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Category Archives: Home Decor

Mom’s Fabulous 50’s Kitchen

This fun 50’s Breakfast Room belongs to my mom and stepdad.  My mom wanted to decorate with a 50’s/diner theme and I think it turned out really great.  It is even more impressive when you know what the room looked like when they bought the house.


Here is their kitchen with its 50’s make-over.

And below is the creepy BEFORE picture.

Isn’t this how the kitchen is supposed to look when the house is on the market??? Oh. My. Word!

Another view of the current style….

And another terrifying BEFORE shot.

Another wall in the kitchen…..

And below we have a BEFORE shot of the same wall.

When Mom first found her ‘dream house’, I thought she had lost her mind!  =)   To say the place was disgusting is an understatement.  After they bought the house, we removed trash by thedumptruck load!  (Luckily my brother-in-law owned a dumptruck…It definitely came in handy.)

The house was a disgusting, dirty ‘cat box’ with walls reeking of nicotine.  What an undertaking!!  But with lots of TLC (and disinfectant) it has evolved into a wonderful, welcoming home.

Let’s take closer look at the breakfast room!  Cheerful yellow walls and red gingham curtains serve as a perfect backdrop for all of the 50’s and diner memorabilia.  The red table is such a great focal point that adds to the diner theme.

One major change in this space was replacing the single window on the end wall with a double window.   The ‘wood’ floor is vinyl–easy to clean!

The Drive In ticket in the photo below is from The Trianon, where my mom actually worked!  Isn’t that so fun???

The hamburger and fries ‘meal’ was ordered online from a restaurant supply website.

The kitchen is filled with more diner decor.

For the keyholder, we added cuphooks to a painted  board.  The bottle caps add some fun.

We painted the backsplash in the kitchen with chalkboard paint so that Mom can add ‘menu items’ to the wall.

Dishwashing soap and hand soap are kept in mustard and ketchup bottles, while the dish scrubber sits in an A&W mug.

The wallpaper border was our ‘inspiration piece’- It has a fun 50’s feel to it.

Frames hold class rings and actual photos of my parents from high school.  I love how these things make the room so personal while adding the perfect 50’s vibe.

45RPM records make great wall decorations!  The jukebox replica and original Wassell’s Dance poster echo the wallpaper ‘sockhop’ theme.

The metal sign on the refrigerator is painted with chalkboard paint so the message can be updated.   Magnets placed behind the sign hold it firmly in place.

I am still amazed when I look at the BEFORE and AFTER photos of these wonderful rooms!  The rest of the rooms are just as great so you can be sure I will be sharing more of this wonderful home!!!


Designing a Photo Wall

Designing a Photo Wall

A large grouping of photos or art can be difficult to arrange but here are a few tips to make the task a bit easier.


First of all, gather all of the photos and frames that you might want to use and lay them out on the floor.  Play around with different arrangements until you find something that you like.  Use a tape measure so that your design will correspond with the size of the wall space.


When you have a design that you like TAKE A PHOTO of it with your digital camera so that you can refer back to it as you are working on the wall.

Arrange your photos on the floor.

Next, take some heavy craft paper and trace outlines of all of your frames or accent pieces.    (I didn’t have heavy paper…and I am impatient…so I used wrapping paper instead.  I recommend using the heavier paper because it is much easier to work with on the wall.)

Tape templates onto your wall.

A thrifty way to unify the look of your frames is to paint them all the same color.  I used a satin black spray paint.

Painting frames the same color can unify the design.

Awesome tip:  Pound tacks into the back of the frames to elevate them while they are being painted.  No more sticking to your drop cloth or having puddles of paint stuck to the edges.

Elevate the frames with tacks to make painting quick and easy.


ANOTHER awesome tip:  To locate the exact location of your frame hanging hardware, use your printer and photocopy the back of the frame.

If the frame is larger than the scanning surface of the printer, only copy the portion of the frame where the hanger is located.  Then tape the image to your original template to show where the hardware is located.

Copy the back of your frame using your printer.
Frame too large? Just copy the end with the hanger and tape it to the larger outline of the frame.


Position your templates on the wall using painters tape or masking tape.  I used a level to make sure everything was lining up correctly.

Position templates exactly where you want them.


