Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monogram Madness.

Last night I was presented with quite a surprise.  Once I tell you what it is you probably won't be "wowed", but trust me this was a shocker.  Other than our engagement, The Fiancé hasn't pulled off too many surprises and I'm pretty OK with that.  Don't get me wrong, I love everything he's ever given me but the gifts normally coincide with an event like Christmas or my birthday.  Last night, however, was just a pure surprise. 

Are you ready for this...are you sure you're ready?  Last night, my thoughtful and oh so sweet Fiancé presented me with my very own American Express 2013 Day Planner.  Before I continue, I'll let you bend down and pick your jaw up off the ground....haha, I kid.  Now I did need a planner, so it was a wonderful little gift, but the best part of the surprise was the tiny little monogram in the bottom right hand corner: KWW, my soon-to-be new initials!  The free gift was a token of appreciation from AE for his generous spending throughout the year, but the monogram was an extra 5 bucks.  I got myself a keeper and a big spender;)  According to him, he ordered this before the proposal and thought I'd enjoy using it for engagement parties and wedding plans. 

So in the spirit of my soon-to-be new initials, I'm currently coveting all things monogrammed.  I've had my eye on a necklace for some time but didn't want to take the plunge on the purchase with hopes that I'd soon be engaged.  Well folks, the time has come, the diamond is on my finger, and although I'll have to wait to use anything "KWW" until after April 20, 2013, I'm dying over my latest monogrammed finds.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rule Breaker.

So normally I put myself on a personal spending freeze throughout the months of November & December and only buy Christmas gifts for others.  It never feels right to buy something for myself before I've taken care of all my favorite people and even though the rule is super hard, it's rewarding.  But this year, I did a bad thing.  I broke down, broke my own rule and purchased some things that I needed.  Yes, needed;)

I'm a strong believer that a room really doesn't start to come alive until you dress up your walls.  Be it art, pictures, mirrors or even a clock, an adorned wall is a happy wall.  Insert: a trip to Target.

picture frames do wonders for a space.  don't worry, I'll throw some familiar faces in at some point.

Let's be honest, my crush on all things bamboo is no surprise to my readers.  Although I'm still on the hunt for my chinese chippendale chairs, I'm getting really good at collecting accent pieces that promote a hint of chinoiserie but don't come off as asian overkill.  

Great Find Alert: love, love, love my new faux bamboo lamp from class & trash in Richmond.  I'm undecided on where I should place my nate burkes urchin, but boy am I swooning.

my little pup couldn't resist a photo op!

The remainder of my week is filled with work, meetings & shopping for the little girl I chose from our local Angel Tree.  Be good my loves:)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Shmonday.

I'm in a fog, ya'll.  My four day weekend has done a number on me and I'm still stuck in relaxation mode.  I had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of friends, family and great food and now I'm back at work.  In a fog.

I sprinkled in some new goodies throughout the living room, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow for the reveal; you got it, because of the fog.  Until tomorrow...


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making a list, and checking it twice....

With the holidays right around the corner, I see it fitting to share with you guys my Christmas wishlist.  And Santa, I've been a good, good girl this year;)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Real Life is Expensive.

Warning: Serious post ahead.  Don't worry, I'm not baring my soul or anything deep like that, but I will be keeping it real.  Ready.  Set.  This is real life.

I think it was about two years ago when my passion for interior design started.  I have always loved pretty things but it was after I picked up my first issue of Veranda that I discovered a true passion for decorating and a hobby that included collecting fabric swatches & creating design boards for fictitious clients.  Approximately a year later I visited my first blog, which happened to be that of the incredible Emily Clark.  I was instantly sucked in to her before and after pictures, the great DIY tips and it didn't take long for me to become completely enamored with her sense of style.  Before I knew it, I was bookmarking 2-3 new blogs a day and spending way too much of my work day drooling over chevron printed throw pillows, hollywood regency wall scones & of course the coveted chinese chippendale chair.  I would stare at each blog forever taking in every little detail and making a thousand mental notes while scouring craigslist for pieces to recreate these beautiful spaces.  House Beautiful and Elle Decor soon joined Veranda on my doorstep each month and it was evident that I had become hooked.

Fast forward to today.  To Tufts & Stuff.  I started this blog to put my passion on display and track my own before and after projects.  I started this blog to join a crowd of people with similar interests and to provide myself an outlet to write creatively and openly.  As rewarding as the blog as been these past three months, I have been struggling with accepting that my real life is not the same as the lives of my blog friends.  The daily reads that give me so much enjoyment also create frustration and disappointment.  I look at these rooms, some designed by girls close to my age, and then I come home to a house that is barely "designed" at all.  I am constantly having to remind myself that some of these bloggers are interior designers by trade, they can buy items at wholesale, they have all kinds of decor resources at their disposal and many have been doing this longer than 2 years.  I am also frequently reminding myself that real life is expensive and I'm not able to put a room together in a month or two.  As a 26 year-old girl with a 9-5 job and a pending wedding on the horizon, I certainly don't live my life with unlimited funds and I have to be strategic with each of my purchases.  A $65.00 lamp from Home Goods is something I have to think about, not buy on a whim, and upholstering my french bergere chair has been a decision one year in the making.  I know I'll get there and my living room, will one day too, look like the pictures I see on "the blogs", I just have to continually remind myself that a beautiful room takes time.  Man, that's a tough pill to swallow sometimes.

