renovation diaries: finished master bathroom!

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FINALLY!  an end result over here.  the kitchen got messy again five seconds after the cleaners left, so i’ll have to show you that next week when i get back from a quick beach trip.  but today, here is the final version of the master bathroom!  woo hoo!  all credit goes to margaret of margaret long designs – she drove the bus and did a damn good job doing it.

let’s start with the before again to refresh our memory!   here is the vanity – super low countertops (why??), bad lighting, wall-to-wall 80’s mirror, not terrible cabinets, but out of date faucets and tile floor.

photo-195another view of the vanity, looking into the closet, which had one big door that opened into it, covering up a good chunk of rbb’s clothes in the process.

photo-195 copy 2and here is the new vanity area!  the footprints and walls all stayed the same.

vanitythese countertops and cabinets are at standard height now!  works much better for the 6’2″ rbb.

bathroom cabinets…and looking toward the closet door(s) now – much more closet-y.  i’ll take you for a spin in there too; we redid that as well (it was a dump).

closet doorsi really love the bump out :)  you only need an inch or two.

cabinet bump outthe lighting was totally revamped – the only lights we had in this room were those two awful cans coming out of the soffit above the sinks!  we tore out the soffit, added two sconces and a ceiling lighting fixture – the lighting is much, much better.  i feel much more confident in my makeup application now :)

ceiling fixturethe countertops are caesarstone and so so durable.  we are loving them!  and the matte brass faucets with the cross handles….  be still my heart.

bathroom sinkyou know what’s great about working with a designer?  they suggest things that you don’t even know exist.  margaret thought that since it was such a small amount of exposed wall space, why don’t we do a marble base molding?  i think it finishes off the space perfectly.

base moldingalright, moving into the shower…  first, remember how it was just an open walkway?!  NO DOOR!  (ew)

photo-195 copyvoila…pocket door.  small things make the biggest difference.  i feel like this space is so much more functional now. (it extends all the way; i just propped it halfway for the photo)

pocket doorand the before of the sweet tub/shower combo…

photo-195 copy 3here is the after.

full shower

shower headwe also redid the lighting in here – before it was just a fan/light combo (again, ew).  we added a new fan, two cans and we still have a little natural light from the porthole window.

shower ceilingthe niche in the shower is one of my favorite parts.  i put all of my birchbox samples and small items on the top – i love trying new products.

nicheok, this one small item drives me crazy… i went to great lengths to make sure all of the finishes in the bathroom matched.  well, the one thing i handed off to rbb was the toilet.  i just told him to go wild on and just make sure to buy a kohler.  that is all.  well, he paid no attention to the handle and here we are with a nickel flusher.  i know i can buy i new one but i think it’s a bit of an ordeal…one of these days.

oh and the bench – we bought a remnant of marble from our countertop guy.  and the little toilet paper holder on the back of the potty, i found at goodwill!  LOTS of brass things to be found there. :)

potty and shower benchi just adore the warm pops of brass against the cool, grey marble.

shower fittingsthe basketweave tile on the floor and the niche makes me really happy too.  and there is so much detail work in a tile job – margaret told me probably half a dozen times, it doesn’t matter how expensive the tile you buy is, if you don’t get a good installer – it will not look good.  those guys are worth every cent!

basket weave shower floorhere are the sources:

floor and shower tile (carrera marble): via margaret long designs

sink faucets, shower fittings, drain cover: california faucets via european sink company

cabinets and mirror frame: custom design kitchens

mirror glass (he also hung it): brian diamond glass

shower door: drexler shower door co.

countertop, sinks and slab for shower bench: via margaret long designs

sconces and ceiling fixture: circa lighting

towel rack, toilet paper holder, cabinet hardware: masterpiece lighting

pocket door and new closet doors: renato schwenk home improvement – 404.312.1131

potty: kohler via home depot


and here are all of the diaries if you missed any along the way:

the before

getting started and demo

month 1

month 2


i think that’s it for the bathroom!  also, if you would like to work with margaret on a project, give her a call at 404.783.6000 (the number on the website is an old one – she’s working on her new site now!).  she’ll do you right!!!  and just wait ’til you see what she did in the kitchen…


the renovation diaries – month 1

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alrighty…we left off post-demo with the asbestos scare (that was nothing but a scare, thankfully).  so next, the tile guys come in and prep the kitchen floor as well as the bathroom floor.  let me say – prep takes FOREVER.  we were probably 2+ weeks deep into this thing and hadn’t seen one shard of tile laid…but lots of prep is GOOD.  these tile guys were so so so thorough!  they are margaret’s primary tile layers and are wonderful.  in fact, it was their schedule we worked ours around, and man, they were worth it.  a day or two in i got that call into the kitchen…  you know, the one that goes “hey callie?  can you come in here for a sec?”  in a hesitant voice.  oh sh*%.  i had just gotten one of those from the demo guy and was dreading what i would find. it was THIS.