You can put the nails or screws right through the template.

Nail right through the template!


Then tear off the paper template and hang your frame!


JUST right!



This template method makes designing a photo wall really easy.  You can even do it by yourself!  No need to bribe a friend to help hold frames on the wall while you spend hours debating if it’s ‘right’.  Your friends will thank you.  Trust me on this one.

I am not calling this wall finished just yet.  I am thinking of adding a very narrow bench.  And maybe even bring some of the wood element to the top of the wall with a wooden sign of some sort.  We’ll see!

Now it just needs a little bench…and maybe a plant? =)

Since I’m not busy changing the world today….

                                         I know it isn’t important in the scheme of life


                                                     I switched my area rugs today.

                                                            (Insert smiley face here.)

The lighting on these photos leaves a lot to be desired.  But hopefully you get the idea.

So…which one do YOU like better, brown paisley (left) or cream with color bursts (right)?

Half Bath Painting

Like the rest of the condo, the half bath between our living room and kitchen/dining area started out white.  White fixtures, white walls and ceiling, white vinyl.  A blank slate for sure!  I found a cute rug and matching towels at Target that served as my inspiration.

I love the stripes and all of the colors.

After several trips to the paint center (and bringing  home enough sample cards to paper a room with) I decided on Behr Kittery Point Green.  I am famous for painting and repainting until I get ‘just the right’ color…but I don’t have the budget for that !  ( …or the energy now that I am *ahem* older)

Behr Kittery Point Gre

 The color gives me sporadic thoughts of pistachio desserts, but overall I like the choice for the space…..for now, at least.  =)

I have always loved the blue painted wall shelf.  I added some fun beachy accessories and also some extra touches of blue.

Hadley Pottery Sailboat Mug

I found those sand dollars on the beach!

The downside of having a pedestal sink is that there is no built-in storage in the room.  The room is a good size so I was able to fit in a metal baker’s rack from Walmart.  It was black went I bought it but some white spray paint made it just right.  =)

These baskets from TJMaxx are a great fit!

I found the fish at the Hadley Factory in Louisville.

I framed this fun poster and put it on the long wall behind the door.

The room is coming along.  The biggest challenge is the mirror.  It is a cheap builder-grade mirror that is SECURELY glued to the drywall.  I am debating how to update it without having to pull it off and damage the wall.  I have seen some fun ideas with shells, rope, or tile but I need more inspiration!


If you have an idea, I would LOVE to hear from you!

Now that the half bath is painted, there are NO MORE WHITE WALLS on the second floor of the condo.

Progress.  =)

Shell Towel Rack

Shell Towel Rack!

My friend Peggy thought of this great way to add a beachy touch to her pool area.  Isn’t it awesome??

She found a piece of old barnwood and asked her Very Handy Hubby to attach four large shells to it.

Simple and SO FUN!!!

I can’t wait to take some photos of Peggy and Dave’s amazing yard/gardens/pool!!!  It is one of my very favorite places!

Tackling the Double Decker Stairwell of Doom

Double Decker
Stairwell of Doom

One of the major adjustments of moving to San Diego is getting used to all of the PEOPLE.  So. Many. People.

In Indiana I could look out the window and see NATURE.  In San Diego, I look out the window and see PEOPLE.  Before you begin to think that I am anti-social, let me tell you that I LOVE people- just not people yelling at their kids, or arguing at all times of the night, etc. Every time I would look outside, I would see people.  Most often it was the same woman- often in a bathrobe- sitting on the steps to her apartment complex, smoking a cigarette.  It didn’t seem to matter what time I looked outside, THERE SHE WAS!   (We are talking about a serious nicotine addiction here!)  Each time I saw her, I felt my spirits dip a bit further.  My mind was racing… “I just don’t know if I can DO this.  I miss my quiet house on the hill.”

During this time, my new husband probably wondered what HE had gotten into as well!  Previously not much of a cry-baby, I could now let loose at just the mention of my kids..or when I got a ticket for parking in a ‘boat trailer space’ at the bay (Hey, we don’t HAVE those spaces in Indiana!)…or talking about holiday plans…. Heaven forbid he ask me how I was doing!  He was so sweet and patient with me.

