to buy two rods and then there is the issue of one set of windows being ideal for curtains (the front windows) but the other set not so much (I think it would look too crowded to have curtains bunched up back behind the couch and faux sofa table). So I’ve ruled out curtains for now. On to the blinds issue: I’m stuck. I am usually a very decisive person, ask me anything I will give you a decision almost immediately, but of all things blinds are what have got my decision-maker stuck.
Oh wait, I actually did buy some and they were awful.
I bought these faux wood vinyl blinds from Target (here) a few months ago and I hated them. So back to the drawing board I went.
I really like the look of bamboo blinds, but the problem with the affordable bamboo blinds is that they are unlined.
Ignore how ugly these rooms are and just look at the blinds. I like the look and texture of them but they are straight up see through and I ain’t got time for see through blinds. That’s like wearing a see through shirt, what is the point?? So my final option is this:
White fabric roman shades… (I don’t want the brown but that is the only color they show with a close up shot) I think I like them. These are from JC Penney and they are $40 a piece (here). What I like about them is that they are a simple clean white 100% cotton (which goes with everything) and they are lined with thermal foam which cuts down on drafts (which would be helpful since I have single pane windows). I’m like 80% sold on them. What do you think? What would you do? Come one people give me some help!
Christmas was almost a month ago and I have yet to share some of the cool stuff I got as gifts. Well, better late than never. Here are some awesome things I got as gifts some of which I asked for (and have blogged about wanting previously) and some were lucky good guesses.
Do you notice what is different in this picture?
I got a white ceramic tortoise shell! Before I had a Singin’ in the Rain poster there. I love that movie and I’ve had the poster for about 10 years, but it was time for a change up (plus, I didn’t want to drill another hole).
But I love the tortoise shell there. I like how the light sort of spot lights it.
The tortoise shell is from Nate Berkus’ Target collection. I blogged about the shell here and here and I’m pretty sure I told my Mom like five times that I wanted it for Christmas so I was very excited that I got it.
My Mom is a major Nate Berkus fan so she also picked up this black and white chevron urn. I love it! I love a good black and white graphic print so it fits my style perfectly. I have a feeling this piece will be traveling all over my house but for now it is in the kitchen.
Here’s another think my Mom picked up for me. It is a sweet little spice jar from Anthropology. The name plate is chalkboard but I lost my chalk so I haven’t written anything on it yet. I love the red lid and how it works perfectly with my other kitchen stuff. I keep matches in it.
My Mom also got me this awesome chain link from the Nate Berkus collection (I told you she was a big fan). I featured it in this post. I don’t know what to do with this really, I just like it. It has moved around the house this past month, but at this moment it is on a side table in my living room.
So those are few of the cool things I got for Christmas. Oh, I also got this:
But I somehow missed taking a picture of it. I’ve wanted this for like two years so I was very excited to get it!
I love decorating but I can’t go out and buy everything I want all the time so Christmas is a good time to ask for stuff like this. One of the major benefits of being unmarried is that my parents still buy me lots of gifts!
Happy Friday!

Adding Whimsy to Your Home

January 17, 2013 — 2 Comments

If I had to describe my design aesthetic it would be “vintage modern with a touch of whimsy.” Quite a mouthful, uh? I’ve talked a lot about thrifting and antiquing but I haven’t talked so much about the ‘whimsy’ aspect. If you know me then you know I’m obsessed with miniatures. It’s uncontrollable. If you show me something tiny I will just start giggling and cooing like I’m insane. My love of whimsical things is almost to that level. What do I mean by whimsical? Let me show you!

Here is my biggest piece of whimsy:

No one needs a Union Jack dresser but I’m love with it. I wanted a dresser to put my TV on (more on dressers as TV stands here and where I got the dresser here). I could have gotten any old dresser off of craigslist, but why not get one with a huge bold statement painted all over it? It is by far the piece that is most noticed and complimented in my house. 
Gallery walls are the perfect place to add in touches of whimsy. My gallery walls (more on them here and here) are a mixture of art, objects, and photos, most of which are pretty normal and pleasing to the eye. But there are two places where I just let my whimsy go wild.

Why yes, that is a little child smoking. It’s a fake cigarette and it’s hilarious. It makes me smile every time I see it. Most people don’t look close enough to see it but those who do are taken aback and that’s my favorite reaction to evoke in people (insert maniacal laughter). 
My Mom bought me this little pink sombrero when she was in Mexico and I love it (hello, it’s miniature!). One day it occurred to me that I should hang it on the wall and so I did. Honorable mention for whimsy goes to Bob in his graduation cap. (Excuse the night pictures… it is always dark when I’m home so I’m working with what I got.)
Kitchen accessories can be fanciful too. I love my matryoshka measuring cups! They look like regular ol’ nesting dolls until you open them up and realize that they are 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, etc. Functional and funny is always a winning combination in my book! (You can buy them here)

I love my Buddha lamp (where I got it here). I guess I shouldn’t laugh at other people’s god, but it’s funny because it’s a lamp. 
Some whimsical things serve no purpose but to make you smile. Like this tiny ceramic paper plane which just sits around all day being adorable. Please note what’s in the picture frame… it is the single funniest thing that has ever been given to me in the history of my life. When my youngest brother was eight he sent this letter to me, he had just learned ‘text’ language, the translation is this: “Hey Sis! Laugh out loud my friend.” Straight up hilarious. 

I think my inordinate amount of Alice in Wonderland stuff may qualify as fanciful material, but you didn’t hear that from me. 

The open shelving in my kitchen is very functional, but I couldn’t help but add this sweet little pig that I DIYed (here). 

So that’s my case for artfully blending in items with a sense of whimsy. Don’t take your home’s style too seriously.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with a round up of some very whimsical and inexpensive (you know how I do) items that will add a touch of whimsy to any home.

