Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy Housiversay!

Happy housiversary to us! One year ago today, we closed on our home! <3

And a day later that biotch Irene hit and flooded all of NJ.

Then only four short {HA} months later, we were able to move in on Christmas Eve. Oh, how time flies. :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

See Ya Later, Alligator!

Its finally that gloooorious time of year...when the hubby and I head south to North Carolina for a week long vacation.  We go there every year and stay at my parent's house.  They live 45 minutes-ish {depending on summer traffic} north of Myrtle Beach, SC in a gorgeous development.  They have golf for hubby, a pool overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway for me...and the beach is 3 miles away.

I am really looking forward to quality family time, reading, sun bathing, trying to catch a glimpse of the alligator{s} inhabiting my parent's golf course and relaxing walks through the community.  We get so much enjoyment out of strolling around, drooling over the dreamy southern homes.  Maybe I'll even "house crash" my parent's abode for your viewing pleasure! ;) 

I'll miss you all...see ya later, alligator! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chevron Runner.

How is it almost September?!?!  I cannot believe that fall is right around the corner…although I’m not complaining.  Don’t get me wrong.  I L-O-V-E the warm weather that spring and summer bring, but I have a soft spot in my heart for fall.  The crisp air, the beautiful scenery, the cinnamon/apple smells, football and festive times to come just make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

And with all those lovely fall feelings, come super cute fall decorations. :)  Soon I’ll be swapping out some of my every day d├ęcor for something more autumn inspired.  With that in mind, I figured I should probably show you a DIY runner that has lived on my dresser-turned-console for quite some time now. 

As much as I love my console, I always pictured it with a pop of chevron fabric draped over it {note the fabric sample laying on it...ha}.  

By the time I got around to ordering the correct yardage of the Annette Tatum Bohemian Chevron Teal fabric, it was sold out.  {#wah}  Then one glorious day I received an email it was back in stock.  I placed my order ASAP and before I knew it, I had a pretty lil’ something to break up all the blue of my console table.

{Please disregard the fact that there is literally nothing on this table.  I haven’t found the right stuff for it yet.  Yes, I’m very aware that I take forever to accessorize things.  My bad, and more on that in another post.}

I really, reallyyyyy wish I was better at taking pictures and used something other than my iPhone to take them.  It would make the color of this console look SO much better than it does here. :(  Oh well!

Anyone else super excited for fall’s arrival this year?!?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Move Over West Elm!

I apologize to any of you who follow me on Instagram {retroranchreno} because you’re probably all “been there, done that” with the subject of this post, but forgive me.  I couldn’t restrain myself from taking so many pictures.  It was just so much prettier than it used to be!!

Yup, that’s right…I’m talking about the bench for the end of our bed. 

I was very excited when I first laid eyes on this guy, well over a year ago.  The outdated fabric and beat up legs didn’t do it for me…but the size and price of this thing could not be beat.  For $20, I was sold!!  

And then along with most of my Craigslist finds, this poor thing was banished to live in the basement {first at our in-laws and then in our actual basement} just waiting patiently until I got around to transforming it.

The bench would probably be waiting another year if my mom didn’t convince me it was time to get it done.  During one of their trips north, we pulled it out of the darkness and got to measuring.  After figuring out how much fabric we needed, we went shopping.  Of course, nothing I saw was “it”, so I started looking online.  Once I laid eyes on the Islander Ikat Silver fabric from, I knew I didn’t need to look any further.  I submitted my order and impatiently waited for it to arrive.  In the meantime, my mom and I tackled the “fun” part of the recovering process {couch…sarcasm…cough}.  We ripped out all the old staples and removed the old buttons and fabric.  

Lucky for us, these staples came out MUCH easier than when we recovered my dining room chairs.  Phew!

After that it was time to find some new legs for the piece.  I could have easily sanded and re-stained the original ones, but they weren’t the style I was going for.  

Instead of thick, block-like legs, I wanted curvy, romantic ones…a la West Elm’s Essex Printed Bench.  During one of our numerous trips to Home Depot, I was able to pick these pretty things up for under $10 a piece.  I wasn’t thrilled to spend more money on the bench makeover, but I knew adding fun legs would put this project over the top for me.

