Browsing Category: interior design

7 Holiday Gift Ideas Under $35

Got a vintage or home interiors lover to buy for this year? These 7 ideas won’t break the bank and might make the perfect gift for the guy or gal on your list!

Plant Stand – $32 at the Gooseberry Vintage Etsy shop
I especially crave some green in my life during the gray winter months. This cool plant stand brightens any space and makes a great excuse to bring a little outside in.
Metal Plant Stand Table Sky Blue 1970s Indoor/Outdoor Table

Brass Animal Figurine – $24 at the JunkFiendModern Etsy shop
A great vintage item that’s both cool and pretty cute. A deer like this guy is one of the most common brass figurines.
Brass Deer, Vintage Brass Deer, Hollywood Regency Deer, Mid-Century Modern Brass Animal, Brass Stag, Brass Buck

Geometric Wall Decor – $30 at Modcloth
I love these for adding a modern, sculptural element to a space.

Lowball Glasses – $22.55 at the littlecleoathome Etsy shop
Vintage barware is a great gift for any occasion, but even better during the holiday entertaining season. Give these for Christmas and enjoy them on New Year’s Eve!
Frosted Atomic Starburst Lowball Tumblers, glassware, barware, Dominion Glass, gold trim, set of 4

Terrarium – $38 at the PinkSerrisa Etsy shop
I love these small terrariums as a whimsical, organic decor item that could fit almost anywhere in the home or office. (Okay, so these exceed the $35 max by just a tiny bit, but I think the extra three buck is worth it for someone you love to get his/her own miniature, table-top jungle.)
Lichen Terrarium // Forest // Teardrop Vase // Home and Living // Green Gift Ideas // Home Decor// Indoor Garden

1 Year Subscription to Architectural Digest – $20 at Architectural Digest
You can’t beat Architectural Digest for decorating inspiration. A lover of interior design, art, or architecture will get many hours’ enjoyment from this fantastic publication.

Patterned Rug – $30 at Ikea
I’ve been crushing on this girly, graphic floral rug at Ikea for a while now. Please, someone buy it so I can live vicariously through your shopping experience. It’s available online!
ÅKERKULLA Rug, low pile IKEA The thick pile dampens sound and provides a soft surface to walk on.

Room Tour: TV Room


The second bedroom in our house, which we use as a TV room, started out as one of the strangest rooms I’ve ever been in. There were lime green and orange walls, a room divider/”art” installation with hanging metal panels (you may remember me complaining about the damage this did to our floors), a built-on desk, and a few other very special touches I was only too happy to tear out/paint over:

Before our reno. Lime green room with wood and metal room divider.

Before our redo. Lime green and orange walls.

Before our redo. Built on desk and shelving.


We updated the bedroom when we first moved in by painting the walls, trim, crazy door, and removing the room divider. In short, we made it livable.

Mid point in the redo. Salmon walls and chevron rug.


Broyhill Brasilia two door chest. Brasilia gentleman's chest.

The truth of the matter, though, is that I was never too crazy about what was going on in this room. It felt like a storage space for a lot of the furniture I didn’t like enough to put where people would see it. But since our one bathroom is a Jack-and-Jill accessible through this room, people did see it, whether I liked it or not.

Finally, I decided to paint. When I decided to paint, Justin suggested we go ahead and refinish the floors while we were at it. In the end, it turned into a totally new space (even though many of the furniture and decor items are the same or came from other places in the house). I’m just crazy for the finished product, so without further ado…


Cream walls, mid-century furniture, symmetrical mirrors.

Mid-century tufted bench, pink Kroehler chair, starburst mirror, pink, yellow, and blue Oriental rug.
Vintage wood frame couch – estate sale
Mid-century tufted bench – Vintage shop
Pink Mid-century Kroehler chair – Craigslist
Mid-century side table (at left) – family hand-me-down

Broyhill Brasilia two-door chest. Black leather couch with wooden frame.

Broyhill Brasilia two-door chest (gentleman's chest).
Broyhill Brasilia two-door chest – Craigslist

Broyhill Brasilia chest with colorful fringed runner.

Adrian Pearsall jacks side table
Adrian Pearsall jacks side table – flea market

Mid century serving tray.
Vintage serving tray – Yard sale

I didn’t intend for it to become the inspiration for this room, but coincidentally it now matches perfectly.

Pink, yellow, and blue vintage Oriental rug
Vintage Oriental rug – Yard sale

This is the other item that really ties the room together. I already had the pink Kroehler chair, but I was planning to reupholster it down the line. Then this rug walked into my life, and together they are just perfection.

Vintage Oriental/Persian rug.

Hope you like the transformation as much as I do! I had tons of fun putting this room together, and I think it shows.

