Treasure Hunting

Dining Room Serendipity


Our dining room has never felt "done" in the 5.5 years that we've been in this house.  Even when I declared it done previously I think I was just trying to convince myself unsuccessfully.  There's a reason that I've never taken proper photos of this room- it's never been worthy.  It's been through several evolutions and I'm super excited about my latest plans for it!!  I swear, either the universe or the side-of-the-road trash gods have been smiling on me.  My plans have been evolving slowly for this room, then suddenly fell into place Wednesday.  



Let's see if I can quickly catch you up on this space....  Our dining room has changed a bit over time, but it's always felt unsettled and never a room that I wanted to shout from the rooftops or post to instagram.  It doesn't look like an interior designer's dining room.  This is what it looked like back in 2013 when I last did any major work in here.  I feel like my style has grown so much in the past few years that this room is just an ancient relic constantly reminding me of design missteps (melodramatic much?).


dining current


A few small things have changed since that photo such as adding a second curtain panel to each window (why in the world did I think just one panel per window would be chic??), banishing the painted chairs for calmer, matching chairs, and switching up the mantle/piano top decor.  Yep, in 2.5 years, that's all I've touched in here.  We don't use the room a ton, but we walk through it every time we need to get to the kitchen- I just put my blinders on and envision the dining room of my dreams.

Things that have ALWAYS felt off to me about this space are

  • too small light fixture
  • 'temporary' art over the piano has long overstayed it's welcome
  • the paint color.  The bane of my dining room existence.  I love a purple dining room, but this is not the right purple or sheen.  It's not bad in person, but it's positively horrific in photos.
  • the piano and liquor cabinet compete with each other
  • the captain's chairs are a chenille fabric which is very enticing to kitty claws and shows every little pull.

While I've been itching (more like twitching) to do something about this room, I've been trying to curb house spending since Hubby recently joined me in self-employment as the best darn Realtor you could ever work with.  Thanks to several side of the road finds, though I can finally make big changes in this space for a reasonable budget!

My first side of the road game-changer was a set of chairs.  Before I go on, let me say, it's not that I live somewhere where there's always amazing stuff on the side of the road- I just ALWAYS have my picker radar up.  It's a keen skill that I thank my parents for.  SO over the winter when I saw a pile of furniture around the corner from my house, 4 of these midcentury chairs just jumped into my car.  Chairs jumping into my car has been a longstanding issue, however I think this time it was well worth it.  They need refinishing and clearly reupholstering, but we've been using them for months as is.




To address another issue- the competing and crowding piano and liquor cabinet, I'll be building a built-in china cabinet similar to this one:


source: Vibeke Design

Instead of building it from scratch like I did with my living room built-in, I plan to use vintage doors and a vintage dresser if I can find one the right size.  Much like the living room shelving, though, I've had this idea stuck in my head since shortly after moving.  When an idea sticks for that long, I really need to listen to it.  That's actually what lead me to my second roadside revelation.  After scouring Craigslist, I drove 45 minutes to pick up these vintage wood doors complete with hardware for a whopping $4 total.




On the way to the pick up location, I passed a trash pile.  Not a pile of furniture like with the chairs, but a literal trash pile.  A trash pile with a 3' tall hexagonal gold, framed gem sticking out of it.  I don't even want to know what was smeared all over it, but I'm still in complete disbelief that I found this on the side of the road!  This mirror is seriously huge and dreamy.  And with that find, my dining room plans are falling into place.




The moral of today's post is keep your eyes peeled and you'll find treasures is all kinds of places!   And ugh that color.  Yes I chose that color 4 years ago and was over it 3 years ago.  I personally think that purple is one of the best colors there is, but it needs to be toned down a notch, a bit more gray, and most importantly matte and not semi-gloss.  #liveandlearn

I'll be back next week with my complete vision for the room.  Until then, have a great weekend and happy picking!!








