Archive for June, 2010

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. Just the thought of it and I’m practically at the beach watching fireworks and smelling the smoke from grills everywhere turning out burgers and dogs. A day filled with sun, friends, food and fun!!! Below are some fun and festive tips for decorating on the 4th!

My niece Olivia, ready for the 4th!

Tablecloths, don’t we all at least have a white one lying around the house? Throw on a red or blue runner (or a star-spangled one) to make it festive for the 4th! Napkin rings and glasses are other simple ways to add the holiday feel to your table. And, don’t forget… You can always spruce up a plain table with some festive food. A flag made from mini fruit tarts, why not? Strawberry and blueberry fruit skewers, a perfect and easy snack…just use your imagination!

Packs of small flags are available everywhere this time of year. Pick up few and place them in planters and around the house!


A  4thof July celebration just wouldn’t be complete without fireworks! Setting out small buckets of sparklers (in festive containers) is a great way to have them accessible while also showing your spirit!


 Featured on Centsational Girl’s Stars and Stripes Party


Read Full Post »

Route One in Connecticut, between Branford and Stonington, is the ideal stomping ground for lovers of flea markets, antique shops and tag sales.  Last weekend I was able to head out on my own for a few hours of uninterrupted browsing.

You can find just about anything at these places, so it is important to go with a few goal items in mind.

I knew before I even got out of my station wagon that I wanted blue canning jars, a ceramic owl and empty painting frames.  Normally, I’d be on the hunt for furniture, but I am finding that it is usually over priced if you are buying it in a shop.  There are still good deals to be had at Tag/Garage sales though.

So, blue jars, an owl and frames?  Those are a bit strange, right?

My first stop was at the Clinton Village Antique & Collectible Flea Market, in Clinton, Connecticut.  Clinton is a beautiful shoreline town with a sizeable Sunday flea market.  I was able to score this beautiful frame for $15.

The reason why I was looking for empty frames was inspired by Nester Smith of The Nesting Place in her Summerize Your Home series.  She grouped together empty frames that she had painted along her stairwell.

I envision recreating a look similar to this in our house, maybe in our bedroom or in a bathroom.  One frame down, dozen or so, to go.

I love the look of antique Mason jars but I especially love the blue ones.  At the Clinton Antique Center, just a few miles past the Clinton Flea Market, I was able to hunt down six of these beauties in various shapes and sizes.  Here they are on my newly finished shabby chic nightstand.

I am torn with what to do with my growing collection of blue jars.  They are great for displaying but I saw a post on Kara Paslay Designs where she turned her mason jar collection into a lighting fixture.  She even explains how to create the same look with her very detailed tutorial here.  I would love to do something similar with a mix of blue, green and white jars.

And finally, owls.  What could I possibly want with a ceramic owl?  The world of design blogs is filled with some of the most creative people and last week I happened to stop by Beth’s site, The Everyday Life of Bellom, to see her ceramic owl painting project.  She took a perfectly creepy looking owl that she found at Goodwill and turned it into a gorgeous accessory with a little white spray paint.

Unfortunately, I didn’t come across an owl in my shopping adventure but there is always next time.

I was able to score a pair of carved wooden candle sticks for $1 though!


Check back later this week as Shona gets us ready to celebrate the 4th of July holiday in Redefining Décor Style.

Read Full Post »

Chances are if you ask me my plans any night between May and September, my answer will include “sitting on the patio”. There is nothing that makes me happier than sitting outside with family and friends. Whether it’s just waking up and having my coffee, sitting in the sun, or at night by a fire drinking sangria…it’s just comfortable, beautiful, and most importantly easy!

Part of my love for patios and outdoor spaces are their personalities! Just like any room in a home, if it is loved and lived in it will have this feeling. For me, the key is that they are used just as much as any indoor space this time of year and that adds so much to their beauty.

Living in the Northeast, we have to take advantage of these few nice months we get and be outdoors! Check out some outdoor living spaces that I love and what makes them work!

What I love about this patio is the mixture of fabrics.  We aren’t looking at a matchy-match set.  We’ve got stripes, in fun, summery colors along with a neutral love seat.  Obviously, one of the best parts about summer furniture is being able to swap out the cushions year to year, but for right now, these colors really work.  The rose-covered trellis adds a natural barrier to keep prying neighbors eyes averted but is also my favorite feature.

On those hot summer nights, you really want to make sure you and your guests are hydrated and what better why to accomplish that goal then by having a stylish tray of wine goblets and a fresh pitcher of ice-cold water (or sangria) at the ready.  Finished off with a small vase of hydrangea and you’ve got a set up pretty enough to keep out all of the time.