Crazy for Woven Wall Tapestries

Of all the exciting and inspiring words in home decor, tapestry isn’t really one of them. It sounds kind of old, drab, formal. Add wall to the front of it, and the mind (mine, at least) goes in one of two directions: I’m either picturing 1) some kind of Renaissance nudes in heavy embroidery, or 2) a creepy 70s-era owl that looks basically like a piece of shag carpeting.

The wall tapestries I’m crushing on, however, are neither stuffy nor psychedelic. They come in styles from boho to retro to minimalist and are all perfectly chic, modern, and fun.

Here are a couple of my favs from the skilled artisans over at Etsy.

Bohemian Tapestry / Modern Wall Hanging / Woven Tapestry / Gypsy Fringe / Orange Pink Blue Green Purple / Rustic Textile / Home Décor
(from the LemonCucullu Etsy shop)

Macrame Wall Hanging, Forest
(from the HollyMuellerHome Etsy shop)

Evolving Textures Handmade woven hanging wall tapestry
(from the JessCoit Etsy shop)

Cotton Ball "Little James" Decorative wall hanging woven hand / Hand Woven Wall Tapestry / textiles-Wool-Fiber
(from the PinballFairy Etsy shop)

I love the idea of wall tapestries as 3D art that adds texture, color, and dimension to a room. Plus, it’s not very often that average Josephines like myself get to own original artwork, so the thought of knowing a tapestry was unique and handmade is appealing to me.

As a disclaimer–just because the internet makes me paranoid from time to time–I should add (and hopefully this is apparent) that I claim no credit for any of the above lovely photos. That belongs to the respective Etsy shop owners.

What I do claim credit for is alerting you to the fact that you have been unfairly judging wall tapestries on the basis of their truly boring name. Now that you’re enlightened, my job here is done.

TV Room Redo Part 2: Walls Painted

Back in the olden days of home reno TV–before there was 24/7 programming on HGTV and whatnot–many of you may have been fellow fans of TLC’s Trading Spaces. It was a kind of terrifying show, really, where a couple’s neighbors worked with a designer, a short time frame, and a small budget to do a top-to-bottom redo of one room in the couple’s home. The thing I remember from that show (other than the frequently wacky designs that came out of it) was that a lot of participants seemed to live in overwhelming neutral homes, and so the neighbors were trying to cure them of their fear of color. (Fun fact: fear of color, like pretty much every fear in existence, has its own term–chromophobia or chromatophobia.)

Anyway, all of this is to say that sometimes I’ve thought I might have the opposite fear. (Leukophobia, by the way, is the fear of white. Because clearly you were wondering). No longer, though, because now I have my first intentionally white room. The paint is on, and our TV room is now a creamy shade of off-white.


My main motivation to pick a lighter shade was that the TV room has only one window, and it’s on the side of the house that really doesn’t get much natural light. Lighter paint doesn’t always make for a brighter space, but in this case it was the right move.

Picking a shade of white, however, proved pretty tricky. I wanted a warmer white, but there’s only so warm you can get before you’re actually looking at a pink or a yellow. Also, silly as it might sound, I am considerably swayed by the name of the color. In this case, I really wanted it to work out with Pantone’s White Asparagus, but it was just a little too stark. I ended up going with a Valspar shade called Lovely Bluff. It doesn’t have quite the same ring, but I give them credit for the alliteration.

No curtains or art is up or carpet is down, but we have managed to move furniture in and get back to living in this room (much to the dogs’ relief). We love it!

Crazy for Brass Pineapples

I’m not a great romantic, but I have experienced love at first sight once in my life. I know what you’re thinking, but it actually was not first time I set eyes on my future-husband as he stood in front of a box of Krispy Kremes.

Rather, it was a few weeks ago when I was cruising Instagram and came upon a specimen of rare and exotic beauty: a brass pineapple:
(from the JudysJunktion Etsy shop)

Ever since, I simply can’t get these pineapples out of my head. I’m admiring them on Etsy and Pinterest, watching them on eBay–in short, stalking them to the best of my web browsing abilities. Though I only just discovered them, brass pineapples are a fairly common vintage decor item. They typically function as either a candle holder or a jar and come in a glorious array of sizes, styles, and materials:
(from thewhitepepper Etsy shop)

(from Merchant Archive)
(from the SadRosetta Etsy shop)

But while they are relatively easy to find, they are not–unfortunately–cheap to buy. Small ones tend to start in the $75-100 range and go up quickly from there. For now, I’m resigned to loving these pineapples from afar, but one day, in the everlasting words of Wayne Campbell:

Custom Framing on the Cheap

There’s a familiar cycle of discussion in my house where Justin and I decide we’re going “splurge” on some item or improvement, look into buying it or having it done, and then decide there’s probably no way we could sleep at night knowing we’d forked over X amount on Y thing.