I’m a sucker for a cool light fixture, but I’m also not wealthy so my lighting budget is under $50 per light. When I first moved in I changed four out of seven light fixtures in here. (There was a ceiling fan in the dining room. How gross is that? Dust blowin’ all over your food!) I bought three lights at IKEA and one on craigslist (more on those here, here, and here) but there are still three that I want to change so I’m always on the lookout for cool and inexpensive light fixtures. Here is a list of some super cool ones I wish I had space for.

I love this cagey pendant from Urban Outfitters (here) for $49.00. It would look cool in a kitchen or bathroom. My favorite part is that cheeky red cord.
Sometimes you just need a basic light and I love this globe light from Lowe’s for $49.50 (here). Perfect for a hallway or closet.
I think I like this weird acorn/pinecone light from Lowe’s for $39.98 (here). It reminds me of my all time favorite light from IKEA (here) that is hanging in my bedroom (here).
My favorite bloggers just released their own line of light fixtures at Shades of Light. My favorite is this small orb light for $69.95 (here) which is a little over my $50 cap but they have a 10% off code on their blog which brings down the price. All their lighting is under $99 which is awesome!
I’m kind of obsessed with this light. I remember seeing it a while back on CB2.com and thinking it was cool but I couldn’t justify the $149 price tag. Well, it is now on sale for $49.95 (here)! I’m seriously thinking about getting it for my bathroom. It would add the perfect amount of edge that my bathroom desperately needs…. hmmm this may be happening.
I love this IKEA light, not because it super cool but because it is the perfect alternative to a builder’s grade “boob” light. And for only $29.99 (here) it is the perfect light for hallways, closets, and other areas where you want an upgrade without the price tag.
There isn’t a place in my current house for pendants but these are awesome and the price isn’t bad either. They’re West Elm ranging between $6.99 – $34.99 (here).
I don’t know how functional these pendants are but they are wooden and that’s cool. They are West Elm on sale for $34.99 (here). I like them grouped in a cluster like they are in this picture. I can see them in a nook with a reading chair (although I don’t know how you do light clusters… I always see them in magazines but I can’t help thinking, did they run extra wiring over there or what?).
This is another good light that is functional, pretty, and innocuous. IKEA for $29.99 (here).
I love vintage lighting. Some people may worry about wiring but I just worry about the way it looks and get a good smoke detector (just kidding). This light from Era Vintage is only $38 (here).
This light from Target also reminds me of my bedroom light fixture (here). This just happens to be extremely cheap at $15.99 (here).
Are you always on the lookout for a good light fixture like me? Or are you satisfied with your current lights? The three lights I haven’t changed are so simple that they blend in and are unnoticeable. I haven’t rushed to change them for that reason, but now I want to because I found so many good options.

* I fixed the comments! Thanks to those of you that gave me feedback about the problems you were having. Hopefully you are able to comment now if you want and thanks for visiting my blog!

I grew up in a house without lamps. I know that’s a weird statement to make but it’s true. Homes built in the 80s – 90s have overhead lights in each room so there was never a need for lamps. But now that I live in an older home not all my rooms have overhead lighting plus I just really love lamps now (there’s an Anchorman joke in there but I’m too lazy to write it well). Of the eight lamps I have four are from IKEA, two are from Target, and two are from thrift shops. What I love most about lamps is that they make rooms feel more intimate than a harsh overhead light. They also are a great way to create a vignette in any corner. If you have a side table, a lamps, a stack of books, and ceramic animal you have an instant design moment.

Here is a roundup of some cool and inexpensive lamps from around the interwebs.

Vintage lamp from Era for $40. Vintage lamps are pretty easy to find at thrift shops and garage sales. Buying vintage lamps is great because you can find them for pretty cheap and since they are unique they will add interest to any design.

Owl lamp from Target for $33.99. I chose this lamp to typify the ‘animal’ trend in home decor. Owls, birds, elephants… you name it I’ve seen a lamp with it. Animal lamps are a fun way to add personality to a side table or nightstand without being too crazy.

Copper lamp from Walmart for $64.00. This lamp is blowing my mind because it is cool and also because it’s from Walmart… ???

Tall white lamp from Walmart for $48.00. I love how tall this lamp is at 25″ and also because this is the perfect kind of lamp to jazz up the lampshade.

Ada white table lamp from CB2 for $59.95. I love this lamp! In fact, I think it just went on my Christmas list. So mod, so Saarinen, and decently priced too.

Kulla lamp by IKEA for $49.99. I love this lamp! Mostly because I love black lampshades. Just image if you had two of these on a credenza… perfection. Also, hot tip: lamps are always better in pairs.

So are you into lamps or are you happy with overhead lighting only?

New Curtains!

October 25, 2012 — 5 Comments

I had a few minutes so I decided to try and write a quick post.

When I first moved into this house I went to Walmart and bought a curtain rod and ordered curtains off of Target.com for my dining room. I don’t know why I decided to get curtains for in there… it was just one of those things that at the time felt necessary.

The problem is that I only bought two panels so they look pretty anemic in there. That room is so big and with three windows in a row, two panels was just not enough. But you know how it goes, some things just never get done. Well, ten months later and I finally got around to buying more panels. Thankfully, Target.com still has the panels I bought originally (here is the link if you care).

So much better! They look intentional now and so much more important. I don’t know why I waited so long… best $30 I’ve spent in a long time!

And because I am not immune to Target impulse purchases even online I also got this:

Why yes that is a ceramic paper airplane and it may be the definition of ‘impulse purchase’ but I love it. It is really small like 4″ and it was like $6 I think but it’s adorable!

Okay now I’m off again… I should be back on Monday!