Archive | November, 2011

in search of the perfect gray sectional

28 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We had a lovely four day weekend and I finally had some time off from shooting and editing! Now, it’s Monday so back to the grind!

I have been wanting to do a post about finding a sectional. This is our main living area now. The area where the sofa is used to be the dining room – separated from the old kitchen by a wall which we took down (see photo below). When we renovated, we loved the idea of having our kitchen and main living area all sort of connected…since the kitchen really is the heart of our house. This setup works great for our daily living with the three of us (Mike, myself, and Zoey) but isn’t as functional when we have gatherings – we really need more seating in the living room, because since it is so close to the kitchen it really is where everyone congregates. So, the sofa you see pictured will be moving down into the lounge area of our master bedroom (more on that to come soon) and we will be replacing it with a sectional.

Below left – the dining are pre-remodel, and at the tail end of the remodel

So, to help with this lack of seating, we have been on the hunt for a gray sectional to add more seating to our living area. We have some criteria which are making our decision quite difficult! First, I’ll share my “dream” sectional:

Behold, the Jonathan Adler Lampert Sectional. Since this is my “dream” sectional, I’d of course upgrade the fabric to Grade 7 Brussels Charcoal and course get the walnut legs. The total comes to $5500. YIKES. I am sure worth every penny, but just not feasible for us! So began the hunt for something comparable but in our price range. Our criteria?

  • Gray fabric (preferably not microfiber, since in our house it tends to collect dog hair!)
  • Must be a sectional with arms on both ends – not a sofa with a chaise.
  • Must fit in the dimensions of our room (max 110″ on the short wall and max 122″ on the railing wall)
  • Modern style, preferably with some tufting since I am obsessed with tufting
  • Cost less than $2500, but preferably less than 2k

So, with this criteria in mind (and our little tax refund in our pockets) we began the search many months ago. Some runners up (there were really not a lot of options that we found that we really loved):

Baxter Studio Alcoa Gray Sectional $1981.99 at and free shipping

This one we *almost* went with. We love how the sections can be rearranged and we love the general look of it. However, we were really hesitant to spend so much money on a sofa we couldn’t test in person, and we were nervous that it would be too firm/uncomfortable. It does have great reviews online though.

Another runner up was the new CB2 Dual Sectional at $1799. However, it was out of the running because it didn’t have an arm on the left side, only a chaise:

We also came really close to getting the Phoenix sectional from Z Gallerie – we saw it in person and really liked it. But, I am so glad we didn’t. It’s pretty boxy (yet comfortable) but doesn’t have the tufting that I love.

Our search for the perfect sectional then took us to the Build a Sofa – where we found THE ONE. The Oliver Sectional for us was the perfect combination of everything we were looking for – we were able to customize it to have arms on both ends, it had the wonderful mid century look that we really wanted (including tufting), the size ended up being just perfect for our space, and we even were able to select our fabric, the firmness of our cushions, and the number of pillows and cushions. We chose medium density and we will have one long bench cushion on each sofa. The selection of fabrics in the basic grade A group was really great – we chose an option called Avalon Gray that is a really nice gray chenille (I think not unlike the Jonathan Adler dream sofa). I sound like an infomercial for Build A Sofa, but I think it is a really cool concept, and affordable for being able to customize a sofa. I will be sure to post photos and a review once it arrives (which is the only downfall – it takes 4-6 weeks). We are really, really hoping to receive it before Xmas since we will be hosting a family gathering at our house. Fingers crossed! When we went in on our first visit we selected all of the options and the total came out to almost $2700 which was just out of our budget (and this was including a $200 off per sectional piece sale). However, last week the saleslady called us to tell us that they would be having a black Friday sale promo for 20% off and free delivery (which previously was $99). So, we went for it! And the total came to $2416 for everything – a little more than we were hoping to spend but still within our budget. We can’t wait to see her in person! 


the big reveal!

14 Nov

So, it all started way back in June! We entered a “Makeover your Social Space”  contest sponsored by American Express and featured on one of my favorite design blogs – Making it Lovely. To our delight (and much surprise), we won!! What did we win, you ask?We were so thrilled to receive 150,000 American Express rewards points (which for those of you who are wondering equates to about $1500 in gift cards). So, armed with a great design board from Nicole we set out to redo our patio space. We didn’t make it very far, however, until we realized that we never would really be happy with our front patio space so long as we had to live with ugly and rotting hunter green original 1972 siding, minty green trim, and vintage Spanish light fixtures and arches that were just not our cup of tea. So, first we set out to rid ourselves of the stucco arched wall. Armed with the equivalent of $800 in gift cards from Home Depot – we put in some sweat equity (which turned into A LOT of sweat equity), demoed the wall in a weekend, and set out to rebuilding it as a modern slat wood privacy wall. When I say “we” as far as rebuilding, I really mean the hubby Mike 🙂 I am not so skilled with carpentry per say, but we will say that I was his “helper” throughout the project. We used our Home Depot gift cards to purchase paint, screws, the actual wood for the frame and for the slats, and the new house numbers. I think we probably saved a couple thousand in labor by doing it ourselves (though we gave up quite a few weekends to build it, and of course during the hottest time of the year).