And that’s exactly what happened when we wanted to frame this signed, numbered print by mid-century artist Howard Bradford that we bought a few months ago.
Howard Bradford landscape print
At a total size of 26″x40″, we figured it’s a large print–and the nicest art we’ve ever owned–so with framing and matting it could be a great statement piece for somewhere in the house. Not only that, but we had a strategy: a simple, my minimalist frame and basic mat, something that would be budget conscious and put the emphasis on the print itself. AND, we had a COUPON.

So, one Friday night, we took our vision, our coupon, and the mailing tube with our print down to Michael’s to have all our dreams dashed. At the framing counter, a whole series of complications arose that are not worth recounting except to say that we were ultimately quoted a few prices ranging from $350 to over $1000. For that amount, I can feed three hungry chihuahuas for probably something like five years, including puppy ice cream on all of their birthdays, so the answer was pretty obviously a “no.”

The solution we came up with was to find a frame, have a custom mat cut separately, and assemble the thing ourselves. Finding a reasonably priced frame for a 26″x40″ print proved kind of difficult in its own right, though. Most frames large enough were for movie posters–which are 27″x40″–and were plastic and kind of cheap looking. Eventually I started looking not for a frame but for pre-framed art that I could tear apart and take the frame, and soon after I found just what I needed on clearance at Gordman’s for $19. The first thing I did was remove the paper from the back so I could access the print itself:
It was a basic black frame, which didn’t go with our Howard Bradford print at all, so I hauled out the paint to give it a make over. I didn’t want to risk trying to remove a piece of glass that large, so I taped paper over the glass to protect it and applied the primer:
Spray painting a picture frame Prime and spray paint to use pre framed art for custom framing
The paper turned out to be a huge mistake. The primer was too heavy and ended up causing some of the paper to get stuck to the underside of the frame, so I spend another 15 minutes using a razor blade to shave off small strips of paint and paper:
When it came time to spray paint, Justin suggested a different approach. We used a piece of poster board to shield the glass and moved it around the frame as we sprayed. Since spray paint is a much lighter application anyway, it worked great. If I were to do this project again, I would definitely save myself some time and use a spray primer. The gold spray paint was left over from the deer head in the living room:
Gold metallic Krylon spray paint on a large picture frame

We did return to Michael’s to get a mat cut in an off-white color. This took about a day and cost $43. It fit perfectly with the frame and print:
Close up of gold spray painted picture frame
After that, it was just the routine process of assembling and hanging. So for a grand total of $62, we achieved our goal of getting a simple, budget-friendly frame that complements the print.

And I’m sleeping just fine.
Dark green bedroom, neutral curtains, printed pillows, framed art above bed

Room Tour: Kitchen


You may think on first glance that the old kitchen color here bears some resemblance to our current living room, but you’re going to have to trust me when I say all greens are not created equal. Our living room color is painted in “Extended Olive Branch,” making it the color of world peace and harmony. The kitchen color could better be described as “Aging Celery,” a light green with brown sponge painting that did not exactly whet the appetite:
Green kitchen with wood cabinets and stone tile
The kitchen also continued the trend of interesting lighting choices: on one side of the room, track lighting with bright blue shades and on the other a kind of sad-looking ceiling fan with a hummingbird pull, presumably to make it look less sad.
Green kitchen with sponge painting before pass through was installed


Despite some of the design choices, there were good things about our kitchen. It’s a nice size, the footprint works well, and it was recently updated, so we were able to achieve a big impact with pretty low-budget updates.

Changes included painting the walls, trim, and cabinets, replacing the cabinet hardware, installing new lighting and a new back splash, and of course the opening up the pass-through, which made an equally big difference in this space as it did in the living room.

The longest-lasting and most labor-intensive project in the kitchen was definitely the back splash. First the old tile got knocked out:
Knocking out back splash tile
During the course of the demo, we uncovered some of the kitchen’s past looks. Behind the tile there was wallpaper from two different eras. There was large area of yellow floral wallpaper over the stove:
Uncovered vintage wallpaper in kitchen
There were also a few other smaller areas that covered with this green geometric pattern. Here’s a close-up of both designs:
Vintage yellow and brown floral wallpaper Vintage green geometric wallpaper
There are lots of times I wish I could peek in on my house during different periods in time just to see what it looked like, so finding this wallpaper got my imagination going. After all the tile and plaster was removed, we were left with just the lath showing:
Bare lath after back splash was removed
And actually, we lived with it like this for a while. It wasn’t bad in a raw, industrial kind of way, though of course the new back splash tile is way better.


