Back in blue

As you well know (because I’m apparently torturing everyone by dragging out this reveal), the decor in the living room needed a bit of an overhaul thanks to a fancy coat of white paint and a stunning new rug.

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I mean, come on…

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I’m happy to report that our Craigslist find has shed it’s sad, brown covering and been returned to us in a perfect shade of blue. Boom:

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Holy cow! We are absolutely in LOVE. To prove it, here are way too many pictures.

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The workmanship is flawless. Gomez Upholstery did an amazing job! We asked Jose to shape the middle cushion to match the curve of the couch (turned out fabulously) and to eliminate much of the piping to clean up the lines. Halfway through the project he called to recommend that we take out all of the piping due to the thickness of the fabric. His suggestion was spot on, and we appreciated that he shared our vision for the sofa.

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I know I originally wanted a green couch, but I think this one was meant to be blue.

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I never knew I could love a piece of furniture so much. It’s the most comfortable thing we’ve ever sat on and the 3′ depth is amazing. I’m not saying that we accidentally fell asleep on the couch the other night, but I’m not saying we didn’t.

For now we’re using some old pillows, but we’re going back to Gomez Upholstery to have a few pillows made in the same fabric. Actually, we’ll be going back to Jose whenever we need anything reupholstered.

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The space is coming together. We opted to move the arc lamp out because it’s been bothering us ever since the new lighting was installed. Hopefully we can find a new home for it down the line. Now the walls are screaming, “give me art!” and someone (me) really needs to work on styling the end tables a bit.

For now, I’m just happy that the sofa is back AND that it made it up the stairwell. It was questionable at points thanks to the small opening on the first floor. We both ended up bleeding during the process (just surface scratches), but it was all worth it for that sofa.

New coffee table and bonus side tables

When we put the living room back together we already knew the couch wouldn’t work. Once we secured a replacement, we started giving the coffee table the stink eye.

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This bohemuth of a table (it’s 4′ square) has served us well through the years, but the green tinted glass just didn’t work in the freshly painted space. Plus it covered up too much of the rug.

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So the hunt was on. We searched high and low, in person and online, new and vintage. We even ordered a mid century inspired, glass topped table from a flash sale site. But when it came in, we didn’t even unpack the glass all the way because it had the same green tint! Thankfully, we only gave it a chance because of a good return policy.

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A few Sundays ago when it was much to rainy to work on the fence, we hit up a favorite antique mall and (again) walked away empty handed. We only had one more place to check before being resigned to a long wait: The Future Antiques. St Louis lovers of all things mid century know this store well. It’s filled to the brim with high quality MCM goods – everything from housewares to clothes to furniture.

Aaron claims he had a feeling that we’d find the right piece. All I kept thinking was, “Anything mid century will be much too small.” But when we walked into the back furniture room, a long, leggy wood table caught my eye.

We did the usual checks: measure (I’m not the only one who constantly totes around a measuring tape, right?), check for wobble, check for wear, check the price, ask the question “If it doesn’t look perfect in this space, could we use it somewhere else?” (Is that just us, too?)

It passed all the checks, but I was still worried about the size. At times, we maxed out our current 4′ table with snack buffets and reading material. But then we noticed that there were matching side tables nearby. So we did the same checks – price (more than we wanted to spend for all three pieces, but we were falling in love… and rationalizing), size (I worried they were too tall), reuse (possible side tables in the guest bedroom), condition. You already know where this is going because you read the title of this post.

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All three pieces came home with us and we couldn’t be happier. The wood tone is perfect and will be needed when we move the current bar out of the space (foreshadowing). They are solid wood, and they look like they just came from the store. Seriously, we’ve been pondering how 50+ year old tables have nary a scratch on them.

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The legs and rails make the pieces feel light… and leave lots of open space for rug viewing. It’s hard to photograph, but the long sides actually curve up just a bit. This was likely the inspiration for the name: surfboard tables (from Bassett’s Artisan Collection.)

We think those curves are the perfect compliment to the curvy sofa (which is back and OMG! OMG! It’s amazing. Way too many pictures later this week.)

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I did zero staging for this, except to toss some books and a plant on one of the end tables. Hopefully it gives you some sense of scale. The end tables are nice and deep and provide the perfect extra table space. We don’t miss the 4-foot square at all. (If you’re in need of a massive, modern coffee table it’s up on Craigslist right now.)