So, here is what we started with:

Bye bye ugly stucco arches:

Hello awesome modern wood slat wall.

So, with the slat wall completed and new fixtures hung we hated our old green siding even more – especially with the juxtaposition of the new modern slat wall and the old decaying siding. So, we set out to get a small home improvement loan to redo it. This took several months – if you are planning on a home improvement project which involves a loan, even a small one, don’t plan on it taking any less than 2 months. In the end, I think it took close to 3 months.

So, we interviewed several contractors and settled on my uncle – who is a contractor here in Austin, to do the work. We like to keep it in the family, and we knew he would do an amazing job. Which he did. And he did so many extra things that we hadn’t even thought of – like wrapping the rough textured and rotting beams with hardi and removing, painting, and reinstalling the gutters.

So now, it is time for the grand reveal! Once again, here is where we started:

And now!

right side before


left side before


patio area before


front entry before


I LOVE the way the white soffit/fascia looks with the gray beams.

back of house before


So, that’s the big reveal! I wish I could say we are done, but we aren’t! Our patio makeover isn’t quite complete because we still have some little and some big things left to do. Here is our list:

  • purchase furnishings for patio with the remainder of the gift cards (west elm and crate and barrel) and set up the patio
  • get a new doorbell (see photo below)
  • hang retro metal mailbox

And we love the vintage original brass peephole that is in our door – but the finish doesn’t really match the chrome finishes we’ve chosen for the outdoor fixtures and doorknob…so there is that situation to deal with…

So, that’s all for now. I’ll post updates as I find furniture for the patio! And I’ll soon be posting some updated house photos and we’re thinking about starting some work on the downstairs den/master bedroom area…we’ve lived with it half done for a very long time now…

paint tease!

7 Nov

Two posts in one day? What?! I’ve finally got my head above water – crazy wedding season is coming to an end for me this Saturday! I’ve still got shoots and weddings, but at a much more manageable pace from now until the end of the year 🙂

I still have yet to take pro pictures of the siding remodel all painted, but here is a little teaser pic taken with my ever so convenient Iphone 🙂 The colors aren’t very accurate in this pic (the door is pretty bright but not quite THAT bright)! Professional pics coming later this week, including before and afters!



austin craigslist blog

7 Nov

If you’re in Austin, you should bookmark/subscribe to this site! She is posting some great Austin Craigslist finds on a daily basis! I know I don’t always have the time to sort thru a bunch of craigslist listings!

Also, if you’re in Austin and in need of a mid century sofa, we’re selling one! Check it out here! This is the sofa that is currently in our very large master bedroom (large enough for a king bed and a living area). We are planning to get a new sectional sofa for our upstairs living area, and move the sofa that is currently in there down to our bedroom. So stay tuned for details on that.



siding | before paint

5 Nov

Ok, I have to admit I am about a week behind with photos but I think they are worth the wait! I wanted to share some pics of the siding once they were about done and the painters had started caulking and puttying in preparation for paint!

So, here is where it all started! Way back in JUNE! All of this original paint was selected by the previous owners – definitely not our preference! And we weren’t in love with the spanish style light fixtures or the stucco spanish arch privacy wall, among other things.

So here is the wide shot of the house, all re-sided and ready for paint. One of the most amazing things we ended up doing was wrapping the posts in the front courtyard/patio with hardi board. Previously, they were very ugly cedar beams, and some of them were rotting. They are very expensive and labor intensive to replace, so wrapping  them was the best option. It will extend their life for some time and they work so much better with the new siding since the smooth finish matches the siding.

Right side of the house during work.

Left side of the house during work.

Here is a shot of the front patio in progress.

Next up: paint! My favorite part!! Here is where we started way back when with selecting paint colors (these are Behr colors). In choosing the paint, we stuck with these pretty closely.

And below are our final paint swatches for the house color. We ended up having to use Kelly Moore paint because that is the paint that our painters preferred. So, for the soffit and the fascia we wanted to use the same white that we used on the slat wood wall, which meant they had to color match it. They were able to do that, it worked out well. We aren’t those people who paint tons of swatches before we make a paint decision. We basically went to Kelly Moore, picked out a bunch of gray swatches (for the siding) and yellow swatches (for the front door). Then, we brought the swatches home, narrowed it down to 2 gray swatches, and got samples mixed. Below were the results of those samples – they look really similar (and they are!) but the one on the left has a little more green and the one on the right has a tad bit more blue. They are still both pretty neutral grays. Stay tuned next week for finished pics of the painted siding and to see what colors we chose!

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