MIA

So where the hell have I been?  I know, I know – life just got away from me.  I’ve been refocusing on myself a bit – trying to get healthier, taking care of some actual health stuff too.  Then a crazy girls weekend with my bests from college followed by getting sick for a full week just as I was cutting out caffeine and anything that tasted delicious….

Today’s gonna be a quick recap of updates around Chez Sledge.  Last when I left you, we were working on our office.  Since then we got our new chair from Wayfair:

New Office Chair!

And last weekend Jefe hung up some more art.  Can you believe he took those photos of Fenway himself?  The one of the stadium’s green seats with the single red seat is stunning.

Fenway Artwork

Fenway Artwork - Detail

The room is really coming together; I can’t wait until we can afford that armchair so I finally have my reading nook!  I’m planning to relocate that white chair to the dining room, scoot the shelf unit over and make room in the corner on the left for it, right by the floor lamp and next to the window.

New Office Artwork

Next up is a quick update in the master bedroom.  We finally managed to find a new nightstand for Jefe; it was made of solid wood with a reclaimed style to it.  It was the first time we ordered anything from Joss & Main and I was thrilled with the outcome.  Everything came pre-assembled and well packaged.  From date of order until delivery was less than 2 weeks!

Jefe's New Nightstand

Jefe's New Nightstand 2

We’ve slowly been switching out the furniture in this room and with the addition of the new nightstand, it admittedly looks a little more mismatched than eclectic at the moment.  That’s always the challenge once you move out of matching furniture sets to create a more curated look; it can look like quite the hodge podge of random items until you get close to the finish line.  Here’s a little refresher (with a few updates) of what I’d eventually love the room to look like:

Sledge Bedroom Revamp

If you’re following along on Instagram, you’ll notice that we’ve made some serious progress in our backyard.  But there’s a few more pieces to come so I’ll just leave you with this little before & after until I can give you the full recap.

BEFORE

Backyard - Before

AFTERIMG_6491

Lastly, I finally got around to tackling the lighting situation in our kitchen.  After a quick trip to HomeGoods during my girls’ weekend, I snagged a cheap, neutral drum shade to cover up that horrendous fake-brass boob light.

BEFORE

Kitchen Boob Light

AFTER

Kitchen Drum Shade

I still need to add a piece of fabric to it so you can’t see the ugly fixture it’s hiding underneath, but just by hanging the shade I can feel such a difference in the room.

Kitchen Drum Shade 2

Jefe and I also made a quick trip to Ikea last Saturday and managed to snag the Foto plug-in pendant and I can FINALLY see what I’m cutting while making dinner!  I need to use some white cord cover so it blends in a little more, but I’m really happy with it.

New Pendant Light

I tried hanging it with the ceiling screws included, but it turns out our ancient drywall is a bit crumbly in the ceiling so 3M hooks to the rescue.  I only wish I had tried them before I put giant holes in my ceiling but that’s what spackle is for, am I right?!

Here’s both lights in action:

New Kitchen Lights

All in all, we’ve been making some great progress around the place.  I’m really please with how it’s turning out!

 

Office Space

I’ve been keeping a not so little secret.  I teased it earlier this week but it’s time to confess: we revamped our office… in January.  Jefe had been working from home a lot and apparently had been really discontent with the state of our office.  So on MLK weekend, he sprung on me that he wanted to redo the office.  I hadn’t even gotten to finish the plans I had for the office and we were already redoing it!  Luckily what he wanted was in line with the overall plan I had for the space.  But with all that said, we spent our holiday off work driving all the way to Torrance for a coveted desk we had to have…

As a little refresher, here’s what we were looking at last fall:

New Office Mood Board- Nov 2014

New Office Mood Board- Nov 2014

And thanks to Jefe’s impromptu redecorating request, here’s what we’re looking at:

Updated Office Plan

We had already purchased the rug from Pottery Barn over Christmas thanks to their annual sale and that desk is the major purchase from our day of impromptu shopping.  It required contacting no less than 5 local World Markets to find the one we really wanted (the floor model we saw was just too wobbly and beat up to consider taking it home).  So we drove the 45 minutes to Torrance and got the only one left in the greater Los Angeles area.

During the redecorating discussions I also convinced Jefe to examine and remedy our currently too-short cord situation so that we can shift over the Expedit with the TV to accommodate an armchair by the window and floor lamp; his girlfriend needs a reading nook!  While at World Market we spotted this chair and I’m pretty anxious to add it to the soon-to-be vacated corner.