photo-196 copy 12in having to remove the original 1940’s hardwoods (sounds like a travesty but trust me – they were covered in asbestos laden black tar – had to go), our subfloor was exposed.  and what’s funny is there was always this slight slope in our kitchen floor and we couldn’t figure out why.  we just assumed it had to do with that concrete slab that was later added onto the kitchen, but weren’t sure.  well, lo and behold, there was some pretty serious termite damage hidden underneath the sub flooring that was never taken care of when it occurred.  i kind of felt like i was on an episode of property brothers…  like: here’s your problem.  it will take an additional $X to correct said problem and loss of X number of days.  luckily it only slowed us down about a half-day and lumber isn’t that expensive.  it also led us to have the rest of the house inspected for termite damage, which there was none.  phew!  but i did manage to get a hard sell on termite insurance.

in no time at all, it was repaired and back in action.

photo-196 copy 11

while all of this was going on at the house, i still had lots of stuff to pick out.  like FAUCETS!  i learned that i have a slight obsession with beautiful faucets.  i went to home depot to look early on and was revolted by everything i saw there.  it was all just so usual and none of it beautiful.  it all just screamed “builder grade” to me.  i tend to like pretty, special things and i ALSO like to make things difficult.  perfect example: plumber and tile guys say that they need the drain to install by thursday.  ok.  how hard is it to find a drain?  so monday i set off to buy a couple of faucets and shower drain / head.  place #1 pretty much turned me away, saying that they only thing they could get would be at LEAST two weeks out but maybe four to six.  um, that is just not going to work seeing as how the plumber is coming in three days.  so instead, i went to the european sink company and had a much different experience.  my sales guy alan picked up the phone when i called them in a tizzy, freaking out about how the HECK am i going to find a drain for thursday so i don’t mess up all of these workers’ schedules.  i explained to him my dilemma.  he said, “oh no no, we have drains here that you can take home?!” in a what’s the big deal voice.  i immediately LOVE HIM.  oh, i should mention that i also have both kids with me, since i ran out of time going to the mean faucet  store when they were both in school.  he was SO accommodating and let me browse, let the kids absolutely terrorize his beautiful store, and was just so helpful all the way around.  and i DID walk out with a drain.

i ended up getting the bathroom faucets and shower head / drain from the california faucets line that they carry at the store.  oh – did i mention i was doing brass?  this was my inspiration – these are beautiful but from great britain (company: barber wilson) and realllllly would have messed up my schedule and not to mention budget…

photo-1so at first i thought i wanted some pretty goosenecks with cross handles…but then i opted for a more simple option.  i ended up with two of these exact sink faucets:

photo-196 copy 8in the “satin gold” finish (look at all of the beautiful brasses they had to choose from! BRASS IS BACK Y’ALL.):

photo-196 copy 7

oh, and circa lighting!  margaret and i had a ball there picking out fixtures for the bathroom.  (she is pretty famous in there, too.)  with her guidance, we chose some lighting that i am absolutely obsessed with!  this flush mount in the “hand-rubbed antique brass” finish for the vanity ceiling:

photo-196 copy 3actually, here it is in the finish.

m_AH4200HAB-FG.jpgand then sconces for either side of the vanity (smaller version in the brass finish):

IMG_5014so many light fixtures, so few rooms…

IMG_5015the folks at circa lighting were kind enough to give me a finish sample  – people, i toted this little thing around *everywhere* to match things to for the bathroom.  holy smokes!  i never realized how many things in there, from all separate manufacturers, needed to match.  we’re talking faucets of course, but then you have cabinet hardware, towel rack, paper towel holder, doorknob, pocket door handle, toilet flusher, shower door handle and wall attachments.  geez louise!  it ended up being sort of a finicky finish to match (see above: like to make things difficult) but i think the end result is fantastic so all is forgotten.  but here’s what i did all over town:

IMG_5031by the way, WHO made so many shower door handle options?!  i think this industry has gotten a little overzealous.


IMG_5107(drexler shower door co. is the best in town and the drexlers are old family friends of the brunettes!  joe is the man.)

we also finalized the countertops – 3cm honed carrera for the kitchen (middle block) and 3cm caesarstone in “blizzard” for the bathroom (right block, but a little thicker).  i found countertops to be a bit like paper – the thicker the better.

photo-196 copy 2meanwhile, back at the ranch – we have a floor going down in the kitchen!  i think i may have mentioned we were doing checkerboard (of some variation – leaning towards grey/white) tile in the kitchen.  that’s what margaret and i both thought as we walked into the tile store.  we needed the tile and we needed it then, so we were limited to options that were in the store’s warehouse.  grey/white – nada.  on to plan b!  i love love love what we ended up with.  a very light taupe/warm grey (looks almost white in sunlight) laid diagonal with medium grey grout.  LOVE how it turned out!  also, if you hem and haw over decisions…just take on a project with a very compressed timeline.  it will make things oh so much easier :)

IMG_5019it took them 2 or 3 days to lay the tile in the kitchen.  it was the first thing we fully finished and we were stoked!


simultaneously, they were still prepping the bathroom.  i see a bench!

