Room Makeover: Girly & Romantic


By Elle
Because I’m a romantic at heart, I needed a space in my house where I could just let it all flow. One would guess that space would have been the bedroom, but, alas, ’twas not to be. (The master bedroom currently is a lot of black and white, which I like, but we’ll visit that space another time, once it’s been redone.)

So where do I go when I want to feel all cozy and romantic? Why, the upstairs hallway, of course. Actually, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s a beautiful open space that I’ve managed to fill with all sorts of lovely girly-girl things. And I think the hardwood floor looks even richer now that the space has been redone.

Come take a look, and let me know what you think!

foyer up

In this before photo, you’re looking upstairs from the front door. Most of the house was painted in neutral colors when we bought it, which was nice in a way, but we were eager to cover the fleshy tones as well as replace the dated foyer light.

 

Another before photo. The prior owners gave us the hallway runner, saying that it would be difficult for us to find another that length. Luckily, I like it.

Another before photo. The prior owners gave us the hallway runner, saying that it would be difficult for us to find another that length. Luckily, we like it.

 

view from front door

An after photo. The Tiffany-style light was my birthday gift, and it was really quite by accident that the new wall colors complement it so well.

 

view from down the hall

I wanted this space to be cozy and romantic, even if it is just a hallway. The raspberry paint on the back wall is Heart’s Content from Pittsburgh Paints. The paint on the side walls is Bamboo Shoot from Sherwin Williams.

 

view from downstairs

We wanted the color of the upstairs hallway to pop when you walk through the front door, and Heart’s Content does the job.

 

heart

Just a little girly touch that I added to the linen closet door handle.

 

art

The Victorian art on the walls belonged to my grandmother.

 

chair

This was my mom’s telephone chair. It used to be bright yellow and had rocker bottoms, but my brother and I took care of that pretty quickly by standing on the backs of the rockers while my mom was in the chair chatting … and yelling at us to get off the rockers because they’d break. She was right.

 

dresser

I refinished this old dresser, which used to be my grandmother’s, and converted the bottom drawer areas into shelves. As you can see, I use the dresser mainly to store extra blankets.

 

The Rose Dreams artwork on the wall is from a book of sheet music, probably from the early 1900s.

The Rose Dreams artwork on the wall is from a book of sheet music, probably from the early 1900s, which was also my grandmother’s (her photo is in the back).

 

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I bought the decorative birdcage from a thrift store, spray painted it, filled it with an artificial wandering Jew and stuck a clay bird inside. Done.

 

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I can’t believe I’m in love with a hallway.

 

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So I’m unsure about the hallway lights. I have one of these acorn style lights on each end of the hallway. I think they look fine and actually fit the decor, but the man doesn’t think so. Let me know what you think!

Which Fashion Trend Do You Wish Would Come Back?


which fashion trend do you wish would come back?By Elle

Sifting through my formal dresses the other day, I felt a desire for the days when wearing long evening gloves was de rigueur, at least for the well-heeled, of course. For one, they felt luxurious because they were often made from silk, satin and kidskin. (Ouch. The near-vegan in me is wincing.) For two, they’re super sexy, especially with a strapless dress. For three, they’re the perfect accessory if you’re a germaphobe, which I’m not, just for the record. (In fact, I once ate dirt just to say I did it. This was not recently.)

So I thought, yeah, that would be a fashion trend that I’d welcome with open arms.

Then I wondered which fashion trend I would kick to the curb, and that was easy: pointy-toed pumps. Who in real life wears those things? I don’t know about you, but my feet do not resemble slices of pie, unless perhaps I were to detach my feet and put them on backwards.

Anyway, so what about you? Leave a comment and let us know which fashion trend you wish would come back — or one you wish would just disappear!

What to Say When Your Breakfast Matches Your Dress


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By Elle

Answer: Well, I don’t have to worry about slopping it all over myself for a change. And, quick, take a photo!

Yeah, so there I was having bfast with my favorite guy and his folks, and I noticed that my oatmeal and fresh fruit concoction if not matched at least complemented my new dress. And because my guy always indulges me, he was happy to snap some photos.

The weather over the holiday weekend was made for a little sundress, and I just happened to have the perfect one. I’d just bought this little number at Ann van h. Boutique earlier in the week and was eager to wear it. (Side note: Ann’s was one of my favorite boutiques in Cleveland. She is closing soon. I don’t have all the details, but hurry on in to get some good deals.)

I dig this dress! I love the bikini design, and the fabric feels delicious. The dress was designed and made by VOLT Design out of Quebec, Canada. Not only is it wearable art, but it’s also reversible. Each side has a different design — that totally removes any angst about getting dressed in the dark, yes? — so you essentially get two dresses in one.

So I didn’t get to wear the dress for long — just long enough to take some photos in the garden. Then it was back to work, weatherproofing and painting the folks’ decks in preparation for Family Reunion 2015. Hope you had a great Fourth, and be sure to leave a comment!

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Fashion Show: See the Video Recap


Abby and ElleBy Abby and Elle

If you missed the Good Style Fashion Show this year, you can catch our collection, called Cleveland Staycation, in the short video below. This was our third year participating in the show, which features Goodwill finds made fresh for the runway.

Here’s our lineup, in order of appearance, with the cost of the outfit noted:

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Model: Jillian (aka Abby)
Total Cost: $22

Goodtime III
Model: Kalana
Total Cost: $32

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Models: Alicia, Emily and Tyler
Total Cost: $25

Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Model: Ava
Total Cost: $12.50

Great Lakes Science Center
Model: Noah
Total Cost: $12

Hessler Street Fair
Model: Bailey
Total Cost: $13

United Skates
Model: Brenna
Total Cost: $7.50

West Side Market
Model: Laura (aka Elle)
Total Cost: $4

Cleveland Orchestra
Model: Katie
Total Cost: $20

At Home in the Zen Garden


By Elle

We finally finished creating our Zen garden, which is this nifty alcove in front of the house. Prior to our redo, the space was blah. It housed a wall of burning bushes, a rhododendron and a crapload of weeds. But it had the potential to be fabulous!

We envisioned a calm, serene space that would require little to no maintenance. So we starting buying rocks. (BTW, if you need a reasonable quantity of rocks (i.e., not a truckload), Lowe’s and Home Depot sell their busted bags for half off; it’s quite the deal. They’ll even rebag them or tape the holes so you don’t wind up with a car full of loose rocks.) Then we slowly added some plants and a few decorative items, keeping in mind we wanted the space to feel clean and minimal. Not entirely sure we pulled that off, but the space is definitely welcoming and peaceful.

Anyway, check out the photos below. I explain in the captions what we did. My favorite part is that the kitchen window overlooks the Zen garden, so I can be all serene-like while I’m sipping a glass of wine and making dinner.

Let me know what you think!

future zen garden

The “before” photo. We were eager to transform that cool garden space in the front of the house. And I was eager to mow down those dang burning bushes. We’ve also since tightened up that front garden space, considerably.

The first thing we did was replace old, old windows with glass block.

The first thing we did (after mowing down the dang burning bushes) was to replace an old leaky window with glass block.

At the foundation, you can see two new glass block windows. These had been open vents. Even in the winter. I guess that made sense in the 70s. My gas bill says glass block makes better sense.

At the foundation, you can see two new glass block windows. These had been open vents. Open, even in the winter. I guess that made sense in the 70s. My gas bill tells me that glass block makes much better sense. The pesky gas contraption on the left will be hidden by our old metal window well cover, which I spray painted white, once we permanently “install” it.

We planted hostas in between the former open vents and filled the space in front of the vents (now glass block) with marble.

We planted hostas in between the former open vents and filled the space in front of the vents (now glass block) with stones. In the foreground, you can see our mint garden, which is contained in a metal frame that Arkady made. (Dear Universe: Encourage the mint to stay within the confines of the frame and not take over the entire space.)

Next we placed pavers in a simple pattern, filled the space with river rock.

Next we laid down landscape fabric, placed pavers in a simple pattern and filled the space with river rock. Hmm, I see my mint needs a trim.

We added a stone bench, two sky pencil holly bushes and our foo dogs, who protect our sacred space.

We added a stone bench, two sky pencil holly bushes (they’ll grow to about 10 feet), a moss-covered rock and our foo dogs, who protect our now sacred space. If you need any mint, let me know. Or just come and pick some. Seriously, take as much as you want.

View from the "entrance" off the driveway.

View from the “entrance” off the driveway.

Arkady has been obsessed with dawn redwoods since he discovered they can grow in Ohio. So we have two in the Zen garden. And three in the backyard. And one growing in a pot in the kitchen.

Arkady has been obsessed with dawn redwoods since he discovered they can grow in Ohio. So we have two in the Zen garden. And three in the backyard. And one growing in a pot in the kitchen.

View from the front.

View from the front. Ah, I feel more relaxed than ever. Cheers!

Shrug It On Again


By Abby
As promised, here’s the sequel to Shrug It On. I love the simple elegance of this set. It needs no embellishments, no accessories.

If you haven’t added a shrug to your wardrobe yet, what are you waiting for? They’re especially perfect for summer because they’re lightweight yet offer the comfort you crave when you’re forced to endure the frigid temperatures of every dang indoor establishment in June, July and August. Seriously, I’m all for not drowning in my own perspiration, but what’s so wrong with keeping the indoor temperature at, say, a balmy 70 degrees?

Stay tuned for another shrug sequel and a recap of the Good Style Fashion Show, complete with video!

Shrug It On Again