Monday, September 29, 2008

Maybe you should let the kids color on the walls... for practice

Check out this family room in Lexington, Kentucky, where a guy decorated the walls using Magic Markers and Sharpies. Among other people featured: Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw and Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Talk about a low-cost redesign... You can read the full story and see panoramic views at

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Friday, September 26, 2008

A few more details about a few vintage items

I got a few questions about some items that showed up in yesterday's post regarding my purchases at the Brimfield Antiques Show.

Carrie of Buzzings of a Queen Bee wanted to know more about the Memory Lane plates I bought. She wrote: "I am in love with that Memory Lane pattern (from a distance). Can you show us a close up? I have been hunting for a pretty cranberry and white pattern for Christmas for years and can never find it, but maybe I don't know what to look for?"

They're actually a little more on the red/pink side in person but I do think they would be pretty at Christmastime.

It's transfer ware stamped Royal Ironstone. It was made in the 1950s and 1960s.

The pattern is pretty easy to find, although I think the prices tend to vary. I hope that helps, Carrie.

Cher from The Texas Woman was wondering about the printing tray on my mantel. "Please show us a close-up of the collectibles in the case on the mantel. Looks interesting."

I'm glad you like it, Cher. It's holds a little shell collection, as you can see in this closeup. I bought this one, but I've made them as well.

I really like this one because all the shells are different, with no repeats. It feels like someone was collecting specimens. Thanks for your interest, Cher.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Brimfield stole my heart, but not a lot of my cash (this time)

It's been crazy busy here at At Home Redesigns... lots of projects under way. But I thought I'd take a little breather and show you (finally) what I bought (for my personal consumption anyway) at the Brimfield Antiques Show earlier this month.

It was definitely one of the less expensive trips for me. No big purchases. I did get:

  • Three Santa ornaments. I'm not clear if they are vintage, but they have the look. Just $2 each.
  • The animal skin (faux) covered cocktail shaker ($10) as a little gift for my sister Kat. Unless she is reading this, then it cost a LOT more than that.
  • Three plates in the Memory Lane pattern. I picked up a huge set at an auction a few years ago for a song. So I add plates whenever I see them at a good price. These were $2 each.
  • The wooden box ($5) will go in my bathroom to hold toiletries on the counter.
  • A vintage Star Wars lunchbox for my son ($20). It's not in the photo cause he was already playing with it, storing his Star Wars action figures in this much-loved, a-little-dented and a-little-rusty lunch box.
  • And the vintage wooden pins (juggling? a game?) are now on my fireplace mantel.

They were $40 for the three, which I thought was a good deal.

I know, a shockingly small pile, huh? But I had a great time checking stuff out, seeing what's popular and getting a feel for prices. Not again until May...sigh...

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Love These Ideas! Sunday

Have you ever found a vintage item you just love, but can't figure out how to display it so you actually get to look at it often? These ladies present a few solutions:

Jan Ely of Little Pink Houses put these aprons to work as curtains in her kitchen.

And Sherry Williams of Sherry's Rose Cottage displays this vintage prom dress in her dining room. It's on a wire dress form and she's added matching vintage gloves and a hat.

Isn't this better than stashing these finds in a closet or in drawers? Aprons and prom dresses may not be your thing, but there might just be something that you've got tucked away that would make a great "statement piece" - that that says something about you in your home.

Anyone got any other ideas out there for displaying favorite finds?

I'd love to hear more ideas for future I Love These Ideas! Sunday columns.

Drop me an email at: if you've got an idea of yours or someone else's to share.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Painting antiques? Sure... most of the time

How cute is this dresser? My friend Marianne picked it up for her shop a few weeks ago when we were shopping at the Brimfield Antiques Show. It's hand painted.

I had a ton of fun redesigning Marianne's store recently using this and her other Brimfield finds, like these painted table and chairs.

We were definitely drawn to painted furniture during this trip. I know some people don't like to paint antiques. But here's my take: I would never paint an antique that is valuable or unique. But there are a lot of pieces out there that are rather ordinary... until someone paints them and then, wham, super cute.

And painted pieces can be so much more versatile. Today, white. Tomorrow, black. And then one day, who knows, pink with polka dots...

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Room makeover, a before & after: Great stuff in this great room

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite things about a recent great room re-design that I did.

This couple has a beautiful home in a terrific setting, with a horse, sheep, a goose, a chicken (not a rooster... which is what I originally called it... cause I'm not exactly a country girl...) cats and dogs.

They love nature as you can readily tell when you look around their home.

But a lot of the items they have collected are little, and they were lost in this big room. Do you see the eggs on the mantel in the before photo? They were up much too high to be appreciated.

So, I took a cabinet that was filled with glassware and situated near the dining table and instead moved it into the living area. I took all the little artifacts from around the room and displayed them there instead.