Thrift Score Thursday


thrift score thursday You guys know how addicted I am to thrifting, right?  I've been an instagram follower and participant of #ThriftScoreThursday for a while, so I was honored when the lovely thrifting ladies asked me to guest host with them this week!  If you're new to Thrift Score Thursday, here's a quick catch-up: it's a weekly instagram link up party of thrifty goodness hosted by The Gathered Home, Primitive and Proper, A Designer at Home, and Maggie Overby Studios.  The party goes all week- any day of the week, just hashtag any of your awesome finds from thrift store, antique shops, tag sales, estate sales, or even the side of the road with #thriftscorethursday.  Every Thursday, the hosts share their own finds as well as their favorites of what was posted with the hashtag throughout the week.

My Latest Finds:

I do have to sadly admit that tag sales and estate sales have been sorely lacking around these parts lately, but never fear, I still manage to find a few goodies!

Last week I adopted this sweet brass birdcage for a whopping $3 and a few weeks back the little glass bubble sculpture came home with me for $1.  I keep carrying the birdcage from room to room- it fits everywhere and nowhere at the same time... I'm just waiting for it to tell me where it wants to live.. that's not weird, right?

Thrift score thursday latest finds

The thrift find that I'm most giddy about hasn't actually come home from the thrift store yet:  2 sets of these awesome vintage wood theater seats are heading for the dance studio that I told you about Monday.  Not my usual cheap cheap deal, but a great value and they're salvaged from a local building- I can't wait to see them in the studio!

thrift score thursday wood theater chairs


My Faves from Your Finds:

(from the #thriftscorethrusday instagram feed)

I'm beyond jealous of @undecorated_home's craigslist night stand finds!  She's already lovingly restored the one on the right and the grain really shines now.  Nice job!

@undecorated_home's thrift score night stands


@littlehouseoffour scored this vintage campaign desk for $20!

@littlehouseoffour's thrift score campaign desk


AND can we talk about this amazing chair that @chelsea_stylemutthome got for FREE???  The heart eye emoji isn't heart-eyed enough for this chair.

@chelsea_stylemutthome's thrift score chair


On a non furniture note, @at_home_in_maywood busted this little lady's head open and I'm so glad she did.  Plants are a perfect headdress for her!

@at_home_in_maywood's thrift score planter bust


Pop on over to my awesome cohost's blogs to see what they've scored lately and what they're swooning over!

Thrift Score Thursday Maggie

Thrift Score Thursday Corinna ADAH

Thrift Score Thursday Cassie

Thrift Score Thursday Brynne color






Flip House Hunting

I keep getting asked what the next flip is and you know what?  I don't know yet!  Now that Dori finally sold just about 2 weeks ago, I'm officially back to flip house hunting.  In the past 2 weeks, I've checked out 6 properties with my Realtor and need to run a bunch of numbers to see if any are feasible as money-makers.  We touched a little on the hunting/buying process last year in my Flipping Q&A series, but I figured today I'd open up a little window into my head and share what my thought process is and what I'm thinking when I walk through houses that I'm considering to flip. Exhibit A- A current 2 family/potential one family in a great historic area on a corner lot.

Flip House Hunting potential-flip-1

It looks promising from the outside.  While it would be so easy to focus on how cute it is and that I want to fall in love with it, I have to look at it through $$ shaped sunglasses.  Right off the bat I see it needs a paint job, some exterior wood repair, most likely new windows, and a bit of landscaping.  As I walk through each house, I keep a running tally in my head for what I estimate the renovations to be.  So far on this one, my reno estimate is around $30k and we're not even inside yet.  Even with that work that I see it needs, I'm starting to wonder why the house is priced so low for the area.  Then we step inside and find out why.

This was a rare property for us to walk through and was actually occupied.  Most of the houses we walk through are foreclosures, short sales, or estate sales and some haven't seen occupants in many many years.  This one has 2 renters currently, so out of respect for them, my interior shots are of specific elements of the house and not wide overall shots.