Once my crying jags lessened, I decided to creatively block my view of ‘smoker chick’.  My friend Peggy, who is also my partner in crime when it comes to stained glass, came out to visit and while she was here she helped me organize work space in the garage.  I had drawn a design idea for stained glass windows for the stairwell so, with Peggy cracking the whip helping, we got them started.

No more ‘bathrobed smoker chick’!

This solution really was perfect for allowing light into the stairwell but blocking the less-than-desirable view.

One down…one to go!

I spent many weeks trying to figure out how to tackle painting the 20+ ft high walls in our stairwell.  Fortunately we own a sixteen foot extension ladder.  Unfortunately it was not tall enough to reach the top of those towering walls.  I think I could have paid a painter with the amount of money I spent at Home Depot buying extension poles!

Huge Walls, Huge Project!


I finally found a solution!  I built a platform that extended the horizontal surface of the stairs.  Then I was able to turn the ladder sideways in the narrow stairwell and get a bit closer to the top of those monster walls.  I still had to use a paintbrush attached to the end of a long extension pole to cut in a few areas.  Uh, yeah…don’t look too closely.

Home-made Ladder Extender


Painting Done! Now to hang some photos!

Please forgive the bad photos…It seems there is always a glare when I try to take get a shot of the windows.

I am really glad to have that painting job over with!  If I had to do it again, I might hire it done.  It was a beast! One great thing that I discovered during this project is the LAMBS WOOL paint roller cover.  (Insert the heavens opening and a choir of angels singing.)  This roller cover holds at least twice as much paint as a regular cover- and that is a BIG deal when you are climing an extension ladder!

Lambswool Roller Cover = AMAZING!!!

With Rounded Corners, Where Can I Stop??? Living Room Paint Project

After painting a few smaller spaces, I decided it was time to tackle the LIVING ROOM.

When the husband leaves on a business trip the condo goes from organized space to


Living Room Chaos!

I found a soft, neutral yellow color that I love for our condo.

Behr Sand Pearl
from Home Depot

Behr Sand Pearl
Paint and Primer in one!

I am using it in the living room, dining and kitchen areas, and stairwells. There is A LOT of it, so I am glad that I really like it!!!  =)  It is hard to see the difference in photos but it has really softened up the feel of the space.

Remember before?

Living Room Before

Awkward space for TV


Here are a few “After”…or should I say “In Transition”?

Living Room After

It’s still a gaping hole…but at least it’s not WHITE!

I found this woven chair at the resale shop. I also love the compass rose (from Pier One) on the wall behind it.

I am still wrestling with what to do about the sofa, love seat and gargantuan recliner.  =)  The sofa and love seat are extremely faded but still VERY comfortable – kinda like the ratty jeans that look hideous but are your favorite.   If money were no object, they would be outta here.  Unfortunately the decorating budget is about ZILCH.  So they stay.  I have debated recovering them or maybe trying out some RIT dye.  Both options scare me at this point.  So we have our well-worn furniture.

(Hubby, stop reading now.)

The recliner is huge and velour…and also blue.  We are talking blue furniture overload here!  The sad thing for me, ladies, is that my husband actually USES this chair!  I call it the Napping Chair.

So, what’s a newly wed wife gonna do?  She is gonna keep it…at least until she has the funds to find him another chair that he will love just as much.

(Ok, it’s safe to look.)

I ended up putting mirrors on the wall over the sofa because there was so much glare on any artwork or photos that would hang there.  The mirrors help to brighten up the space.

Believe me, rooms with rounded corners are no fun to paint because there is literally no place to stop!!!  I was on a painting ‘roll’ and went down the stairs from the living room and completed the first floor hallway.  I would have kept going UP the second stairway to the third floor but was forced to reckon with the 20+ ft. tall stairwell.

Double Decker
Stairwell of Doom

More on that monster later.

When I am in the middle of a paint project, I often wonder “What-in-the-heck was I thinking???”  However, once the project is finished, I realize that I actually ENJOY working with a limited budget.  I think the limited money factor adds to the CREATIVITY that is involved in making a space your own.  (Although if someone gave me free rein at Pottery Barn, I certainly wouldn’t turn them down. LOL!) It may not be the latest decorator style but it says ‘Home’ to me.