I'm not entirely sure why I decided to write this post but as I re-read it myself I feel a little more at ease with the progress I've made in my house.  And having said that, take a look at some pictures of our recent paint job, weekend rug purchase and The Fiancé's latest toy.

Just a reminder...


Our Friday date night this weekend consisted of a trip to Lowes where we picked up our new shag rug and an electric fireplace, as modeled by The Fiancé.  I was super skeptical of this fake fireplace in the store, thinking it was sure to look extra fake and extra cheesy.  But once we got it home, fired it up and positioned the flatscreen on top, I totally changed my position.  Not only does it emit some serious heat, but the wood looks expensive and the logs and flames actually look legit.  And most importantly, it made the space feel a lot more cozy and intimate.  Jack loves the rug and we could not have chosen a more perfect color to help disguise his frequent shedding.  Successful Friday night if I do say so myself.  The gray paint is perfection and I'm loving the placement of my chair in the corner.  Once the wardrobe finds a new home, the chair gets recovered and we find ourselves a floor lamp, we will be on our way to putting this room together.  Pillows and drapes are currently on hold while my mom is knee deep in wedding planning, but a good room takes time, right?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"I do" Thursday

Flowers.  Arrangements.  Fillers.  My mind is filled with centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnieres, oh my!  Do I want to create drama with height, use small clusters to create intimacy or how about the best of both worlds?  Do I want a neutral palette or a pop of color?  Should I use a variation of flowers or stick to one or two?  My, my, my, who knew flowers could put one in such a tizzy?!  Although a tad stressful, I am seriously enjoying the process of selecting my flower arrangements and I'm already counting down the days until the ideas turn into reality. 

I will be sprinkling in hydrangeas and white roses all throughout the ceremony and the reception will be no exception.  I was originally sticking to my white/ivory/green color palette with the flowers, but have recently decided to throw in pops of gold and honey.  Our reception will be at a country club here in Raleigh and their chairs have hints of gold.  I definitely don't want to waste any part of my budget on chair covers, so I'm opting to incorporate the hue into my centerpieces.   

Here are my current inspirations, all via Pinterest.

I love the idea of using natural pieces like branches and twigs.  Not only can they be bought on the cheap, but they add instant height and volume to the centerpiece without being too showy.

I will be using lots and lots of candles and tealights.  They are a super easy way to add ambience and help the room feel more intimate.

To me, this centerpiece says classy, sophisticated and simple.
We will be mixing and matching 60 inch round tables with 30 inch cocktail height tables.  For the smaller tables I plan to fill mason jars with a simple filler like babysbreath or a handful of peonies to add a touch of the south.

One great way to save money is to transition your floral arrangements from the ceremony to the reception site.  I'll be reusing  the hydrangea wreaths and hanging ball arrangements which will cut the budget while adding to the fullness of our reception site.
What types of centerpiece arrangements did you showcase at your wedding?  Did you stick to a monochromatic color scheme or go crazy with flowers in all shades? 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I love when people decorate creatively, and by creatively I mean using a nonconventional item in an everyday way.  I have a piano bench that is in desperate need of a face lift and currently takes up residence on the back porch.  It does a great job of collecting junk like old paintbrushes, tools & other knick knacks and I love how it takes up an entire corner of the screened porch.  Do you sense my sarcasm?  It's time.  This bench needs a new lease on life, badly, and I've got just the ticket.  Drum roll please....I'm turning it into a coffee table.  I think the bench will strike just the right cord (pun intended) with the bevy of changes we've got cooking in the living room.

Here are some great examples that have helped solidify my wacky idea of using this piano bench in spaces other than under a traditional set of black & white keys.

I love this last photo!  The inside of the bench will be perfect for hiding the remote, magazines, coasters, pens and all the other obnoxious trinkets that always seem to find their way to the coffee table.      And I love love love the textured wallpaper that was plastered to the inside and then painted to match the bench.  This particular piece was painted with chalk paint and since that seems to be all the rage these days, I may just have to indulge.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekend Project.

O-M-G.  I found me some tufts...on accident.  I spent a good portion of my Saturday afternoon beginning my bergere makeover and the process was oh so sweet.  Ok, it was sweet because I treated myself to a couple glasses of cabernet and mini reeces peanut butter cups, but mostly sweet from the unexpected surprise that had been waiting patiently for over a year.

I started with these lovely bones from Craigslist.

I stripped it naked.  And then got to work.

Ummm, why on earth would any sane, intelligent person ignore those tufts?!  Honestly, is this chair not in incredible condition?  The more layers I peeled away and the more tacks I ripped out, the more I fell in love with this chair.  The construction is perfect, the quality of the wood is out of this world, and the tufts are so incredibly symmetrical I could die!  As I worked away I just kept thinking about the poor soul on Craigslist who let this lil gem get away.  Alright alright, let's be honest - I didn't feel sorry for him for very long.  One man's trash is another man's treasure, ey?

