14 posts categorized "My House"


More Detail on the "M" Wall

A few weeks ago I wrote about one of the favorite areas of my house, what has been officially dubbed the "M" wall. Here is some more detail on the individual pieces.

Large Gold "M"

I had mentioned this before, but I bought this "M" at Home Goods back when we lived in Illinois.


Notice the cracks on the upper left side? When we had this "M" up at our house in Illinois I had it resting on a Crate & Barrel photo ledge, along with some other items, including an old iron plant hook I'd found at an antique store in Anoka, Minnesota. The plant hook is pretty heavy, and to be honest, it was a little too wide for the photo ledge. Sure enough, one day we heard a huge crash and plant hook took my beloved gold "M" to the ground. There it was in four big pieces. We were moving back to Texas anyway, so I wrapped it up in packing paper and didn't do anything with it until a year later, when we finally unpacked all of our stuff in our new Texas house.

Lots of super glue later, I now have it in one piece.

When I was planning out the "M" wall, I originally had the star on the left side because I felt it did a good job distracting the eye away from the cracks. I ended up having to switch it to the right side to give the wall a more balanced look. I obviously don't like the fact that it's cracked, but surprisingly, I don't think many people have noticed.

Western "M" in a Frame

This is a western-style "M" that is about four inches tall. It's cut out of a heavy sheet metal and you can see the couple of rust spots that are on it. I love the rust--it adds to the whole raw western look.


I picked up this "M" at a metal store in Stephenville, TX called Wood n' Things. Love the selection of metal they have there, and I think this "M" was only $2.99 (they have a huge copper bathtub at this store . . . if I had $5k and a place to put it, it would be mine!). I bought the frame at Michael's when they were having a 50% off frames sale. It ended up going with the ruggedness of the "M" perfectly.

The wooden star that is hanging off this frame was added to balance the star tied to the large gold "M." I felt that two stars still didn't work (odd numbers always look better anyway), so I sat the rusted metal cut-out star on top of the frame. I'm glad that worked visually since I wasn't sure how I was going to combat the tilting the wooden star caused. The weight of both stars balanced the frame nicely.

Large Stencil "M"

I don't advocate buying a bunch of things at one time to decorate a space, as it rarely ends up being a representation of things you love. If it's rushed, it looks rushed. This is one of those surprise cases where I purchased multiple things for this area, and yet I still feel like it came together well.


When I was frame shopping for the other "M's" I was on my way out of Michael's when I saw a large stencil pack in their clearance "as-is" box near the cash registers. Normally over $25 dollars, the stencil pack was missing a few letters so it was discounted to $4.99. I ended up buying the frame at the same time and was so happy it all worked out.

The gold from the frame pulls in the gold from the large "M" and the black matches the "welcome" sign and other black "M's" I have on the wall.

The other great part is that I have a ton of stencils leftover, so I've enjoyed giving them away to people, usually in the same frame I have.

A hint . . . The black paper backing, which is in the frame behind the stencil, can be found in the poster board section at Michael's.

The Silver "M"

I mentioned before that I purchased this silver "M" at Target back when Cody and I were first married, and I'll admit, I didn't think I'd find a home for it as I'm kinda over the whole 00's everything-silver look (or however you say the first decade of 2000).


The large "M" was gold, this was silver. I had pretty much decided it would be going in the going-away pile when I found the frame you see above at Home Goods.

The "M" is about 3/4" deep and the frame is actually a shadow box. It came as you see it, with a warm-yellow straw background and a clip on top to hold a picture. When I got it home, I was relieved that the "M" (barely) fit, but the yellow background, even though it warmed up the cool silver very well, seemed a bit overwhelming. The "M" also appeared a little too short for the frame.

A quick look into my scrapbook paper stash and I cut a piece of vellum (another 00's trend in the scrapbook world) out and I liked the result. The vellum allowed the warmth of the yellow to come through, and also made the squareness of the "M" work within a rectangle frame.


Bathroom Redo, Day One

As I mentioned on Friday, we picked up the goods to start on the downstairs bathroom on this past weekend. We were unfortunately missing some much-needed tools, so we know that this first project will seem more expensive.

Now, before I show you pictures, don't get too impressed with our progress, although I'm glad we got started.

You can get envious here. The color right now in the bathroom is a terracotta color, which was painted OVER this blue wallpaper. Beautiful!

The plan is to avoid tearing down the paint-covered wallpaper. We will have to see how this goes since our new vanity will not come anywhere close to covering this area.

I love the quality of the workmanship here. If it's going to be covered up by the vanity, why worry that there is a hole in the wall?

We did find some interesting things in the pipes (I'll spare you the nastiness). We obviously have to replace some of the plumbing work. Gross!

Stay tuned. As Cody continues on the demo, it's my job to start on the popcorn ceiling. I'm sure Spangler and Sage will be helping us along the way . . .

(And no, we don't use a prong collar on our puppy! My sister brought it over and he thinks it's a toy!)


An Old Farm Table

Driving with no regards to time or any idea of where to go is a one of our favorite things to do. We did it in college—finding ourselves having lunch in Glen Rose, TX (we ended up hiring that restaurant to cater our wedding) or out on the country roads of Erath County. Once we moved to Illinois, we didn’t know anyone or have much to do, so we’d find ourselves driving through random towns and random country roads, with corn and soybeans everywhere you looked.

During one of those weekend drives in Illinois we stumbled across the town of Sandwich. We stopped at a coffee shop off of Highway 34/Church St, which was in this old house. Cute little town. When we drove a couple blocks further, we stumbled upon The Red Geranium General Store.