Charcoal Oscar ChairNow, let’s talk desk chairs.  The day we went shopping, after we had secured the desk, we made a quick stop at Target.  Much to our surprise they had a gorgeous grey linen dining chair with nailhead trim for $85.  DONE.  I was stoked to find something so beautiful within our price range.  I thought it was too good to be true.

Target Camelot Nailhead Dining Chair

 Fast forward two months and our desk is going strong (minus a small nick that I’ll cover DIY solutions for in another post) but our desk chair, not so much.  Apparently you get what you pay for:

Busted - Target Nailhead Dining Chair

Busted - Target Nailhead Dining Chair 3

Busted - Target Nailhead Dining Chair 2

Neither of us have any idea how or when that happened.  Needless to say I insisted on returning it.  Jefe was skeptical as it had been two months and he didn’t have his original receipt.  But I insisted.  One quick trip to Target later and we had our $85 back.  Lesson: never doubt the Target return policy… but be weary of their furniture!

As the chair was DEFINITELY an impulse buy, we hadn’t checked the reviews, which turns out, are quite mixed.  So I did a little digging and after some inspiration from Ellen’s Design Challenge, I decided to give Wayfair a try.

We really had liked the look of the nailhead chair but also knew it had to be sturdier than the Target version, have a slightly larger seat (as the one we returned was admittedly a little small) and have a chair seat height of 19″.  That’s a LOT harder to find than you might think.

But after a full week of research, I landed on this beauty which we are currently awaiting delivery:

Hudson Nailhead Dining Chair

I can’t wait to finally see it in the space.  My only hesitation is that it might be TOO close to the Oscar arm chair we want.  So we’ll just have to wait and see.

For now, we’re still using one of our dining chairs at the desk until the new one arrives.  Not ideal, but it will do for now.

Office Revamp Preview

So what do you think?  I’m really loving the vibe the office is giving off.  A traditional, masculine study with a few feminine touches.

Heat Wave…

For those that don’t know, LA was slammed with an unexpected heat wave this past weekend.  It really feels like summer and has only accelerated my plans to redo our backyard.

Since we moved in last year we haven’t really had a chance to do much with the space but now that the weather has really turned towards summer, I’m raring to go.

Here’s where we currently stand:

Backyard 3 Backyard 2 Backyard 1

Backyard Pano

Most of my plans consist of working with what we’ve got.  I’d like to relocate the trash cans entirely out of the backyard, but that’s not really an option.  So I’m going to scoot them over to the back wall where I feel they’ll be less of an eyesore.  The wall they’re currently in front of only contributes to them sticking out like a sore thumb with that big empty orange wall above them.  As of right now, we have some crawling vines along the targeted back wall and they’ve only been filling in with each week.  I’m hoping in the coming months the vines will really liven up the space.

With the trash cans out of the way, I need to spruce up that giant blank wall.  One of our neighbors added a few free trellis panels they got last year so I’m planning to lean the two of those against the wall.  To anchor them and fill in the space with some visual variety, I’ll add one of the small potted trees in the middle and a bunch of existing potted plants along the base of each.  It will provide a secure foundation for the panels and the plants are varying heights so it will really give that wall some newfound visual interest.

And a really rough mock-up I shared with my landlord to get the A-OK:

Backyard Mock Up

Now with our new rearranged space, we’ll pull out our furniture set and grill for cookouts.  But we can’t just leave it at that, can we?  As most of our cookouts happen later in the day, we’ll need some string lights to brighten up the otherwise dark space.  As there aren’t any outlets, I’m on the hunt for some great solar options.  I really want those beautiful cafe bulb-style lights, but I have yet to find any in great solar options.

And since we’ll be the new place to hang, I’ll obviously need some backyard-BBQ safe dish ware and beverage containers for all of our guests, am I right?  And because I can’t get enough, I’ve decided to go with a blue theme which I think will contrast nicely with all the burnt orange painted stucco of the backyard walls.

Backyard Revamp - Mood Board

solar lights  |  lantern  |  string lights  |  goblet  |  silverware holder

beverage dispenser  |  dish ware  |  beverage bucket  |  table runner

chair pad  |  furniture  |  grill

Office Redesign

Last week I gave you a little preview of our office and today I’d thought I’d share the full plan and a little DIY!