At least I already owned the stain and sealer I needed for them.

Finally my fabric arrived and we got to recovering!!  After some thoughtful placement {taking pattern and direction into account}, sewing and button covering…I had myself a brand new bench!  

Or should I say Perny has a new bed.  I’m pretty sure he thinks this we completed this project just so he has another place to lay. ;)

Here is the breakdown of what I spent to make over the bench:

-Ugly CL’ed Bench - $20.00
-3 Yards of Fabric {with plenty left over to make pillows or something} - $44.94
-Legs - $36.00
-(2) Button Covering Kits - $3.94
-Upholstery Needle - $4.99
-Stain and Sealer - $0 {already owned}
-Thread - $0 {already owned}
Grand Total = $109.87

Okay, so this wasn’t the cheapest makeover, but it was way more affordable than if I bought the West Elm version brand new!  Their similar bench is priced between $299 and $349, plus a $30 delivery surcharge.  So in that case, I saved myself $219 – 269 on this project.  And while my bench isn't as perfect or professional, I still consider this project a major success! :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Still Lovin' Our Neighbors!

Back in April, I posted a project that had absolutely nothing to do with our home improvement, but instead, focused on our neighbor’s house. :)  They were in serious need of an exterior paint job, and we {including my parents} were ready and willing to help out!  It took just one sunny Saturday, and the six of us managed to double-coat their house and give it a much-needed facelift!  The results were fantastic, but the transformation didn’t end that day.  I had mentioned that they were going to add an accent color {in the cranberry family} to their front door, and they were also getting some new, black shutters.  A few of you commented that you’d love to see their place with everything completed, and now that it’s complete {okay, okay…it was done probably a month and a half ago} I am happy to oblige!

Here it was after we painted back in April...

...and here it is today!  Quite the charmer, don’t you think? :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


A couple weeks ago, the hubby and I purchased some mulch so we could continue this process that we started earlier this year {and here too}. All was fine and dandy in the world of our new mulch beds until we had some torrential, and I mean torrential, downpours in our area recently.  We were actually thrilled for the rain {can anyone say country-wide drought??}, but the bed above our rock wall was not. 

While the rain was pouring down, we were eagerly peering out all the windows of our home.  It was a rare chance for us to truly see the pitch of our property and where the water runs, because, well…there were streams of water going everywhere!!  Luckily, everything, including our newly hardscaped backyard, was sloped perfectly and things were draining away from our home and continuing downhill in our neighborhood.

All was well in the world of water drainage, except for the aforementioned bed.  That poor thing took quite the beating because our backyard looks like this. :(

See all that dirt?  Well mix it with heavy rain and it turned into a mud river that poured over the poor mulch bed.  Yup, right through it, down the rock wall, and then down the all it’s dirty, brown glory.  Shockingly, our mulch did its job and pretty much stayed put, but that muddy river poured over it in several places leaving ugly streaks.

The solution to this issue?  {Obvious answer} having a backyard that is actual grass and NOT dirt!!  Unfortunately, we know achieving a grassy backyard doesn’t happen overnight.  The hubs has been working hard at getting sections to start growing, and so far, it’s working out as well as can be expected, especially when you consider the obnoxiously warm, extremely dry summer Jersey is experiencing.  {For proof, see the brighter green grass sprouting at the bottom of the pic.}  But until we have a serious barrier of grass on our slight hill, that mud will continue to flow…so we turned to an option already used in our front yard…sod!  Ahhhh, the glorious insta-lawn!  

While we aren’t bagillionaires and cannot afford to sod our entire backyard, we can certainly afford a couple strips of it!  So we {hubby} strategically placed those strips above our rock wall bed, in hopes that it would take root and provide some much needed protection during rain storms.  

It didn’t hurt that we had enough left over to sod some areas around our new patio too! :)  {These photos were not taken on the same day as the ones above...note, the overcast-ness.  Bleh.}

Since putting the strips down, we've had another torrential downpour and they totally did their job!  The sod kept the water from rushing over the rock wall bed, and it even started taking root.  It looks like this might be our second successful venture into the world of sod.

