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

My Funny Valentine

Valentine’s Day.  A day full of love, romance and scattered rose petals or a made-up holiday perpetuated and capitalized by the greeting card and flower industries?  I admittedly fall somewhere in the middle.  I think it’s a crock to make such a big deal about February 14th.  I do, however, appreciate the sentiment behind it so whether you choose 2/14 or another one of the 364 days of the year, it’s nice to take some time out of your day to show your significant other a little extra love.

Somehow I literally forgot to post last year’s budget-friendly Valentine’s Day recap so here we are.  With 12 days left to make your plans, here’s how Jefe and I celebrated last year in hopes of giving you a little inspiration.

To start, for the last 4 years, Jefe and I both agreed “we’re not doing anything.”  And every year without fail, we’ve both done something for each other.  My gifts have varied, but Jefe has been pretty standard with beautiful flowers (thank you 1-800-Flowers!)  He’s not a romantic flowers kind of guy so it’s always a pleasant surprise when they show up, always at the office.

Flowers at the office

Flowers' ride home

Don’t throw away the box!  Repackage them for the trip home and no spills!

Last year, I was a little strapped for cash so I had to get creative and turned to Pinterest for budget-friendly inspiration.  There were thousands of options, some cute, others VERY tacky, but the things that caught my eye the most – food.  They say the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right?  Since VDay last year was on a Friday and Jefe would have just gotten home from a trip to NYC, I decided I’d make him his favorite for dinner – steak.

Dinner was a simple enough gesture though that I felt I needed to kick it up a notch.  So dessert was to be my special surprise.  Thanks to my Pinterest inspiration and Jefe’s unfailing love of root beer floats, I came up with this adorable little tag:

Valentine Float My Boat

Valentine Float My Boat 2

Then I attached the tag to a 4-pack of gourmet root beer (the vanilla ice cream patiently waited in the freezer.)

Valentine Float Root Beer

But that still didn’t seem to be enough so I whipped up a batch of brownies (Betty Crocker to the rescue!), pulled out a heart-shaped cookie cutter and went to town.  A treats box with gift tag later, and I had a great little set up.  To top it off, I grabbed one of our drinking straws, cut out a red heart from construction paper with 2 slits and added it to the straw.

Valentine Heart Shaped Brownies

With the places set though, the table looked a little bare (notice the vast void of blackness at the top of the picture).

VDay Place Setting 1

So I scrambled around the house for a few accessories to jazz up the space: flowers swiped from the bookshelf, votive candle holders stolen from another shelf, and I pulled out our fancy candle sticks.

VDay Place Setting 2

VDay Place Setting 3

I stood there staring, wishing I had a non-holiday table runner to really finish it off.  That was when I remembered Sherry of Young House Love fame (R.I.P. tear….) had previously used scarves to finish off a few spaces.  Next thing you know, I was rummaging around for my red infinity scarf and voila!

VDay Place Setting 4

All in I think I spent about $30 between supplies from Michael’s (gift tags, string, treat boxes and heart cookie cutter) and the grocery store (brownie mix, root beer and ice cream).  So you don’t need to get too fancy just to spread some extra love.  It was a bit cheesy, but I didn’t care and Jefe certainly appreciated the effort (and the brownie/root beer float mega dessert he had later that night!)

VDay Place Setting 5

Head on over to my Pinterest page to see some additional ideas that caught my eye for your own VDay inspiration!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year friends!  I hope everyone had a restful and relaxing holiday.  I’m still nursing my second cold in the last 3 weeks so it’s been slow going on the restart here at Chez Sledge.

What is it about the last 2 Decembers that they just flew by?  Another holiday season, I blinked, and next thing you know Jefe and I are hauling our sad, dry skeleton of a Christmas tree to the curb for recycling. We had all sorts of plans this year, most of which we accomplished.  It did, however, leave little time for blogging.  So here’s a little recap of the Holidays with Sledge:

Black Friday – Jefe and I continued our tradition for the 5th year in a row of braving the masses at Disneyland.  It truly is the happiest place on Earth and best place to start getting in to the holiday spirit.  Everything is covered in lights, ornaments and general festiveness.  This year we decided to try out a few new restaurants as we’ve done all of the rides so many times.

After watching CHEF, we were craving beignets and heard raves about those shaped like a Mickey at Cafe Orleans.  Our lunch was delicious, especially Jefe’s Croque Monsieur, but we were left so full that there was no room for beignets.  Sad Mickey :-(.

For dinner we trekked over to California Adventure to Carthay Circle.  It looked like something you’d find in Beverly Hills in the 1920’s.  Just a stunning combination of art deco meets spanish mission.  And the food was good enough to rival any trendy restaurant in Weho.

Disneyland - Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Disneyland - Jefe & Sledge

 

The next day we piled in the car and headed to our favorite tree lot to pick this year’s winning Noble Fir.  After little deliberation, we decided on the fullest pine tree I have ever tried to decorate.  He stood about 7 feet tall.  We debated whether we could have gone taller, but the 8-9 foot Firs were not looking nearly as Noble.