For starters, gaining this space when we moved was a huge stress reliever.  Jefe works from home a fair amount so he needs a quiet space to take those 6am calls with his East Coast colleagues.  Our last place, although it boasted an open floor plan, left a lot to be desired if you needed your own, private space.  It made Jefe’s working from home and my keeping up with yoga near impossible because let’s be honest – I love him, but I’d rather he not stare when I’m going from downward dog into ANY other pose.

So – new room means new space to decorate.  As the space will primarily be for him despite my push to make it a craft room, I decided to focus the design around the few items he’s already got that he wants displayed… and I’d prefer they’re not sitting in our living room.  So thanks to shelves and shelves of bobbleheads and mini helmets, I’m aiming for an old world study with splashes of vintage sports paraphernalia.

The room is still a serious work in progress, but here’s where we stand:

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Current Office View #2

Current Office View #3

Current Office View #4

And where I hope to be:
Mood Board for our new office space - Nov 2014

Last weekend we picked up a Kallax at Ikea to replace that sad and lonely bookshelf along the wall with our diplomas.  It will give us space to finally set up our scanner, spread out our books (pulling a few from the full shelves in the living room) and accessorize a bit.  Hoping to have that built before Jefe gets home from a work trip on Friday!

While flea marketing a few weeks ago, Jefe also mentioned he’d be open to a new desk so I’ve got my eye on a few contenders; I’d still like something large enough that we each can have our own area, so I’m thinking an old dining table.  It will give a vintage feel while still providing a long, open workspace.

The rest of the mood board is fairly self-explanatory (and I’m getting a little wordy), so time for the promised DIY!

When we first moved and established this as the office, Jefe mentioned getting a dry erase board.  But why buy a boring, sterile looking thing from Office Depot when I can whip one up in a flash?  I saw this and knew it’d be a cinch….

Dry Erase Board

source

Famous last words.  I knew you could use dry erase markers on glass, so I immediately thought of just buying a huge frame with an edge we liked.  Then I’d slip some paper or fabric behind the glass to give it some added character.

Flash forward to his birthday, I got the genius idea to paint behind the glass with Benjamin Moore’s new Fenway Collection.  Nothing but Green Monster Green for my Jefe.  Well, apparently they don’t sell a New England baseball team inspired paint collection west of the Mississippi.  So after many phone calls to 20+ paint stores, I found one that called BMoore’s headquarters, got the color formula, and custom created it for me.  For those that would love to avoid this hassle, here’s the color formula:

Benjamin Moore Green Monster Color Formula

Benjamin Moore Green Monster

The rest was, in fact, fairly easy.  I picked up some matte board that had a bit of texture to it and just slapped a few even coats of the paint on it.  I could have painted directly on the back side of the glass, but wanted the option to be able to swap it out if Jefe ever got tired of the green.

Benjamin Moore Green Monster

Benjamin Moore Green Monster

Once dry, I slipped the matte board inside the frame and voila!  Instant, custom dry erase board.

Dry Erase Board Preview

I considered painting “Fenway Park” in white like it is on the scoreboard of the ACTUAL Green Monster, but second guessed myself.  Luckily, Jefe likes it better this way and we can always add it later if he changes his mind.

Green Monster

And for those still reading, I have some exciting news!  Jefe has taken it upon himself to prep a blog post for you guys!  Can’t wait to share it with you all in the coming weeks!

The Island Archipelago

For those that have been following along on social media, you may have seen this little preview:

Instagram - Kitchen Islands

Jefe and I recently moved and although the pro’s of our new place greatly outweigh the con’s, there were definitely some concessions we made with the new apartment.  One of the top ones is the kitchen and its counterspace (or lack there of).  I have to admit that I was spoiled for 3 years when I had this at my disposal:

Swall Kitchen

And then we moved to our last place, where I thought our counter space was minute.

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But I had no idea how small it could be until we got to our new place:

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That’s it!  Those two slivers on either side of the sink are it.  The cart next to the stove is the previous tenant’s.  The saving grace, however, is that there is plenty of empty space under those two windows.  The previous tenant had that little cafe table there, but as we’ll be using our dining table through that doorway to the right for eating, I decided to add wall to wall counter space with a combination of a few islands.