Gray and white cabinets with granite counter tops and glass mosaic back splash
The back splash came from Lowe’s, and I snagged the hardware on eBay.
Kitchen pass through, Sears and Roebuck vintage atomic barstools
Vintage atomic bar stools by Sears and Roebuck – Craigslist
Blue, gray and brown glass mosaic tile back splash
The tile kind of makes the whole room, in my opinion.
Neutral glass mosaic back splash tile from Lowe's

Planned updates:

One of our intentions when adding the pass-through was to create a breakfast bar that would allow for extra seating close to the table. That plan is still in place, but there are a few items in front of it in the reno queue, so it may be a year or more down the line.

Dream updates:

We bought our house with the short term in mind and promised ourselves not to made costly updates if they were unnecessary or purely for cosmetic reasons. That doesn’t mean a girl can’t or doesn’t dream about what she might do if a million dollars did casually fall out of the cushions of some couch. I’m a simple girl, though, and my kitchen wish list is pretty simple, too:

  • New flooring – I’m really not a fan of the the multi-color stone tile. It’s not that it’s that bad, but it’s just about the last thing I ever would have chosen. I would have opted for a cork that looks similar to wood, or maybe a rectangular tile in a nice herringbone pattern.
  • Stackable washer/dryer in the pantry – Our pantry has oddly configured storage that is really only being used to house tools, dog stuff, and other miscellaneous items that could easily be moved into the basement.
    Our current laundry set-up is a small washer and dryer in the basement–small because they are the only units that can fit down our 27″-wide staircase. I would LOVE to have plumbing run to the pantry and give myself a roomy main floor laundry space. Maybe it would even cut down on the size of my laundry piles? Indeed, a girl can dream.

Room Tour: Living/Dining Room

For whatever reason, we only took one before picture of our living room area:Green living room before updates
My guess is that compared to some of the other weird things going on around the house, there didn’t seem like a whole lot to see here. Just your basic grass green walls with gold sponge painting (it’s hard to see in the photo, but trust me–it was there). Then, of course, the table lamp in the middle of the floor completes the look. The only oddity in the room was a built-on shelf in the corner behind the front door, which you can see a little bit in this photo:
Arched door way in a bungalow
These were in several rooms, and we called them built-ons rather than built-ins for the simple reason that they were just kind of hanging off the walls.

The biggest change we made in this room was to add a pass-through to the kitchen. This really helps the space feel larger and brighter.
Kitchen pass through, stainless steel pendant light
Justin and his dad installed the pass-through (un-installed the wall?) in one of those quintessential men-bonding-with-powertools kind of situations. Our walls are plaster, which means the demo was a two-step process involving 1) knocking out the plaster and 2) cutting through the lath, a set of narrow wooden strips nailed horizontally behind the plaster. There was lots of dust and a few shallow flesh wounds, but in the end they did a great job, and the pass-through is one of my favorite changes in the whole house.

Other changes consisted of tearing down the built-on, painting the walls, sanding and painting all the trim, cutting out and patching bubbles in the plaster, and installing a new stainless steel pendant light over the dining area. All throughout this process, we failed to take a single picture. I recall a conversation taking place a few times that went something like:

“Wow, you should really be taking pictures of this.”
“Yeah, I know.”

And here we are today.

After + Furniture:

Green living room with platform couch, Noguchi style table
A white dog adds a touch of elegance to any room.
Green living room with platform couch, Noguchi style table, Buckstaff chairs

1960s platform couch reupholstered in brown tweed
1960s platform couch (reupholstered) – Craigslist
Red velvet mid century Buckstaff chairs, Noguchi style table, Broyhill Brasilia commode side table
Vintage Buckstaff chairs – yard sale
Broyhill Brasilia side table/commode – flea market
Reproduction Noguchi coffee table – Craigslist
Vintage rug – yard sale
Mid century credenza
1965 credenza – Craigslist
Bookcase – Ikea
Mid century chrome and glass dining table, stainless steel pendant light
Vintage glass and chrome dining table – flea market
Rug (not vintage but still fabulous) – yard sale
1964 RCA Victrola Record Player Console
1964 RCA Victrola stereo/record console (it works!) – yard sale
We actually found an advertisement from a March 1965 Minnesota newspaper showing what this particular console went for back in the day:

Planned updates:

No large-scale plans for the living room area. Until recently, I’d been on a mad hunt for a new set of rugs (the rug now in our bedroom was previously in front of the couch), but that ended about three weeks ago when I found both rugs pictured at the same yard sale. Now, my main goal is to finally get some stuff up on the walls. That, and throw more parties.