We even added a bag of river rock to our patio steps to naturally fill in gaps left from the patio construction.

Every little bit helps us move towards a finished backyard! Anyone else tackle some outdoor stuff lately?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Friggin' File Cabinet...

Yup, I said it…friggin’ file cabinet.  There are so many attractive, don’t-even-look-like-I-belong-
in-an-office options out there…but all of those come with a price tag I hate to even think about.  Heck, even some of the not-so-attractive options can cost a fortune!  But expensive or not, I knew we needed one for our home.  The cheapo cabinet I made due with since I was a single gal was not only broken, but also wouldn’t provide the filing space we will need as our family {God willing} continues to grow in the future.

So what was I to do?’s something I had done a million times before.  I became a Craigslist stalker {in a totally non-creepy, furniture-needing kind of way}.  I scoured the ads daily to find a lateral file cabinet made of wood or wood laminate.  These two qualities would help mask the “hi, I’m a file cabinet” appearance.  This was important to me since we do not have a designated office space in our home.  {We could make one of the guest rooms double as an office, but the truth is, we wouldn’t use it.  We are more casual and tend to sit on the couch or at the dining table to get any necessary work done.  Maybe when we finish our basement a million years from now, we can assign part of that space to be an office….but then again, maybe not. ;)} 

Anywho, after months of searching, I finally stumbled upon a cabinet that fit all of my criteria, was within my budget and was only a couple miles from my house!  Hallelujah!  {Speaking of which, thank gosh it was so close to my house because it BARELY fit in the car, and if I had to get on some sort of highway versus the back roads I was taking, I’m pretty sure it would have fallen out of the trunk and smashed onto the pavement.}

Here is the boring and functional piece of furniture I purchased.  I don’t have any photos of it together because the drawers were out when we got there {to make lifting and transporting easier}.

Once I got it home, it was time to sand, prime and paint.  The sanding I did on the piece was very minimal.  It was laminate, so I just wanted to rough up the surface a bit.  Then a few days later I got around to priming the piece.  Instead of using regular primer, I used my favorite Kilz spray paint primer.  That dried quickly, but it still took me a couple more days to get around to painting the piece.  Whoooops!  

I decided it’d be fun {and economical} to use the leftover yellow paint I had from when I made over the Craigslist’ed nightstands in our guest bedroom.  The happy yellow totally transformed the cabinet!  Originally I thought I would switch out the hardware on the piece, but after it was painted, the original stuff looked perfect!

Anyone else have tackle a furniture makeover lately?  I feel it’s becoming second nature for me to make over Craigslist finds! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Freshline Prints

Little by little, I added some touches to our entryway so that it wasn’t so “bleh” when you glanced towards the front door.  First was the mirror that took entirely too long to hang, then I added a fun pop of color to the front door and now I’m revealing what was in those frames hung to the right of the door.  I realize that it looks like there was already something in them, but what you don't know, is that I didn't change anything from the second I bought them.  Yup, I hung them with whatever pre-packaged "photo" came with the frames.  Classy, huh?  At least they weren't banished to our guest bedroom with the rest of the frames I purchased during a 50% off sale at Michael's. ;)

After a very non-scientific evaluation of the space between the end of our barn door track and the front wall of our home, I figured that two 8 x 10 frames would be the perfect fit next to our front door.  I knew I wanted some grey and yellow “home-themed” prints, and I also knew I wanted those prints to come from an Etsy shop that I love, Freshline.  I poured over the many beautiful things the shop owner, Colleen, has to offer, and carefully narrowed my choices down to just two prints… the Skeleton Key with Your House Number and the Welcome Sign – Home Sweet Home.

The pictures were already in the exact colors I desired, so I just had to request for them both to be printed in landscape orientation.

I placed my order and impatiently waited for the prints to arrive.  They were definitely worth the wait.  Both were just what I was looking for and fit perfectly into our home!

If anyone is looking for some beautiful, modern prints to hang in their home, I highly suggest you check out Colleen’s Etsy store!

Now, if I could just find a fun doormat for the entryway, I’ll be all set!!

Anyone else have a favorite Etsy store?!?!