Category Archives: Dining Room

The Difference Drapes Make


We have two big picture windows above our front door that let great light into the front of the house.

The previous homeowners, in their attempt to have beige infused in every aspect of this house, dressed the windows with three gauze window scarfs draped around them.  Can you guess the colors they chose?  Yup – light beige, beige, and dark beige/brown.

I really wish I had a before picture, but I don’t because they immediately had to come down when we moved in.  I’d rather have nothing on the windows than look at more beige each morning when I came down the steps.  So in lieu of the real deal, here is sort of what it looked like, to give you a before:

brown draped gauze scarf curtain

And the After. I am loving these curtain panels I found on, they are called Echo Positano Window Panel.

Echo Positano Window Panel

When you have to buy panels separately, the cost can add up.  So I found these on sale for $29.99 each.  Then used a 10% off coupon found on  Then started at for another 2% cash back- it all adds up!

Here is a close up of the material.  The light colors really help lighten up the space and let the sun in nicely.  The old window scarfs were draped in front of the actual window, which gets a lot of light.  So by the time we took them down, the part actually covering the window was very faded by the sun.  Since this are a lighter color, hopefully the eventual fade won’t be so noticeable, but it is something one should consider.

Echo® Positano Window Panel

Here is another dramatic drape makeover, in the dining room.  This time I have the before:

dining room

The elephants were a strange choice, given they weren’t beige and didn’t really go with the rest of the décor.


But I have to say, these cornices were so well crafted.  They were heavy and quality materials were used.  They must have cost hundreds of dollars to have made and hung.  I almost felt bad taking them down.  Except that I didn’t.   I did put them in storage though, I have a hunch they’ll be making an appearance on craigslist one of these days…

So down came the $500 custom window treatments, and up went my $50 for four panels from IKEA.  It was whole room instant makeover once these were hung.  The white made the whole room instantly brighter.  I love them.

White curtain panels from IKEA


Showing Off Photo Books


I spend a lot (a lot) of time making Shutterfly photo books for my family.  If you’ve never made one, you can’t truly appreciate how much work they are.  And even though Shutterfly lets you stack coupon upon coupon up on their site, they can get pricey too.

The last thing I want to do is let a newly made book collect dust on the shelf.  So to display my masterpieces, I bought some dish racks holders (is there an official name for these?) to hang them on the walls in an organized fashion.  I picked these racks up at the thrift store for $7 each and spray painted them white.  I’ve seen them cheaper, but I was willing to pay a little more because they had a matched set.

It is very important to make sure your photo books will fit in the slots before you buy them!  I typically make 8×11 books, and this size definitely does not fit all racks.


I obviously painted my racks white, because I thought this went best with the room.  But I think it would be neat to paint them fun colors too.  Like a hot pink or turquoise.  Also, as my collection grows, I think it will be fun to have different styles of racks hanging, just to make it more interesting.

This idea makes it very easy to change out as I create new books.


Craigslist Upcycle – Beachy Chair


I’m in the process of getting quotes to redo my master bath.  One contractor came in and asked what I wanted.  “Think beachy,” I said… “bead board, white/light colors.”  “You can’t have that,” he said “you have the wrong style house for that look” (read in the soup Nazi voice, which was exactly what he sounded like).

Look, I know I live in Naperville, IL – no where near a beach.  And I know soon it will be minus zero degree weather – not exactly beach weather.  And I know I live in a track home built in the 90’s – not a quaint Victorian or Cape Cod home.  But this is my style and I’m sticking to it.  And since I don’t live at the beach, isn’t that all the more reason to design my home in a way that I can at least imagine I’m there?  Obviously this guy didn’t get the job.

On that note, my quest to “beachize” my home continues.  I found this jem on Craigslist for $15.  What a steal!  The bones were perfect, just a few scrapes on the wood and the cushion material was Blah.


This project was the first time I had reupholstered a chair, and it was the perfect one to start with because lines were all very straight and easy to replace.  No piping or sewing was necessary, no fabric on the arms, I didn’t replace the single tuft button and the seat padding didn’t need to be replaced.  Now I have a little more confidence under my belt to go bigger, but still don’t think I’m ready for a wing back chair redo… one day.

Few coats of primer, paint and poly on the frame and some beachy fabric and voila! New chair.

Front viewBack viewSide view

Yes, I think this chair go perfectly in my traditional, boring, builder grade, Midwestern home.  Soon to match my beachy bath!

Before and After

The inner contemporary spirit of this dining set wanted to come out!


I know there are people out there that appreciate the beautiful grain of natural wood and love the look of a fine antique.  I am not one of them.  So when I saw this 100+ old dining set on Craigslist come up for sale, I thought – paint it! 

Even though it was in rough shape, I thought the bones were beautiful.  It sort of had a contemporary inner spirit that to me was dying to come out!

I paid $150 for the hutch, table and 6 chairs.  I spent about another $200 on paint, supplies, hardware and fabric. 

The before:


The after:

I got the fabric from, which was my first time purchasing from the site. I definitely saved some money by buying online verses at the fabric store. But there were a few issues with delivery, as the material I ordered went out of stock before I received it. Apparently they are in the middle of switching inventory systems, so hopefully this won’t be an issue in the future.

Now I need to find the perfect rug for underneath it and make matching curtains!