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Reimagined mid century record cabinet

6 Jul

Our living room quadrant is one step closer to completion thanks to Hubster finishing a big project on our to do list this weekend. Meet our new media center:

When we moved from our house we didn’t take our media center for a lot of reasons, the  main one being that it weighed a literal ton. We knew we’d need to get something when found a new place and after a little Craigslist browsing we fell in love with the idea of using a mid century credenza. Much like the table, we knew we couldn’t walk out and buy one at a traditional store. So we started scouring local antique malls and shops. Mid century items are definitely a niche that not all antique malls support. Thankfully, there are a few mid century stores in St. Louis and one of our favorites is a small shop in Soulard. The owner has a great eye and I kept thinking ‘we need to stop there.’ When we finally made it to the shop, a brief look around left us disappointed. Nothing was quite right. But a quick conversation with the owner revealed that he had other pieces in storage AND he happened to have a record cabinet that was thinking about redesigning. He pulled up some pictures and we were immediately smitten. The piece was in phenomenal condition and it has a unique curved front. A few days later Hubster met the owner to view the piece and it came home that afternoon.

The middle top of the piece flipped up to access the turn table, radio tuner and a little records storage. The sides were large speakers. Our original idea was to turn the speaker panels into hinged doors where we could hide away our electronics. The curved front, which is totally awesome, put the kabosh on that but Hubster quickly came up with a plan B: affix the panels with cabinet magnets so they could pop off and on.

I left for a girl’s weekend a few weekends ago with high hopes that this project would be done when I returned. Hubster dug even further into gutting the piece and realized that it was just too well made to remove the front panels. I’m honestly not sure how many plans he went through that Saturday, but eventually (and after some real life testing) he realized that we could pop all of our electronics, except for the DVD player, in through the back and work them through the speaker screen. Genius! So the shot you see above is totally functional. Our cable box, Apple TV, and Hubsters Xbox are all hidden away, but totally working.

The DVD is a bigger issue. Not only will our over sized 5-changer DVD player not fit, it doesn’t really work with the in-through-the-back set up. So we’re going to downsize to a smaller unit and just stow it away unless we’re using it. Ditto on the Wii and old school Nintendo. We’ll pull them out when the mood strikes.

Also, once we had the piece at home and realized nearly all of our electronics would fit in the two side panels, we decided to retrofit the middle section into a swanky bar. Hubster built a custom shelf to cover the record player holder and a felt covered shelf for some bottles of spirits to sit on. The record storage was a near perfect fit for our shaker and a few snifters. Now we’re on the hunt for mid-century whiskey glassess…

So here’s the process (minus pictures of the piece with the record player in it. We just get so excited to start on a project that we forget to take “before” pictures.)


Trip to Tennessee

22 Jun

Hubster and I have some downtime in our wedding season this year. Last year we took advantage by heading out to Colorado for a week. It was AMAZING! (see pictures here and here) This year we’re more budget conscious thanks to moving cities over the winter. As luck would have it, my aunt and uncle came in the same weekend as our studio open house and renewed their request to have us out to take pictures of their bed and breakfast. We accepted so the trip planning is on… but not really in full swing. Colorado, especially Boulder, was a bit more up our alley (i.e. Let’s hike in the morning and happy hour in the evening. Done.) Tennessee is… well I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do. So I’m soliciting suggestions.

Here’s an estimate of the route we’re going to take.

It’s our first road trip and I’m interested in making a stop or two along the way if we find something worthy. The general plan is go through Nashville on the way out. We’ll leave mid-day so any stops would need to be short so we don’t get to the B&B too late. On the way back, I’m thinking we’ll head through Kentucky so we have some variety. We should have all day to travel so if there’s something worth stopping at I’m open to ideas. I’m also willing to reverse the route if something in Nashville really piques our interest.

We have two strong candidates to for filling our few days in Tennessee:
Smoky Mountain National Park
Biltmore Estate (technically this is in North Carolina, but I keep hearing it is worth the day trip)

We’re not into super hokey touristy things, which seems to be limiting in this area (i.e. We’re not going to Dollywood. As a side note, Hubster and I have actually both been to Dollywood in our younger years. This seems very random to me.) We’re also not huge into country or bluegrass music… also limiting.

Barring those things, any suggestions from the audience?

Food blog is a go!

17 Jun

In case you haven’t heard, I officially launched my food blog: Modern Meals for Two! Yay!

Many thanks go out to Hubster for helping me with some all of the set up. Now go check it out. And bookmark it/add it to your Google reader/subscribe. I have lots to share!

Don’t worry, I’ll still be here rattling on about non food things, like our next vintage find that’s getting a serious makeover…

Last note: GOOOOOOD Luck to Christine!! She’s running her first triathalon this weekend. Wish her lots of luck. Hopefully she’ll share some of the details here next week.

Yay table!