Potted plants (and their containers) are another way to add dimension and interest to this outside area. These galvanized steel planters are masculine and add a definite contrast to the brick (well, stamped concrete) patio and all the green surrounding it.

Here the focus is on the accessories…whether  it is a glass lantern hung from an umbrella or a simple bird house, it can add instant ambiance!

How could you not be excited about heading to your summer patio if you were heading down this gorgeous walkway?  The lanterns and stone walls mixed with the overflowing cat mint create an english garden feel right here in New England.

Secret outside seating area behind the beautifully manicured bushes.  This is where you want to have those wonderfully naughty conversations with your best friends.

After a day at the beach or  spent in your garden, what better way to relax than a family dinner and a nap!


If you want your home to have a special piece of green furniture, created with your needs in mind or need a room staging consultation, contact us by email at RedefiningDecor[at]gmail.com for more information.

Read Full Post »

Remember back in the beginning, when I said that I had exciting contributors lined up for us?  Well, I am honored to introduce you to our first!      


I am so grateful to have Shona here with me at Redefining Décor because of her amazing sense of style and her contagious laughter.  I dare you to spend time with this woman and not have a great time.   

Shona is a Jill of All Trades and chances are, if you want something done around your home, Shona could tackle and conquer it with ease.  If you read my post, Shabby Chic, then you know I needed help staging my mini army of end tables in order to bring you gorgeous pictures!  With my station wagon packed to the gills with furniture, I headed over to Shona’s house.  (Some day we’ll have to convince her to give us a full tour of her gorgeous home that we would feature here, of course, for now though, you will have to be content with the little snipets we captured during the shoot.)       

What sets one home apart from the rest can be as simple as getting the most out of your accessories, specifically, what you’ve already got (because you know I loooove recycling).  Whether you have a collection of items that you wish to display or are looking to create a subtle theme throughout your rooms, it is as easy as playing around with different items and being flexible in their placement.  When Shona was setting up the pictures for our staging photo shoot, she flew around her house, grabbing items from other rooms.  What works in your bedroom, might also work in your living room.     

And now, without further ado, let’s take a look Shona’s staging.      

We started off with my blank tables…    



With the pedestal table, Shona played around with light blues and greens and with the addition of the starfish, she created a very subtle beach theme.  Paired with her gorgeous walls painted in Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore, the whole set up just sings.  Since Shona’s house is a cape by the water it works seamlessly, but you don’t have to have a beach house to successfully utilize seaside elements in your home.      

Simple colors and minimal accessories.

With enough room left over for your cup of tea or glass of wine!

For my other end table, Shona thought we should switch it up by heading to different room.  Her dinning room walls are painted Montgomery White from Benjamin Moore and they perfectly complimented her styling ideas.  One of the best ideas to come out of our photo shoot was switching the table around.  When I was in the process of refinishing and distressing this little table, I really wasn’t sure which way you would display it.  Thankfully, I distressed it all the way around because I think it actually looks better with the shelves facing out.     


When I look at these two pictures, the black picture frame really just pops.  I love how Shona was able to pick up the same colors as the distressed edges and how it keeps the overall look of the piece from being too muted and soft.  The other elements that really work here are Shona’s collection of multi-colored vases with simple, single stem flowers.  As you can see, she swapped out the dark blue vase for a clear, triangle-shaped one.  Either way works beautifully.  The basket, featured on the bottom shelf in both pictures, serves as a great storage container.  You can keep whatever little things you might need but don’t necessarily want everyone to see.  Stylish and functional.   

I’ve been keeping a secret from you and it is this gorgeous pair of antique claw footed tables.  I scored these bad boys during bulk pick up week and when I tell you they stunk to high heaven, that still might be an understatement.    


They were faded, cracked, and just a generally unloved pair.  Someone had even put stickers all over the top of them.  With a little bit of sand paper, wood filler, some paint and some more paint (did I mention how much they smelled?!) they were back to their old, gorgeous selves.      

Classic End Tables!

While Shona was in the process of styling them as end tables, you could tell that she had an idea or two brewing.  These pieces are much more versatile then we originally thought.  (This is why it is great to have Shona around!)  Obviously, they work as a classic end tables but how about as coffee table?     

For apartment dwellers out there with limited space, how fabulous would this be?  Instant cottage chic!    

Coffee Table!



The next thing I knew, I was carrying those same end tables upstairs to Shona’s guest room, where guess what?  They also work as night stands.  Shona set them up with a pair of picture frames,  Ikea lanterns and a couple of other accent pieces and voila!  Balanced against her walls, which are painted Big Bend Beige by Benjamin Moore, the white of the bed and its linens and the end tables are perfect.  So perfect in fact, that I’m pretty sure they’ve found their new home.    

Night stands!


