Upstairs art, an announcement and a giveaway

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed.

Our upstairs walls are no longer bare! The art that we mulled over and selected is finally hanging! Let’s take a tour.

Staircase landing:


My desire for a huge print in this stairwell has been satisfied. I love when the light streams through the window and illuminates the detail in the sea stack.


Long wall between the plant shelf and the TV:

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This series offers a great punch of color and really leads your eye into the space.

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Behind the couch:

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Don’t let this picture fool you. That is a massive image, clocking in at 28″ x 76″. Our 8′ couch can dwarf anything.



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Master bedroom:



The prints have actually been in place for a bit, but I’ve been waiting to show you. We received such great feedback about the images that we decided to make them (and many more) available in our new Etsy shop: Fire Pole Prints


To celebrate the grand opening and kick things off we’re giving away a free print. We pulled a collection of our favorite images but we’d like to know which image tops your list. Hop over to the store then leave us a comment below telling us your favorite image. We’ll randomly choose one comment and that person will win their choice of print valued up to $125. Official details below.

Prize: One print from Fire Pole Prints. Sizes and prices vary based on how the image was shot. The winner can choose any image and any size up to $125.
Enter by: Leaving a comment on this post telling us your favorite print in the shop
Giveaway closes: Wednesday, November 26th at midnight CST
Number of winners: One
Prize ships: Anywhere
More stuff:  The winner will be selected using and announced on Thursday, Nov 27th in this post. Please include a valid email address with your blog comment so we can contact you if you win. Immediate family members can comment, but are ineligible for the drawing. (We will, however, take those comments into consideration for Christmas and birthday gifts.) The winner does not have to choose the print they comment about (in case you want to bestow the print as an awesome holiday gift.)

So what are you waiting for? Tell us which one you love.

UPDATE: The winner is Annie who loved “Fog Pier” for it’s eery beauty.  (Annie – check your inbox for details.) If you’re not Annie, you can still score a print from the store and take 25% off while you’re at it with this code: THANKS2014. (Technically, the code will still work if you are Annie…)

From bread rack to bar cart

Apparently if I see an old, rusty metal shelf on casters in an antique mall, I will pay all the money for it.

Ok, that’s not totally true. But I will rack my brain trying to figure out how to use it in our house, remove the tag (so no one can claim it while I walk) and visit the front desk to inquire about a discount (Hello easy 10% off!), and then somehow convince my husband that said rack can be a belated birthday gift for me (my birthday was in January and we bought this in March.) Long story long, we bought a bread rack.

When we found it, it looked like this:


But in my head, it looked more like this:002industrial_bar_cart

After a year of collecting, our decanter collection outgrew our petite bar. We’ve been casually looking for a different bar set-up. This cart totally clicked for me. The only problem (and the reason it was stored in the captain’s bedroom for many months – you can see it hiding in the corner in this post) is that the grated metal shelves offered an unstable surface. Great for bread, not for bottles.

House Hunters 2.0 gave us the boost to get this bar built. First that required a trip to a hardwood lumber place Aaron has been stalking on Craigslist. It’s a small shop filled with lots of wood, including some exotic options. While we have a serious soft spot for zebra wood, we thought it would be too loud and too pricey for this application. We mulled over the selection and almost settled on some basic poplar before noticing a pile of ambrosia maple. We learned that the discoloration and holes are caused by ambrosia beetles that burrow in and bring fungus. Those splotches definitely stole our heart. We dug through the pile looking for the perfect pieces and chose some of the “buggiest” (according to the wood shop employee.) We left with 4 boards (30.5 board feet) for a total of $91.50.

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The boards weren’t wide enough to span a shelf, so we needed to join them. The boards were rough cut and only square on 3 sides so Aaron started by trimming the rough edge off 2 pieces.005industrial_bar_cart

Then he used the biscuit cutter to create some grooves.006industrial_bar_cart 007industrial_bar_cart 008industrial_bar_cart

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Once the glue dried, he made the final cuts to make each shelf the right length and width. 017industrial_bar_cart 018industrial_bar_cart 019industrial_bar_cart

He also removed the excess glue drops and gave everything a light sanding.020industrial_bar_cart 021industrial_bar_cart

While the boards dried, Aaron tested some oil options on a scrap piece of wood. 022industrial_bar_cart

Black walnut023industrial_bar_cart

Tung oil024industrial_bar_cart

Light walnut025industrial_bar_cart


Originally we thought we would want a darker tone, like the dark walnut. But after we chose such a pretty, defined wood, we were torn. We popped the test piece of wood onto the cart with a few bar accessories to help make the decision. But we were still torn. We worried that the light walnut would make the wood stand out too much. And we worried that the dark walnut would hide it too much.


In the end, we decided that we loved the wood too much to tone it down. Both sides got a coat of light walnut danish oil.  027industrial_bar_cart

This involves 2 coats of flooding the board with oil and spreading it around with a brush. The second coat is applied within 30 minutes of the first so that it is still wet.