Some pictures my Dad took, back when my parents visited us in 2007, heading into the store:


On one of our early trips to the store, we came across an old farm table. It was $250 and for whatever reason, I didn’t get it. It was on my mind for the next few weeks/months but I had anticipated that it would already be sold when I went back. At Cody’s urging (he knows when I really want something) we went to Sandwich again to see if it was still available.

I cannot explain how excited I was to see the table not only still there, but 50% off—only $125. We bought it immediately, loaded it into our 2004 Nissan Xterra and headed home.

These initial pics are from April 2006 when we first brought the table home (notice our furniture-less formal living room and dining room):



Now this is crazy. Notice how long the table extends out.

I would love to somehow get similar leafs made so we can extend it more than it is.


In Illinois we ended up using it as our “eat-in” dining room table. These pictures are from August 2006:

The table runner and wire basket is from The Red Geranium General Store as well.

Now let’s talk about the chairs . . .

I bought the chairs at IKEA very soon after we purchased the table. I’d actually wanted the INGOLF chair over the OLLE chair, but at the time the INGOLF chair was $30 more per chair. At $29.99 (it’s now gone up to $34.99) the OLLE chair was a steal. I bought the “natural” color (no longer available) and started the time-consuming task of sanding off the shiny finish, painting the chairs navy blue, distressing and then re-glazing them.

It was a total pain in the butt. I confined myself to the garage on most days (I’m always cold and it’s always cold in Chicagoland) and it took weeks to complete (a little work here, a little work there).

Some things I would do differently:

  1. I did not sand the chairs enough from the get-go. I knew that I needed to “rough” the chairs up, so the paint would have something to stick to, but I did not get into all the cracks and crevices like I should have
  2. I would have purchased a better quality paint. I went to Wal-Mart and got the cheapest paint, which was really stupid. I really think I had to put around 4-5 coats on to make it as dark as it needed to be. The cheap paint as also very thin, so on some parts of the chair you can see paint drips
  3. I would have spray painted it, not brushed it on. This is an obvious thing to do, right? No idea why it did not cross my mind at the time
  4. I would have done my homework on the clear coating. I don’t remember what I used, but in some places it caused the paint to crackle. The combination of the paint and clear coating was obviously wrong
  5. I would not have overdone my distressing. I pretty much fixed all my mistakes by painting over them (thanks to Cody pointing out that I had sanded where paint wouldn’t naturally wear) but what a pain to do. Surely there was a YouTube video on distressing that could have helped out

Overall, I’m happy with the result. I still have the same setup that we had in Illinois here in our Texas house:

As we discuss redoing the kitchen, I’m seriously contemplating replacing the chairs (when we’d replace the barstools as well) but this old+new set has held up very well over the past four years. I haven’t grown tired of the runner or basket either (and I added the salt and pepper shakers in December 2007—found them at one of my favorite stores in Stephenville, TX). You can’t beat a $125 table that you just fall in love with. And with $29.99 chairs that challenge you to get resourceful.


The "M" Wall

I’m not much of a collector. I actually can’t think of one thing that I purposely seek out to collect, like giraffes (Cody’s grandma), Madame Alexander dolls (my little sister) or even something I’d love to collect, cake stands (my Mom).

But, I love collections. Collections of like items, whether it is in color, theme, etc. can make a dramatic statement in décor.

I purchased my first “M” at Target back in 2004. We had just moved from our college town to Dallas-Fort Worth and had only been married for about six months. During one of my shopping trips I spotted an end-cap full of silver metal initials. I just had to grab the “M.” (I ended up putting it on this horribly-ugly white floral shelf in our bedroom, next to a silver metal candlestick with a red candle. Wish I had a picture—you would agree that the shelf was ugly and silver-on-silver just didn’t work.)

Fast forward three or so years later and we’re living in Illinois. The silver “M” was likely stuck in a box still, or in a drawer. I know I wasn’t using it anywhere in our house. I then came across a ginormous gold-leaved “M” at Home Goods and fell in love with it. I put it alone on a shelf and was happy with the result.

Then, in 2008, we had a nine month transition from Illinois back to Texas (long story) and I kept coming across different “M’s” that just grabbed my attention. They were different sizes, shapes and colors and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them. It was a challenge for me. Sometimes I can get so fixated on color or making things match, but they made me happy.

So after great internal debate, lots of shopping over a year, I’d like to introduce my “M” wall:


This works for me for a couple of reasons:

It Displays My (Unintentional) Collection
If you have a collection of any kind, or find yourself buying similar things over and over again, make your collection work in your home by grouping it together. I love all things “M” but, if I had placed pieces of my collection throughout my home, it wouldn’t have made as much of a statement as putting them together. Look around and see common and/or similar pieces and group them together. You’ll love the result.

The Colors Don’t Match, They “Go”
I think I first heard this on TLC’s “What Not to Wear” and it’s so true. Things don’t need to match. In fact, you want items to not match, but work together. The silver “M” is the only silver item on the wall. But, I used a white background against the western “M” which balances the starkness of the silver. I have a brown weathered frame for the western “M,” but a more modern black frame for the silver “M.” I think it works and it makes me happy.

I Can Keep Adding to My Collection
Uh oh—more “M’s”? You betcha. That’s the best part about a collection, is that you can add and it still works. I’m sure there will be a time where adding it to it will be too much, but I just don’t feel like I’m there yet.

Coming soon, more details on the pieces of my “M” wall and how it was put together.