It's kind of like a miniature museum of natural history. Now you can really appreciate each item.

For the rest of the room, I focused on using large objects that wouldn't get lost... such as the mirror and plants on the mantel and the birdhouse on the console table.

Here are a few more before and after photos I thought you might like to see...

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

The best Christmas ornaments you'll ever buy - or else...

This post is a little detour from my usual I Love These Ideas! Sunday column.... but I knew you would forgive me because A) you will love this idea and B) it involves my mother and everyone knows shameless promotion is OK if it involves your mother.

My mother, Mickie Harrington-Rodway, owns a small business called Christmas Memories.

She handcrafts and personalizes Christmas ornaments of her own design. (See the one below? I was the model for that one.)

They are adorable and she will personalize them however you want. Her handwriting is impeccable. I'm showing some of the designs here, but there are a lot more.

They're only $6.95 each and the shipping is free within the United States.

The ornaments have been popular locally for years, but now she's branching out with a website.

People here buy her year after year, so their kids can
have personalized ornaments to mark their growing up. They also use them to commemorate: baby's first Christmas, an engagement or marriage or a new home.

Plus they make great gifts for grandparents, teachers or, heck, anyone with a tree.

So, if you're in the market for some fun, beautifully crafted ornaments, check her out.

Now, Mom, can I stay up late? Get a Brady Bunch lunchbox? Have a sleepover party?

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lamp shades: Not just for your head

Every time I visit Gloria Lombard's booth at the Brimfield Antiques Show in Massachusetts, I leave behind a significant amount of drool. (Sorry, Gloria.) But, I bet you would, too.

Gloria Lombard Designs, of Charleston, S.C., creates handmade lamp shades that are inspired by designs from England, France, and Italy. According to her website, most of her shades are made from vintage or antique textiles.

Her website mentions that she also makes pillows and sells vintage and antique textiles and small antiques and collectibles. But it is her beautifully made lamp shades that I notice.

She explains that many of them are "one of a kind," or perhaps two or three of a kind if she has enough fabric. But once a design is gone, it's gone. So, if you are looking for something really special to finish a room, check her out.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Scariest thing about some vintage Halloween items: The price

If you collect vintage Halloween decorations, there's always a lot to choose from at the Brimfield Antiques Show (where I visited last week for a few days). But, let me tell you, this stuff doesn't come cheap.

I overheard a dealer saying that prices had gone down a bit about six years ago, but now are back as strong as ever. I love looking, but I hardly ever buy. Even the stuff from the '60s and '70s can be expensive. The prices on early decorations can be in the $100s.

Many of the older decorations were made of paper and tons of them got ruined or tossed, leaving fewer behind. So... scoop up whatever you see if you're out at yard sales or estate sales.

Some booths were decked out for autumn. I loved the display by Log Cabin Country Primitives.

They did a great job pairing mums and pumpkins with the items they were selling. See how they used the long box as a table centerpiece? You could do that, maybe with an old toolbox.

Or you could copy this little arrange on the cupboard. Most dealers don't take the time to set up their booths like this, but I find myself drawn to the ones that do. Such a simple thing to do, too.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Brimfield brought to you

I spent Thursday and Friday at the Brimfield Antiques Show in Massachusetts, so I thought I'd give you a look at that instead of running my usual I Love These Ideas! Sunday column.

The show features field after field of antique and vintage items. There's so much stuff that even after spending eight hours each day, we left a whole lot unseen. (I think the super hot weather slowed us down a bit, but we got in and out before the rain and winds from Hurricane Hanna arrived.)

We (meaning me, my friend Marianne who owns Consignments Ltd. in Wakefield, RI, and shops Brimfield for that, and her mother, antiquer extraordinaire) bought quite a bit from the White Home Collections booth.

The shabby chic and cottage booth featured lots of great painted furniture and fabrics. The six chairs that Marianne bought with the pedestal table had new blue toile fabric. Pretty.

Here's another booth that caught our eye. Roomers & Bloomers used beautiful fabric, too. She sells out of Virginia.

This handsome telescope had cherry wood and brass fixtures. It was $200 and I was wishing I could use it somewhere...

We noted more stuff from the '70s this time around. These PEACE chairs would be awesome in the right house (minus the oddly paired floral fabric). The dealer was asking $600 for the six of them.

We saw lots of oak card catalogues and pharmacy cabinets. I love these for family rooms for holding CDs or DVDs. This one was priced at $975.

You could put this cabinet to the same use. It was $595. If you were shopping for new furniture, you couldn't get anything that solid and that cute at that price.

Here's Marianne. I know what you're wondering.... didn't her knuckles get sore with all that walking? Oh, I mean, you probably want to know the price of the gorilla: It was $499. No idea where it was before it was at Brimfield.

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