Plan A) to use our existing Forhoja and pickup up a Norden that would almost span the entire space and then add the small Stenstorp to give us some counter surface next to the oven.  (No, this post was not sponsored by Ikea, but if they’re looking to throw something my way, this new apartment dweller wouldn’t be sorry….)

Forhoja

Norden

Small Stenstorp

The Burbank Ikea, however, had other ideas.  The two closest locations no longer carry the Norden and if we wanted it, we’d have to drive an hour plus OR have it shipped.  With it weighing in over 100 lbs, those shipping costs were not really in the budget.

Plan B) Sell our Forhoja, still purchase the small Stenstorp for next to the oven, and purchase 2 more standard Stenstorp islands.

Stenstorp

Although this option is slightly pricier than the initial plan A (which is why we didn’t go with it in the first place despite it being the more aesthetically pleasing), it will end up costing less than had we had the Norden shipped.  And all of it was in stock!

Fast forward a few days, I start assembling them and I read the directions that the butcher block tops need to be treated with Behandla mineral oil (note – it must be the food safe kind, not the stain) no less than 3 times a week for the first few months.  Nothing is ever easy.  As we didn’t know this upon purchase, I had to make a trip BACK to Ikea for the mineral oil.  Luckily, I actually was thinking ahead and chatted up an Ikea employee in the kitchen department.  She advised that you really only need to do one, REALLY great coat the first time, let it sit overnight and then every couple of months as needed.

Seeing as these islands were purchased to hold all of our smaller appliances such as our microwave and coffee maker, it was music to my ears that I wouldn’t have to move them 3+ times a week just to brush on some oil.

So for the last two weeks, the islands have been assembled, but the tops covered with tea towels until I was actually home long enough to tackle the job.

Finally last weekend I found enough time to hunker down and get it done.  First I had to empty the shelves I had already stocked to avoid coating everything in sawdust.

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(Apologies for all the lame iPhone photos – after spending the last few weeks packing and unpacking, the last thing I felt like doing was searching through piles of stuff for my camera and tripod.)

Per the Ikea employee’s suggestions, I started with a fine 220 sanding block on the surfaces as well as the smaller Stenstorp’s shelves.  I wiped any dust and splinters off the top.  As I had the time, I figured I’d crank out two coats in one night just for the added protection so I cracked open the Behandla and painted one coat over each island top with a foam brush.  Per the can’s instructions, I let sit for 15 minutes, wiped with a cloth, and then let the counters dry for 3 hours.

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This first application really helped me figure out the right consistency for how thick my coats should be.  After I let them dry, I decided to do the one heavy coat I was recommended.  I did another round of sanding and then painted on the oil nice and thick and let it sit overnight.  Come morning, I very gently used an even finer 320 sanding block to clean off the excess layer.

With each application, the tops have gotten slightly darker and smoother.  So just for added measure (and as we had no plans for Sunday morning), I did one final thin coat that morning.  I let it sit for 15 minutes, wiped with the cloth and let them dry for another 2-4 hours.

So far, I’m really pleased with the end result.  I don’t feel like I’ll need to oil them for a few months, but will keep an eye on them for now.

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We still have our Forhoja as we realized that it’s been nice to not cover up half of our new counters with a microwave.  In doing so we discovered that *technically* we have enough room for one more Stenstorp under the windows.

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It will mean 3 lined up end to end, giving us 93 continuous inches of counter space.  Although it’s not totally necessary, I feel like it’s what the space needs to not feel cramped and we’d sell the Forhoja to help offset our costs.

It’s admittedly a lot of islands for one space, but aesthetically they’re in line with our style and I know that should we need one or two in a future home, they will transition well.  They’re also some of the most popular kitchen carts sold by Ikea so I’m confident we could resell them on Craigslist should we find that we don’t need them in said future home.

So project #1 of the new apartment down.  Many more to go.

Hiatus & a Project!

So I inadvertently have been taking a blogging hiatus.  Work has been nuts and as of my last post, Jefe and I were traveling.  A LOT.

Since then, I’ve felt less than inspired as I grew so tired of seeing the same stuff online recycled over and over and felt the pressure that if something wasn’t “Pinterest Perfect” that there was little point in blogging. But I do love writing.  And designing – be it for myself or my limited group of family and friends who are crazy enough to unleash me on their own homes.

With that all said, I have a new life update that will include a LOT of projects in the future that I will do my best to write about and recap in semi-real time: Jefe and I moved!  Now, don’t get too excited dear East Coasters, we haven’t moved that far (yet).  We’re only went a mile east and 2 blocks north of our last apartment.