It is all about flexibility and creativity!  As you can see below, Shona styled each table with perfectly balanced pops of color, neutrals and unique knick knacks.  Each look is interesting without being cluttered.  Gorgeous…!  


Shona will now be a frequent contributor here at Redefining Décor, so if there is a room or a piece of furniture you’d like to see Shona style & stage, please let us know!     

– Kate & Shona  

If you want your home to have a special piece of green furniture, created with your needs in mind or need a room staging consultation, contact us by email at RedefiningDecor[at]gmail.com for information.    

 We’d love to hear your comments!

Read Full Post »

My city does a yearly bulk garbage pickup.  All of my neighbors go through their homes and throw away all sorts of cool stuff.  It is another great way to score free furniture and without the hassle of Craigslist strangers.  Of course, you can’t be afraid of looking a little crazy and driving around with half an eye on the road and half an eye on the curb.

This year I scored a bunch of pieces.  Two chairs and four end tables.  I pulled up behind a pick up truck loaded to the top with scrap metal, in my day job, business casual clothes, and surprised the heck out of two gritty guys.  I guess it is good we weren’t looking for the same stuff.

Cute, right?

It took me a while to get an idea of what I wanted to do with these.  Sometimes I let a piece hang around for a bit to get a good sense of it.  I was inspired by the furniture frequently posted at Whiteberry Reinvented.  I also had a left over can of a chalky white paint with blue/green undertones from a house painting job that never happened.

I painted both pieces with an oil based primer and then three coats of the latex paint.  These were the first pieces I had painted that did not have a glossy finish.  There was something about the matte finish that almost gave them an incomplete feel until I started distressing the edges.  Distressing is when you take sandpaper to a piece and rough it up a bit.  It is so much fun and instantly gives your furniture an antique look.

These are the pieces after distressing.  I made a beginners mistake and forgot to take pictures of everything in between painting and distressing, so you’ll have to imagine what they looked like.

I bet you are wondering though, why am I looking at these end tables clearly set up in a house but without any accessories?  Well, it is because I have a special treat for all of you that I will be sharing this week that will absolutely clear up why you are looking at this two gorgeous pieces without any styling.  I’ll give you a hint though, she’s a petite lady with an amazing laugh.


If you want your home to have a special piece of green furniture, created with your needs in mind, contact me by email at RedefiningDecor[at]gmail.com for information.

Read Full Post »

During the process of re-doing the Green Dressers, I thought to myself, how cool it would be to create pieces that would work in a nursery (sorry, Mom, not for us).  What if every new baby born in the United States (approximately 4 million), was treated to well made, low or no chemical, recycled furniture and accessories from individual craftsmen and not from half a world away?  Think about the impact that would have on landfills, our wallets and our economy.  How great would that be? Your children would grow up with the subtle lesson, evidenced right in their own bedrooms, that recycling is important.

{This is me stepping off the hippie soapbox.}

More often than not most furniture made 20-40 years ago was just constructed better than the inexpensive  particle board furniture commercially available now (yes, I’m looking right at you, Ikea).  A recycled piece you lovingly recreate with new knobs and a fresh coat of safe, low-VOC paint now could literally be with your kid until they finally move out of your house at age 26.

Well, as luck would have it, someone inquired about nursery furniture.  So hold onto your hats, we are about to embark on the first of what will hopefully be a continuing series here at Redefining Décor: Creating Earth Friendly Spaces in Your Home.


I did a quick and dirty search to see what kind of goodies were ripe for makeovers on my local Craigslist and right off the bat, I found an excellent contender.

Listed as part of a set for $35

Eight drawers, inexpensive and wide enough to be converted into a changing table/dresser hybrid.  You could go a number of different directions; shabby chic, beachy, high-end gloss, etc…And for a nursery, I found tons of great vintgage knobs.  How cute would these be?

Cast Iron Bird Door Knobs

Imagine these painted to match the cast iron birdies!

Not sure what I mean when I say changing table/dresser hybrid, well, feast your eyes on this:

A standard dresser converted into a changing table

By using a standard dresser and designating half of it as space for a changing pad, you save yourself having to buy a dedicated changing table.   As soon as your precious wee ones are out of diapers, just remove the changing pad and voila, a perfectly functional dresser.

For those traditionalists out there who want a separate piece, I did find other options for changing tables out there (and keep in mind, I limited my search to the New Haven County Craigslist, who knows what might be available in your area):

For $100, a little pricey, if you ask me, but you could totally make it work.

Straight up changing table available for $20

Only spending $20 makes it a whole lost easier to spend some money on quality (read: safe, low-VOC) paints and polyurethane.  You then have a piece that is unique to you.