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Seriously, if you haven’t been to The Future Antiques, get yourself over there (or torture yourself with their new Instagram feed). They have an amazing selection and everything is pristine. Just don’t come back complaining if you spend way to much money there on a Sunday afternoon… I feel your pain.

A little more white paint

We painted three spaces before Alive Magazine came to shoot the firehouse. Even though we’ve already talked about the bedroom and hall (neither of which made it into the magazine), one other space was MUCH more important to get done. Can you tell which one?

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How about now?

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How about now?

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The furnace room FINALLY got a little camouflage in the form of bright white paint.

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Even though the structure has been in place for nearly a year, we’ve been mired in indecision regarding the finish. Our original plan to cover it in end cut wood looked really tedious and expensive when we finally did the math. So the furnace room has sat naked, serving as a constant reminder that even though we’ve been using the studio it’s not “done.” The magazine shoot was a good kick in the pants to just paint it already and let it disappear, which it does beautifully.

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We also added a temporary door. This is definitely phase 1. Some sort of wood treatment and a proper door are still on the (giant) list.

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For now, I’m loving that I can shoot the studio from any angle without the distraction of unfinished plywood. Is anyone surprised that our resolution for something is to paint it white? I’m not. What’s your solution for eyesores or unfinished spaces in your home?

Our House Hunters episode is online!

UPDATE: The House Hunters site was refreshed and our episode is no longer available. But you can check it out on Netflix. Look for the episode titled “St. Louis Cool.”

One of our awesome photography clients pinged me last night on Facebook to let us know that our episode of House Hunters is online! If you haven’t had the chance to catch it on TV or want to relive it over (and over and over) again,here’s your chance!

The beginning of the end of the fence

There are a few things we vowed when we moved into the firehouse.
– The half wall in the bedroom was coming down ASAP.
– We needed a fenced yard by the end of spring.
– The studio would get all of our attention and probably be done in 2 months.

Oh, how naive we were…

If you’ve been following along, you know that only one of those (the studio) has come to fruition… and even that took many more months than we planned. But we’re in the process of finally making good on the fenced yard declaration!

Let’s recap. Nearly a year ago, we spent a long weekend installing (most of) our fence, using cor-ten steel panels. (If you’re new to the blog, it’s a good read, complete with a lightening strike!) We purposefully left a few holes near the back, intending to cover them in horizontal slats of wood to match the treatment we planned for the carport (effectively turning that into a garage.)

Here’s how we left things last summer.

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It is funny how everything about renovations has an ebb and flow  – time, energy, money. By the fall, we were low on all three (and down one tree). The fence project got pushed and we spent all winter surveying Mojo’s outdoor time… in the polar vortex.

Now that the weather is turning, the fence completion/carport wrap is our top priority. We kicked things off by tackling this hole in the fence.

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It’s cool, Mojo. You know not to cross that imaginary line, right?

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Here is a view from the neighboring lot

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We researched a lot of different options for the fence and eventually settled on B grade ipe.

Ipe is a very dense hardwood from South America that is fantastic for outdoor applications. It is mold, fire, weather and pest resistant. It needs little maintenance, but if you do give it some by rolling on some oil it will stay a gorgeous deep brown color. It’s also very pricey, which is why we opted for B grade (or slightly subpar) wood. This means that not every board is perfect. Some have a little bow to them, some have a crack at one end, some have milling marks.

We ordered our batch from Advantage Lumber, along with the clips, wax and oil needed for installation and maintenance. So far we’re finding the imperfections to be minimal and some of them to be charming. We’re very happy we opted to save a few dollars.

I have a tutorial for you, but for this post let’s jump straight to the reward.

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Hello gorgeous!

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It’s exactly what we had in mind. The warm wood (which will get deeper when it is oiled) bring a fantastic natural element to the fence. Seriously, I can’t stop staring at it.

The downside is that we’re finding the installation takes A LOT longer than we expected. (Someday we’ll learn our lesson. Maybe I should block off ALL of 2015 for the kitchen reno…)

To give you an idea, those three sections of fence took an entire day. But it’s cool, we only have this much to go…

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