The first room we walked in was apartment #1's kitchen and the low price started to make sense.  This house was built in 1782.  This kitchen is straight out of 1982.  My favorite feature is the swoosh of linoleum by the cabinets and the carpet everywhere else.   With cabinets, flooring (!), appliances, drywall work, plumbing, etc, this kitchen could run 15-20k as part of the overall reno.

Flip House Hunting potential-flip-2

And the bathroom.... with carpet on the floor and a mint green tub and sink.....  While I actually kinda dig the mint green fixtures for a fun retro bathroom- this is not the house or area for that kind of design risk.  Carpet on the floor of  bathroom always give me the heebie jeebies.... It's a small bathroom, so I mentally add 5k to my tally.

Flip House Hunting potential-flip-4

The ceilings throughout are very low, but the home does have a few neat original features still intact.

Flip House Hunting

Flip House Hunting potential-flip-6

Throughout the entire first floor unit, pretty much every room needs wallpaper removal, floor installation or refinishing, and drywall repair.

The entryway that connects the 2 units is kind to the budget and just needs cosmetics and repairing or replacing the stair treads up to the second floor.

Flip House Hunting potential-flip-3

So we head up to see the second unit.  Even smaller size-wise with the same cosmetic issues throughout, although not as much original character.  The kitchen up here, however is a HUGE problem.  If you look past the current tenants stuff (and the pee pad for the 2 little pups that were kept in the room), the kitchen is barely functional.  There was not a single full-size appliance to be seen.  I've been in cheap hotel rooms with better cooking space.

Flip House Hunting potential-flip-7

The bathroom was just as bad if not worse.  It only made sense if you knocked down the wall between and connected the 2.

But that's where my agent, Amy and I start discussing the feasibility of this being a single family or staying a 2 family.  The layout really isn't ideal for either, but it has potential.  Even more potential if I move around walls and really change it up.  Not out of the picture if the $s work, but in order to figure that out, we need to see the basement and utilities.  This could always make or break a reno budget.  Can you imagine which this one was?

Flip House Hunting potential-flip-8

Let's just say the image below is what you DON'T want to see in a basement.  Knob and tube wiring and sills that have both termite damage and rot.  When I say sills, I mean the wood pieces that sit directly on the foundation that the entire house sits on....  Those 2 problems right there are a MIN $20k fix right there, maybe more depending on if the sills can be repaired and how.

Flip House Hunting potential-flip-9

But the basement's joy didn't end there.  To get to the other half of the basement you had literally go down the rabbit hole.  We were not having that.  But we had yet to find the electrical panel which is normally in the basement, so instead we prayed it was hiding elsewhere.

Flip House Hunting potential-flip-10

Luckily we were right and the electrical panel was hidden in a cabinet in the first floor laundry room.  Unluckily it was ancient and a dangerous brand of fuses.  More $.

Flip House Hunting potential-flip-11

When we were all finished with the walk-through, my mental tally was up to a min $110k renovation budget and probably more since we always like to add on at least 10% for 'sh*t we forgot.'  While the cosmetics of 2 kitchens, 2 bathrooms, floor refinishing, etc adds up fast, the real cost here is electrical, structural repair, windows, plumbing- aka the not so pretty stuff.

My take-away from this house:  It's not stricken from the possibilities list just yet, but probably.  Before I write it off completely, my agent Amy is checking into a few things (like if the termite damage has been treated or if it's an ongoing problem....).  With a reno budget realistically around $120k and asking price of currently $225k, it's just not feasible.  Resale is potentially around $350k, making the room for profit here approximately zero.  Zero profit does not make for a good flip, you know.  As much as I love old houses and want to save every single one, unless I partner with a rich benefactor that just wants to throw money at restoring old houses, I need to make sure there's room for profit.  C'est la vie flipping.  Guess I'll keep hunting!