Chauvet Farms Tree Stand - Culver City

The Noblest of Firs

We invited Jefe’s parents over that night to help decorate and quickly realized that next year, we can definitely go with a taller tree thanks to our 9-foot high ceilings, but I’m still more than pleased with this year’s selection.

Holiday Coffee Spread

 

A holiday coffee spread to invigorate for tree decorating!

So the next 24 hours we spent decking the halls.  The only new addition to this year’s festive artillery was a $2.99 traditional star tree topper from Ikea and a few ornaments from Disneyland.

Morning Coffee Done Right

Hines Ward Ornament!

 

Xmas Tree 2014

Stockings

DSCN1910

DSCN1930

Nutcrackers!

 

More Nutcrackers

 

Nutcrackers!!!

Holiday Cards

 

Little Village

The following weekend Jefe and I jetted off to New York to celebrate my birthday and decorate tree #2, Jefe’s brothers.  We did it last year and it was so fun to be able to continue the tradition this year.  I also managed to drag Jefe to the ballet for the first time to see “The Nutcracker” at Lincoln Center, did some holiday sight-seeing, did an awesome #museumhack tour of the Met and caught up with my high school friend Beth!

The Met

NY Public Library Lions

Rockefeller Tree

The ballet!

SM #1 and #2

This brings us to mid-December already!  After 5 months of living in our new place, we finally decided to host a housewarming / holiday / birthday party.  Things were a little harried prepping for guests so I didn’t manage to get any photos but I can say that Trader Joe’s can make a mean appetizer.  You really can fool anyone in to thinking something was homemade when it’s fresh out of the oven and artfully displayed on a Santa platter.  I’m pretty sure 95% of the food we offered came from TJ’s.  Seriously, it’s the best way to host – no cooking, just artful arrangements.

Falalala

Falalala sign courtesy of Oh Joy!’s line at Target

By the following week, Jefe and I were packing our bags to head back east.  Within the span of 7 days, we slept in 5 beds and traveled via UBER, plane, train and mom’s automobile.  We made merry in Los Angeles, Lancaster and Tyrone, PA and New York City.  It was quite the whirlwind.

Family Cousins

Cousins reunion in Tyrone, PA

Jefe & I Xmas Eve 2014

Jefe & I on Christmas Eve

Casey & his Elf

My brother Casey and his “elf on a shelf” (our nephew Raylen)

And here’s a little tour of my mom’s place all decked out.  I get the Christmas love honestly…

Mom's Dining Room

No fireplace means stockings go on the chairs 😀

Mom's - Dining Room

I love me a good tartan tablecloth!

Mirror on display

I love this old window-turned-mirror.  Wouldn’t be Xmas without some lit garland though.

Mom's Xmas Tree 2014

Excuse the lack of focus.  This was prior to 9am and I hadn’t had ANY coffee yet….

And some of Christmas in NY (Jefe was so bummed he missed the Met #museumhack tour, we went again!):

The Met - Again!

30 Rock

Time Warner Center

And then I caught the plague which had me laid up on my mother’s couch for the next 5 days.  New Years Eve was spent with my family, one good friend who braved my contagion thanks to a hearty dose of antibiotics, and a piping hot mug of green tea.  No champe this year for the Champe Champ.

Then Jefe and I headed back to LA where we undecked the halls and dragged our poor tree out to the curb.  Nothing makes me sadder than seeing Christmas trees on the side of the road.  Their time is so short….

Packing Up

Leftover Candy Canes

We have a lot of candy canes to get through in January….

Boy and his toys

Jefe got distracted from un-decorating by a Christmas present…

And to wrap it all up, one final shot of our beautiful tree of 2014:

Christmas Tree 2014

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:

DSCN1860

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!

Sledge is Back… Again!

For those readers still sticking with me, thank you!  I know it’s been awhile; the day job has taken a bit out of me the last few months but the flip side is all of those hours came with a long-awaited promotion!

But I’ve missed all of you and my little design projects.  So there’s definitely going to be more to come in the next few weeks, especially with Christmas right around the corner!

For now though, here are a few little teasers:

Fall Dining TableAnother quick fall update to our dining area.  I saw that great footed bowl at Target a few months, but couldn’t bring myself to spend the $40 on it.  Flash forward to 2 weeks ago and it was $10.95 in the clearance section.  Bam!  New bowl for my gourds.  Jefe knew he couldn’t fight it.  Home decor on clearance is my Achilles heel.

 

Fall Flower ArrangementTrader Joe’s has been selling some knockout fall bouquets the last two months.  For $8 I can get two of them that are overflowing, pop them in my glass pitcher and I’ve got a beautiful, full fall arrangement.  The yellow candles are also from the Target clearance section for $1.99 for a set of 2.  I may have grabbed more than one pack…

I’ve got a fun DIY dry erase board coming your way that is perfect for any Boston Red Sox fan in your life (yes, that is Green Monster Green for those wondering).  Jefe got this as one of his birthday presents this year.  Instructions to follow (along with our plans for the very unfinished office).

Dry Erase Board Preview

 

And last but not least, a little preview to my first holiday project of the season:

West Elm Design Love Fest DIY Garland

Will have more for you guys next week!