You may ask – why bother if it’s really that close in the same hood?  #1 = square footage.  We gained over 300 extra square feet back by upgrading to a 2 bedroom.  #2 – PARKING.  I finally have a garage space to call my very own!  No more fighting for a spot and worrying about early morning moves to avoid street cleaning.

There’s also a million other reasons like the 3 walk-in closets, a backyard, etc.  But I’ll let the pictures do the talking.  And note these are all 100% before pictures as we’re still unpacking boxes and I’m not quite ready to share the place in it’s current state.  I also have HUNDREDS of ideas of how to make this place a true stunner that we can call home.

Bedroom: It was painted grey by the previous owner.  And we would have loved to keep it.  But our landlord is pretty strict about paint and we didn’t want to inherit the financial responsibility of required professional painters down the line.  So white it will be (But we’re keeping the navy blackout curtains.  Nap time just got 1,000 times better.)

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Second bedroom: Our future office.  I’m already worried this is going to turn in to a bobblehead museum, but one challenge at a time Sledge.

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Bathroom: So this may be the one down side – we’re downgrading from 1.5 pure white bathrooms to a single with pink tile. Luckily, a non-clear shower curtain can cover 75% of it.

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Hallway: Closets. Closets.  Closets.  I think I just heard an angel sing.  The grand total is 3 walk-in closets and 2 linen closets, one of which we’ve already turned in to a pantry.

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Kitchen: What it lacks in counter space it definitely makes up for in storage space.  And new appliances are a definite perk I was afraid we weren’t going to find again.  And although I’d prefer stainless steel, I honestly don’t mind the white, especially with what I have in mind.  Winner winner, chicken dinner.

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Living room: All the space we could need and then some.  I’ll just need to create some sort of fake mantel/shelf getup for the Christmas stockings.

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Dining room:  No longer will we have to cram into a tiny space between our dresser in the living room, the bedroom door and the sliding balcony door.  We shall have a whole room for eating and entertaining.  And it’s got a walk-in closet.  I am officially spoiled.

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Backyard: The landlord told us no one ever uses it and we’re welcome to set up a grill, furniture, etc.  My head is bursting with ideas, I can hardly stand it.  I’m already envisioning dining al fresco, Parenthood-style.

Parenthood Outdoor Dining

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So there you have it friends, the new space.  We moved in two weeks and although we still have a ways to go, its already starting to feel like home.

I’ll be back soon with ideas and plans for each of the rooms; I can’t wait to get started!  But for now, I’ll leave you with a preview of the first real project in the new place:

Instagram - Kitchen Islands

Share Your Heart

Last night I ducked out of the office (before it was even dark!) and headed over to West Elm for one of their DIY workshops.  This particular event was Valentine’s Day themed – crafting paper hearts to be sent to St. Jude’s Hospital where they will string them all together in an attempt to create the world’s largest paper chain!  And for each heart we created, West Elm donated $1 to the hospital.

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The actual crafting was free and they provided all of the supplies.  While there, I met some great people including a group of visual merchandisers for Macy’s, West Elm’s store manager and CJ, a stylist who runs their Instagram, @westelmla.

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There were also some great-looking refreshments, but as I’m still sticking hard core to my Weight Watchers plan (down 3 lbs so far!), I opted to just capture it on film.

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So let the crafting begin.  For my first heart, I knew I wanted it to be purple-themed in honor of my childhood friend Jill and all the kids like her at St. Jude’s.  I started out with a giant sheet of purple tissue paper.  I started doing a little ripping for a “rough edge” and needless to say, the finished project is not my best work, but I think the kiddies will like a heart option that isn’t pink or red.

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Next up, I snagged the roll of gold tape about as fast as I could and some letters for a little Jefe + Sledge action (that’s Geoff & Mallory for those new to the blog).  Of course, I opted for stripes.

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And lastly, I came across this ribbon at the bottom of a supplies bucket and knew exactly what to do with it – a little Kate Spade inspiration for a sickeningly sweet, picture perfect pink heart.

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So that about rounds out the night.  Here’s a little hint at what this store’s portion of the paper heart chain will look like strung up in St. Jude’s.

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If you want to catch some of the other hearts created, check out West Elm LA’s Instagram feed or search for their hashtag: #shareyourhearts.