15 Jun

Two posts in one day?! I know, but this had to be shared and the title says it all. The vintage table we’ve been dreaming of since March finally came home (and was disassembled, cleaned, painted, and reassembled). This post was all about white dishes, but in the background Hubster and I started fiending for a vintage table with a brightly colored top. Despite our lack of a real home, the hunt was on. Let’s be honest, you can’t run out to Ikea and pick up one of these babies. It’s all about antique karma.

I conducted twice daily searches of Craigslist that eventually turned into scouring all the Craigslist sites in nearby (Chicago is nearby right?) cities. We hit a few estate sales and garage sales. I had a brief crush on a green topped dinette, but our hearts were definitely set on something bright. We couldn’t get the aqua color out of our heads.

Then as fate would have it (see antique karma above), we headed to Kansas City over the first weekend in May. If you’re from KC you know the First Friday of the month means art openings in the Crossroads. If you’re from KC and you like antiques or are a hipster, you know the first weekend of each month is your only chance in a month to stroll the West Bottoms  in seach of freshly picked antiques. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning and honestly walked into each building knowing around one corner or another we’d find THE ONE! It didn’t happen, but what did happen is that we had enough time in our day to check out Weird Stuff Antiques for the first time. The bottom floor didn’t yield much, but as we crested the second floor a litany of mismatched tables and chairs greeted our eyes.

And right in front of us was a laminate table with a gray woodgrain top. It wasn’t aqua. It wasn’t even bright. But something about it made us stop and utter things like “Ya know with a little cleaning up this could be awesome” and “It’s not what we had in mind but it’s SO cool” and “We haven’t seen anything like this”. Of course, price was still a factor. I’m not saying we’re cheapskates, but the table was by no means immaculate. As luck would have it, the owner was willing to part with if for a mere $60. WHAT? A few minutes later, Hubster was using a borrowed drill to remove the legs and I was digging through my purse for something to store the screws in. It fit perfectly in the Jeep and after attending a few engagement sessions with us, made the drive back to St. Louis.

Then it sat in the corner of shame for a while. There’s no getting around the fact that we’re busy. Plus the weather here was yucky during May. It kept raining, which meant we couldn’t whip out the spray paint.

When the clouds finally parted, the table received quite a makeover. Here’s what we (and by that I mean mostly Hubster) did:

  • Removed the rust on the rails for the leaf with a steel brush attachment for the drill.
  • Soaked the leaf hardware in vinegar to remove the rust.
  • Beat out parts of the edging to make it straight.
  • Secured the leaf permanently in place.
  • Sealed the bottom with primer.
  • Coated the leaf rails in white paint.
  • Taped off and painted the edging white.
  • Painted the legs black.
  • Reattached the legs.
  • Cleaned and polished the top (twice).

Our old table is a high top, so the chairs wouldn’t transfer. Luckily Haute Look tossed the ones we’ve dreaming about on sale for $70 a piece (normally they’re $210). We picked up 4 reasoning that we can add the aqua ones we keep at the desk if we have a larger dinner party.

Put it all together and you get this!

So there you have it! We’re so excited to finally have it in place. Now, let’s see if I can convince Hubster to get that gallery wall up so we can call this quadrant done!

A globe under glass

15 Jun

Just a little vingnette in our condo that I’m loving:

Hubster bought the globe for me from Etsy. It’s actually a bank. It was originally intended for my desk at work, but I dropped it under the glass dome we picked up at half price on our last trip to Kansas City and it kind of just worked. The vases are full of old radio tubes. We bought an entire crate at an antique mall for just $20. This is only about 1/3 of the crate so we have plenty more to play with. And the camera is a Rolleicord that Hubster keeps around the house to shoot with. It’s a constant fixture, albeit a working one, so it made sense to get a home that made it readily accessible.

Things are starting to come together on the table (literally, Hubster is assembling it as we speak) and I can’t wait to share the transformation of the dining quadrant with you!

How sweet he is

9 Jun

At the end of May, Hubster and I celebrated our 6th anniversary. (Wow! Somehow ticking past the 5 year mark just makes me feel old.)

Normally you’d expect a gift exchange on an anniversary, but we’re really bad about gift giving. We have a tendency to buy what we want, which doesn’t leave a lot of extra wishes on our list. So the general assumption is “no gifts”… but that doesn’t always happen. Instead, one of us will get a wild hair, purchase a gift (or two) and leave the other one saying “I didn’t know we were doing this…”

Apparently it was my turn to feel a bit bad, because Hubster knocked it out of the park.

Gift 1: Milk glass cake stand

I’ve been eyeing one of these on Etsy, but it was a bit more than I wanted to spend. So every recent trip to an antique mall trip has been backed by the hope that I’d find one in the “wild”. It may have been the promise of more cakes or just a useful prop for my new cooking blog, whatever the inspiration I’m happy to have this baby in the house and counting down the days until I have a minute to bake.

Gift 2: An iPad of my very own

The key to this gift is the last part: it’s all mine. The first thing Hubster said after he bought “our” iPad was, “We probably need two of these.” I disagreed, partially because I wasn’t excited about spending that kind of money twice in one week. What I didn’t realize was this was some kind of guy code for “I will be using this technology exclusively and if you want more than visiting rights, you best get your own.” Lesson learned. A few weeks ago I announced that I did, indeed, need my own (preferably with 3G so we can use it while traveling) and he used our anniversary to fulfill that desire.