(Ed. Note- Due the constantly changing safety regulations concerning cribs, I do recommend buying those new and checking to make sure they fit all national safety guidelines.)

Etsy Accessories!

If you haven’t heard of Etsy, then you should head over there right now.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

Etsy is a virtual marketplace of homemade and vintage goods.  If there is something that you think you want, you could probably find it on Etsy.

When it is your time to put together a nursery space, Etsy is an amazing resource.  Nothing makes me feel quite as warm and fuzzy as supporting a person pursuing their creativity in their own way.

Here were a few items that would be excellent additions to any kids room and all from Etsy vendors!

Butterfly Mobile Kit

Organic Cotton Bamboo Terry Fitted Crib Sheets

Decals are a great way to accessorize the walls of your nursery without being permanently committed. These are typically made of vinyl and are easy to put up and just as easy to remove.  Great for all of my renters out there too.

Available for purchase from http://www.etsy.com/listing/48867767/kids-nursery-vinyl-wall-sticker-decal?ref=v1_other_1

Kids Nursery Vinyl Wall Sticker

Kids Grow Chart (kid not included).

Worried about children’s toys possibly containing harmful chemicals like lead?  Put that fear to rest with handmade stuffed toys from Etsy dealers like this one below.  I actually went to high school with her, too!

Stuffed Fish, not the kind to eat though

For more information on any of them items presented above, click on its image.

Check back soon for Part 2 where we will cover how to find room inspiration, linens and color.


If you want your home to have a special piece of green furniture, created with your needs in mind, contact me by email at RedefiningDecor[at]gmail.com for information.

Read Full Post »

In one of my crazier Craigslist Hunter moments, I found a woman offering two free dressers located about a half hour away from where I work.  She had some very strict rules for pick up though.  You had to come that day, they would be outside at the end of her driveway and you had to move them yourself, with no help from her.  I emailed her immediately and sight unseen, headed out to her house on my hour-long lunch break to go get them.

I arrived at her house and quickly accessed the situation:

Great potential but how the heck was I going to get them into the station wagon and home by myself?   Did I mention that there was rain in the forecast for the afternoon/evening so leaving them outside in the elements was not an option?  Thankfully, I always keep some rope in my car for situations just like this.  I removed all of the drawers from both and put the frames into the car.  Then I put the drawers in wherever they would fit.  There was not enough space to close the station wagon’s back door, so with the rope I had, I tied it down and prayed that they would not fall out on the highway.   One frantic call to my husband Justin later, we decided the best thing for me to do would be to drive back to my work parking garage, remove one dresser frame so that I would be able to close and lock the station wagon and hide the dresser behind my car while I went back to work for the afternoon.  This way they would be protected from the rain storm that did eventually come through and I didn’t have to worry about draining the car battery by leaving the back door open.  For a pair of free dressers, they sure were causing me a fair amount of stress at this point.  Eventually they made it to my garage where the magic happens.

There were some fun details about these two guys that I was able to appreciate once I had gotten them home.  The little swirly design and all of the original wood handles were both exciting discoveries.

As with any piece of furniture I get, it goes through the Kate process:  wipe down and de-spider, sand them down, and evaluate for any necessary fixes (broken drawers, mold, etc.).  I knew pretty early on that I wanted to do these guys in green and also keep them “green” in the products I used to paint them.  I really love Valspar’s Low-Voc paint and decided to use that.

I knew that I also wanted them to have a very lux, high gloss finish to give them that fancy-pants look (and also complete wipe-ability should they end up nursery furniture in the land of messy moments).  To achieve that look, I opted for the semi-gloss Valspar paint and two very thin coats of water based polyurethane.

The final step was cute drawer liner paper.  This part was a disaster.  Seriously, it was!  Did you know how very few companies produce gorgeous liner paper that is available at regular retail stores?  Very few.  If you are out there and looking for a million dollar idea, you should go into designer draw liner.  I’d be customer #1.   I went to good, old Target and found this fun dot pattern (which kind of matches the top of this blog.  How is that for synergy!) In the future though, I’d really like to see more options commercially available.

A few tips from the dresser project:

  • Remove the drawer pulls and stick them into a cardboard box with their screws.  This will enable you to paint them and let them dry without smudging the paint.
  • Remove all of the drawers when you paint them.
  • Try and paint in long and even brush strokes.  On bigger pieces (dressers & bookcases), it really does make a huge difference if you take your time and try to keep everything even and smooth.
  • When it comes time to do the liner paper, go slow!  This is not a project to undertake if you are in a rush.  You want to avoid any air bubbles (something that I’ve got in a few of my drawers).


If you want your home to have a special piece of green furniture, created with your needs in mind, contact me by email at RedefiningDecor[at]gmail.com for information.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: