07.28.2014 / CL Mission: Dresser

I had been afraid it would take us a while to find our next flip since the summer real estate market is pretty hot, but apparently that was an unfound fear.  I’ll share all the details Friday, but this one’ll be a totally different type of project and I’m super excited!

Another project I’m super excited about is designing my soon-to-be-neice’s room!  Cutest Nephew Ever is going to be a big brother right around Halloween and it’s Auntie Karen’s job to make sure she has a beautiful room to come home to.  It’s not a very spacious room, so a big part of the design is the dresser/changing table.  If you’ve been around here long enough to remember my nephew’s nursery you may recall that I refinished 2 mid-century pieces for him (2 years later they’re still going strong!)

midcentury dresser

midcentury cabinet



The crib and the rocker will be making their way into my niece’s room, but that’s all she has currently!  Her room will be directly across the hall from my nephew’s and will practically mirror his lay-out wise.  Lucky for her, though, it’s just a smidge bigger, so I’ll be able to fit a full-size dresser/changing table.  The craigslist hunt is ON!

Since the rest of the room has yet to be designed, I’m open to any style of dresser that I can get a good deal on.  As you might be able to guess, I’m partial to antique.  I’ve got my head stuck on painting a piece gray and white which will compliment the soon-to-be sunny yellow walls perfectly, but if I find a piece in the right condition stained, that plan could certainly be revised.

This first dresser would look delightful painted, but I have a feeling it’s just a bit too large for the room.


This next one caught my eye.  I can’t quite tell how damaged it is, but I am intrigued for $50.  This one might be a partial-paint to cover blemishes, but that graining is just so pretty!  Another thing about this one is that I can’t tell the age.  If it’s newer, it might not have the best construction and not be worth refinishing, but if it is antique I’ll bet it’s solid as a rock.  With an e-mail out to the seller, we shall see.

cl dresser 2

I love the shape of this one.  It has a fresh coat of black which looks nice but would be WAY too dark for the room.  The good news here is that it’s already painted so I wouldn’t have to worry about ruining beautiful wood!

cl dresser 4

I’m also keeping my eye out for a more mid-century piece.  Might be nice for it to relate to her brother’s room a bit?  It’ll all come down to finding something in solid condition at the right price (aka cheap).  Which one would you pick?


06.18.2014 / Crash! Seed to Stem

I’m so excited to be announcing this new series!  Every month I’ll be ‘crashing’ a home, shop, or studio and sharing the awesomeness with you.

This first Crash! I happened upon by accident.  Hubby and I were pooped from trying to move a couch into Frankie (and movers we are NOT) and were ravenous for a late lunch.  After parking and making a beeline for a Diner, we passed a shop that made my head turn.  Food?  Who needs food, I see pretty things.

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

Seed to Stem is hard to describe (even by the owners Virginia and Candace).  Here’s my assessment- if a posh botanical shop fell in love with a quirky antique shop, had an affair with a taxidermist and then a love child was born out of this little love triangle, you’d get Seed to Stem.  Confused yet?  It’ll all make sense when you check this place out!

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA  Shop Tour via Year of Serendipity

It was so nice of these lovely ladies to let my camera and me invade their shop and ask them a few questions!

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

When did you first open the shop?

“We started Seed to Stem about 3 years ago, and were just setting up booths at craft shows, selling terrariums or other nature-inspired art we had put together. Soon after, we decided we wanted to have some type of a brick and mortar store, and rented a small room in an antique mall, The cider mill, in Sterling Mass. We stayed there about 6 months, quickly outgrew the space, and found our new home on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester.”

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

What inspired you to start your own business?

“We were inspired to start our own business because we truly love nature, design, art, creativity, style….. and we really like working for ourselves. We wanted to open a unique shop that can be an inspiration to people, and connect them with nature. We also love visual merchandising, and have a blast re-arranging the shop to present our products in a unique way.”

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

How would you describe your shop’s style?

“We sometimes have trouble describing our shop’s style. We often call it a gift, curiosity, and botanical shop. Our clients have called the shop “like walking into Narnia”, “a perfect juxtaposition between life and death”, a “natural wonder shop” etc. etc.  Our shops style is a mix of old and new, of times gone past…antiques, skulls etc., mixed with living plants, modern hand blown glass, and more stylish home accents, with a nod to the Victorian era.  We also do fresh floral design and staging for weddings and events. Most couples that choose us love our style and want it reflected in the design.”

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

What has been your biggest challenge in regards to the business?
“Our biggest challenge in regards to the business is keeping up with non-creative tasks…. bookkeeping, banking, e-mails, cleaning etc. ….all while creating the botanical pieces in the shop, re-doing displays, and doing large scale weddings and events. We feel like for most creative people, the more structured parts of running a business can be quite challenging.”

On behalf of other creatives- I agree!  It’s so tough to focus on boring numbers when you have shiny and pretty things to distract!

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

Rufus the bear @ Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

His name is Rufus and he is not for sale.  Came you blame them- look at that face!  Bear hug anyone?

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

And speaking of adorable faces- meet their shop puppy, Poe.  The little sweetheart has the most piercing blue eyes and almost converted this crazy cat lady into a dog person.

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

Even if you look away from the curated vignettes and look down to the floor, you won’t be lacking for eye candy- those rugs!

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

Seed to Stem, Worcester, MA via Year of Serendipity

Thanks Seed to Stem and Virginia and Candace for letting me share your shop’s story!

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04.28.2014 / Musical Chairs (again)

Remember when I said that the dining room was done?

current dining room

I lied.  Well, not lied, just reevaluated.

Turns out that Hubby wasn’t the biggest fan of the wide array of chair styles I had collected for this look.  He liked the more traditional one on the left, but that was about it.  I can convince him into a lot of things design-wise (like a 2-tone kitchen), but apparently my powers were weak with the chairs.

mismatched dining chairs set 1

Good thing that I had replacement chairs just hanging around the house… right?  Now that I’m attempting to purge my basement furniture hoard collection, I brought up the entire old chair collection and started to play around.  I made a valiant last attempt to plead my case for keeping the above 4, but Hubby strongly voted for 4 more traditional styles.

latest set dining chairs

Since it’s his house too, and I don’t hate these chairs by any means (I did buy them after all…. AND they may have actually been the original 4 chosen chairs way back), it looks like I have some more chairs to refinish! (AND maybe one of these days I’ll figure out how to photograph the dining room without it looking dark and washed out at the same time.  maybe.)

Only one chair remains from the refinished 4 above, one was refinished for our previous dining room iteration, one is primed but was never painted, and one hasn’t been touched at all yet.  They look like kind of a mess today, but once I unify them with paint and fabric like I’ve done before, they’ll all be one big happy family.

2014 dining chairs before

There hasn’t been a day nice enough to finish them yet (paint spraying is reserved for outside only), so until then, the chairs in my dining room may or may not be actually sittable.

chairless chair

Now all that’s left to decide is color.  Do I stick with the yellow/green that actually grew on me?  Do I go for a mid-tone gray?  Or should I be crazy and go for a different green?  I know which way I’m leaning today, but that could change by the time I get to painting.  What do you think?

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