So, Hubster, good job! You’re amazing, as always! I love that you surprise me with things I wouldn’t buy for myself. Maybe next birthday/Christmas/anniversary I’ll come up with some awesome gifts for you. Until then, at least you’ll be getting cake.

Condo = Work in progress

7 Jun

I’ve had several requests for updated pictures of the condo, and, honestly, I’ve been dragging my feet. It’s not quite where we want it to be (i.e. picture perfect and magazine worthy). But I finally realized that everyone lives with their spaces in “not quite done” state at some point in their lives. So, why not give you a peek? You’ll have to excuse the mess and check back later when we’re a little further down the road. Also, check here for before pics.

For this tour, I’m starting from the back of the condo. It’s the most finished… as in, there are minor projects to attend to and not a “corner of shame”. The master bedroom benefited from a few coats of Porter Paint’s Dover Gray. Plus the red shelves we purchased while still at our house finally became our official bedside tables. We sold the red chair we had in our bedroom at our house because it didn’t fit well in the arrangement.

What still needs to be done? We relented and put up curtains when we couldn’t sleep past 6:30 in the morning. Unfortunately the cheap-o rod we bought for the big window didn’t quite make it… and neither did our duct tape fix. You can see half of it sadly hanging in the upper right of the first pictures. We have a new rod and the curtains sitting on the dresser waiting for us to have a minute to work on the house. We’re also installing a Lutron Maestro IR, which will let us dim the lights and control them from the bed. It’s a convenience we sorely miss. Besides that we have thoughts for decorations for our red shelves. More on that later. Oh, and we need art. (This will be a theme throughout). Luckily we brought some fog pictures from the house and they’ll go up soon.

Moving one shade up from Dover Gray, both bathrooms changed to Flagstone.

What still needs to be done? Both rooms needs art of some sort. I’d like to pull in the red accents from our bedroom in our master bath. In the extra bath I’m using golden towels that I thought I wouldn’t like, but seem to go with all the yellow wood in the room. Those may go or I may find a way to tie them in with some art.

The extra bedroom is the only room that didn’t get painted. The greenish color was good enough for the computer/workout room. You’ll notice we didn’t build the desk I was lusting after here. Instead, a little Craigslist luck came our way when we found this awesome mid-century desk that needed a home. It’s not the perfect size for the dual monitor set up, but we love it. And it gave us a place for our sweet teal chairs.

What needs to be done? You probably noticed there’s a door sitting amidst our weights. That came off when we realized the treadmill (which was assembled in the living room) didn’t exactly “fit”. So, the door needs rehung. Also, there’s no overhead lighting, so we have a nicer lamp coming. We probably need some art in here at some point, but that is low priority.

A few last stops in the hall before we get to the main space. In the interest of full disclosure. I shot the laundry closet. It is fairly full, but it functions well. Also, we converted the coat closet to a pantry.

And now we come to the place where a tour would normally begin: the main living space. The white did wonders for making the space feel brighter. We just used the Porter Paint base color with no tint. Nearly 5 gallons later…

Let’s go by quadrants.

The kitchen quarter: There’s not much to change here, but we would like to get some stools for the counter when we sell our high table. We’re also filling the top cabinets with milk glass pieces and we have a ways to go.

The dining quarter: The table has to go. We’ve been lusting after a formica topped table and finally found one a few months ago during a weekend in Kansas City. I’m sure the valets at our hotel thought we were nuts when we drove back with a table in the back of our jeep. It is currently sitting in the “corner of shame” as Hubster works on cleaning it up. Plus we have frames for a gallery wall, which will going in this corner very soon!

The living room quarter: This is the furthest from finished (even beyond the “corner of shame”) because we’ve decided we want a new couch and chairs long term. They fit well in our cozy home studio at the house, but don’t have enough style for the condo. Plus, you’ll probably noticed we have a lack of media storage… because moving boxes don’t count. Like the table, we’ve been scouring for a cool mid-century credenza to hold everything.  Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from setting up one vignette that I really like:

And, last and most shameful: the Corner of Shame

Corner of shame quarter: For now this is where our projects and decorations have been hanging out. Note the amazing stereo console that Hubster is gutting and will live under our TV. It deserves it’s own blog post and will get one soon. Also, note the totally awesome gray woodgrain formica table top leaning against the wall. Ditto on needing it’s own post.

What still needs to be done? Everything here needs a home. The big pieces already have one. Ultimately we’re building some industrial style shelves in this corner that will (hopefully) have a desk built in so Hubster can restore Polaroid cameras at night.

And, what turned out to be the most shameful picture when this was all assembled? The drop zone by the front door. This is what happens when you have 2 to 6 camera bags temporarily living in one space. I almost didn’t include this… but full disclosure right??

Man, that’s a lot of bags!

So there you have it. Condo as is. Thoughts?