So I knew I wanted to paint the wood.  I love the look of white wood on vintage french chairs and considering how absolutely in love I am with our fresh gray paint and white trim pairing, I knew the crisp neutral hue would really pop in the living room!  
You would think two coats would be enough, right?  Wrong.

The chair has a ton of character, aka lots of small nooks & crannies that I couldn't reach with my paintbrush, so I decided I needed a third coat.  I threw in a little more elbow grease with the help of a craft sponge and all the imperfections seemed to instantly disappear.  Although the white is finally up to my standards, I do love the look of wear and tear.  I'm thinking I may do a little sanding to show the piece's age and help facilitate the illusion of a real vintage find.

As I wrap up my portion of the renovations, I know Mr. Upholster is anxiously awaiting my phone call.      So what's the hold up?  Per usual, I'm still laboring over my fabric selections.  

Sophisticated canopy stripes

 Or classic damask

I'm leaning towards the damask since I've already selected two geometric patterns for pillows, and the stripes may turnout to be angle overkill.  I have given myself a drop dead date for selecting the fabric and guys, time is ticking.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tickled Gray.

I could scream and jump up and down with glee.  Well, actually I've already done that.  Multiple times.  The living room/hall is 50% complete with the prettiest shade of gray I've ever seen and I'm dying.  I'm dying over the combination of the paint and our crisp white trim.  I'm dying over the deep, rich tone and I'm dyyying over how perfect my fabrics look next to the new hue.  If I'm behaving like this now, how am I going to control myself when it's complete?!?

As you may remember...

I know, I know, these pictures aren't showstoppers.  But c'mon, this is progress people!

Bet you didn't think you were going to get a glimpse of the infamous Fiancé, did you?  He was very excited about his cameo and decided to try out his "model face".

Project Paint Living Room will be complete tomorrow so check back on Monday for the finished product.  Hope you guys are headed into a long Veterans' Day Weekend like myself...ciao!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weekend Fun.

If you live in Raleigh and you haven't been to Studio 123 in Seaboard Station, you need to reevaluate your life.  I'm serious.  The customer service is top notch, the selection of furniture is out-of-this-world and the accessories...don't even get me started.  If you're looking for a great DIY piece or kitchen chairs that have been perfectly repurposed (try & say that three times fast), then Studio 123 is a no-brainer.

 A quick trip after work on Friday was just the trick to starting my weekend off right.

I told The Fiancé that these glasses are just for looks, not for drinking.  It's Sunday night and he's still having trouble grasping the concept.  While he remains perplexed, I'm still swooning over my selection.

Drum shade in perfect condition?  Check.  $10.00 price tag....check, check!
This little beauty is going to look simply stunning over the kitchen table.

Chilly temperatures are the perfect setting for snuggling on the couch, and my new Yankee Candle paired exquisitely well with my laziness.  

The living room gets painted on Thursday and our faux bamboo side table is scheduled for a face-list during my upcoming three-day weekend.  Is it bad that I'm already wishing for Friday?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hello Weekend.

I am so looking forward to my weekend full of fall weather, football games and red wine.  I have my first appointment with our florist on Sunday and the painter is swinging by for an initial estimate.  Could life get any better?
I'll be back Monday with some living room updates.  Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"I Do" Thursday

Since the initial squabbles, aka lover's quarrel, aka one big ole argument regarding our ever-growing guest list, The Fiancé and I have had zero arugements concerning the wedding.  Knock on wood.  Plans are falling into place, swimmingly I may add, and my to-do list continues to get shorter and shorter. 

Select a Date
Pick a Ceremony & Reception Venue
Book the wedding band
Buy a dress- which I love, love, love!
Choose our photographer
Schedule initial floral appointment
Ask bridal party
Select table runner & other reception decor items
Choose flowers for bouquet and centerpieces
Check, check, check!  I don't know about you, but crossing off items on a list is one of my favorite things to do.  It makes me feel productive, relieved and stress-free.  Yes, I am placing "wedding planning" and "stress-free" in the same post - crazy, ey?  I'm having a ton of fun as images in my head are coming to life and the process is that much sweeter with my mom by my side.  I lucked out, ya'll.  My mom knows what's hip, what looks good on me and I trust her to make decisions for me when I'm not around. 
Ok, so since the last time we chatted about nuptials, I've made some major changes to my decor choices.

I've strayed away from black/white/green after seeing this gorgeous navy and white damask fabric.  Navy is definitely my all-time, number 1 go-to color when it comes to decorating and dressing myself, plus its totally classic & timeless.  And that's me, that's my style summed up to perfection.
I've decided to incorporate green in my floral arrangements and bridemaid's bouquet's, and will be using this awesome wedding as my inspiration.

No, we're not getting married in a cute white chapel and we won't be holding our reception outside, but the colors are breathtaking and the flowers are exactly what I've pictured in my head.  Mix in some damask print, a little seersucker (yes I did my research and seersucker is allowed after Easter) and my handsome groom in a crisp black tux, and boy oh boy am I getting excited!