030industrial_bar_cart 028industrial_bar_cart 029industrial_bar_cartOnce the boards were prepped, we turned our attention to the cart. I gave it a good wipe down with soapy water to remove any loose dirt while keeping the rusty patina.

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Then Aaron made some vital repairs to the shelves, tightening the bolts and replacing a few lost ones.034industrial_bar_cart 035industrial_bar_cart 036industrial_bar_cart

We laid the wood in place and it really started to come together.037industrial_bar_cart

The wood adds so much warmth to this piece. 038industrial_bar_cart

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We pulled out all of our full decanters, all of our empty decanters and all of our bottles of booze. Then I uttered words I never thought I’d say: “We need more alcohol.”


The overall effect is nice, but it’s a touch barren. I guess that’s what happens when you install 24 square feet of bar…041industrial_bar_cart

We opted to keep the styling really simple, focusing on the decanters and mixing in some bottles for interest. 043industrial_bar_cart 044industrial_bar_cart

We pulled out a wine infograph poster to add even more height to this corner of the room.045industrial_bar_cart

And we kept a little space for actually mixing a drink.047industrial_bar_cart

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So, I guess we’re just down to the super hard task of collecting more bottles of alcohol. Woe is us.

I could stare at you all day…

Is choosing art hard for anyone else? It took a full bottle of wine for us to settle on favorites, take some measurements, design a template and make some final choices. Here’s what we landed on.
Staircase landing
We started in this area because I’ve been dreaming of a HUGE print in this space. I fell head over heels in love with this black and white image:
But our printer limitations (as if 44” is really a limitation) forced us into a strong vertical.The picture looked horrible cropped into a vertical, so we dropped in two other black and white images as contenders.
living room art4
After deciding on trees for some of the other spaces, we settled on the moody sea stacks.
Long wall between the plant shelf and the TV
Thanks to the forgotten about redscale images, this wall came together pretty quickly. Aaron dropped a series of four onto our template and the arrangement just felt right.
living room art
We did tinker with the placement and image selection before we landed on this grouping. We love the pop of color and how the horizontal-ness leads you into the space as you approach from the stairwell.
Behind the couch
We were both really drawn to this image. The fog! The trees!
But we differed on whether the image should be in black and white or color. I love, love how the color version goes from almost a monochromatic black and white to a deep green. It looks exactly how the space felt. Aaron worried that the green image plus the blue couch plus the redscale images would be a bit clashy. He added a (not really close, because wine) swatch of blue (the couch) to help me see the light.
living room art2
As with most things related to color he was right. But I wasn’t quite ready to give up yet. We paused our discussion to see what would work well in the hallway.
These two beachy images started as the top contenders for the hallway.
The top image is one of Aaron’s favorites from the trip. We had all but decided that it would live in the hallway when we realized that because of the space, you wouldn’t be get the full impact of the print. You would be way too close to take it all in.
So we tried his favorite image as a black and white print over the couch…
fallen log
and moved the color (yay!) version of the trees to the hallway…
And all was well in the world.
A few favorite images got left in the dust. We rescued this one from obscurity and printed it for our bedroom. (It looks awesome.)
Eventually hope to find a spot for this moody beauty, which Aaron likens to dinosaur bones.
We also plan to integrate art from other people into the rest of the house, but for House Hunters we would have to take that down anyways (copyright issues). So we’re still contemplating and buying pieces we both enjoy. How do you discover artists? We found some great work at the St Louis Art Fair that Aaron pinned for future reference.

What to put on the walls?

It’s been unintentionally quiet around here because we dove head first into a dozen projects that have a hard deadline. Turns out HGTV can’t get enough of us and we’re scheduled to shoot a “House Hunters: Where are They Now?” episode next week tomorrow(!!!!) We’re so excited to share the updates to our space! (We hadn’t even moved in when they wrapped the original episode.) I don’t have any details on when it will air, but I’ll pass them along when I do.
We think we cobbled together a pretty manageable list of smaller projects to tackle before the cameras start rolling. High on the list: get some art up on the living room walls. We’ve been pondering art ever since we pulled this room together earlier this year. We’ve been browsing, pinning and even buying (we snagged a piece at the St Louis Art Fair earlier this month), but  we decided nothing was getting a home until we got our film scans back from our Pacific Northwest trip.
Those arrived last Monday and we sat down with a bottle of wine to make some tough choices about what we wanted to stare at on a daily basis. We started by pulling our favorites from the trip, a few fine art images we snapped while at weddings and a collection of redscale shots from a spring trip to Chicago, which we forgot about until we got the scans back. Discovering forgotten images is almost as good as finding money in your pocket (almost.)
There were 4 areas we hoped to fill
  • Second landing on the staircase
  • Long wall between the plant shelf and the TV
  • Behind the couch
  • Hallway
So here are the contenders:

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Any guesses on what we chose and what went where? I’ll be back tomorrow with a breakdown of our choices.

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.


I mean, come on…


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:



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





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.










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




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.


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.