IMG_5020and then the tile started to go in… i would go and check out their progress every day after they left, and one day did not realize that i was stepping into a freshly laid slap of cement they were using to even out the floor.  i needed to replace those gold flats anyway. :)  the next day, here is what i found…

IMG_5059they were awesome.  always looking out for me!

phew…that was all of month 1 / november 2013.  while all of this was going on, i was buried in a sea of holiday cards and working some super dodgy hours.  it was really nice to phone in my thanksgiving meal duties due to lack of a kitchen!  (thanks little tart bakeshop)


IMG_5079we also were entrusted with the care of rush’s class mascot, cubbie.  so what do we do?  take him to jalisco’s, of course.

IMG_5032alright, i’ll be back with month 2 of the renovation diaries and then the big reveal!  also, some reno life savers if you’re planning one.  ttfn!


p.s. after my Facebook page giveaway of these new “Enjoy!” tags, i’m offering FREE personalization for orders placed this week (last day to claim offer: 3/15)!  just put the names you would like in the “notes to seller” box upon checkout. yea!!


kitchen and master bath renovation diaries: THE BEFORE

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so… we have a little dust being kicked up around these parts.  before you think i’ve absolutely gone off the deep end for scheduling a home in upheaval during the busiest part of a stationer’s year, i’ll tell you that you’re right – but it’s also kind of perfect, too.  i don’t have time to cook anyway, so it’s not like my kitchen is getting any kind of workout in oct/nov/dec.  plus, i’m here all day working so it makes it easy to let workmen in and answer questions they have along the way.  during holiday card season, i honestly don’t have time / am too exhausted to pick up the house and make it look presentable, so some cardboard taped down on the floor along with some construction dust is nothing.  if you want to feel better about the state of your house, come on over!

today, i’m here to show you the BEFORE state, and there’s nowhere to start but at the beginning…

flash back to january 2011.  we had been living in my 1 and 1/2 bedroom condo (i say 1/2 because sweet rush’s nursery was in a sunroom…with lots of blackout curtains).  we had been casually house hunting and put a few offers in, but nothing had worked out.  we found out we were expecting another baby and thus, had to move IMMEDIATELY if not sooner.  we scheduled a full saturday and sunday of intense house searches with our agent the following weekend, and were determined to make something work.  i should also preface this with the fact that rbb and i are what you would call finicky homebuyers.  we don’t want something that is turnkey…where’s the fun in that?  we wanted to be able to put our own mark on something, and get a little renovation experience under our belts.  but not TOO much – we couldn’t handle a full gut job or anything – and remember we had a baby on the way so the whole thing was time sensitive.   we needed to find something that was just right.  not too nice, not too dumpy.   something that we could live in without having to renovate right off the bat, but that also needed a little love.  this lead to us looking at a bevy of total POSes.  houses that had been sooo badly and cheaply renovated, estate properties that hadn’t been tended to properly in at least a couple of decades, and foreclosures that had everything down to the faucets ripped out.

our agent set up a dozen or so homes that we had chosen, all across town in different neighborhoods and school districts, and the house that we ended up buying was the very first that we looked at that weekend.  we were in love from the first minute we walked in.  it weirdly felt like our house.  it had the charm of an old house, somewhat updated bathrooms and kitchen (meaning: they only minorly sucked, and we could live as is for awhile), was on a fabulous street and was in our preferred school district.  and being a foreclosure and not having been lived in for a good 9-10 months, it definitely needed some love in more areas than one.  after a little bit of craziness that comes with buying a foreclosure, we closed at the end of march 2011 and promptly moved right in.

and here we are…two and 1/2 years later.  we’ve put countless coats of paint (we….i mean rbb of course) throughout the interior, hung curtains, replaced carpet, etc., etc.  but the master bath and kitchen remained largely untouched, because we were waiting to overhaul them.  here is where we started – i’ll begin with the master bath.

also – remember how i said we had been looking primarily at dumps?  let me tell you, we both walked into this master bath and closet (which i’ll show you another time – she’s getting a little makeover too!) and FREAKED.  we were both all, DOUBLE VANITIES!!!  SEPARATE WATER CLOSET!!  LOOK HOW BIIIIIIG!!!!!  (the three of us had been sharing a 50 SF bathroom at the condo.)

in short – it’s totally 80s.  we’re rocking crystal knobs, one of those frameless mirrors, crappy lighting, low low low countertops and for good measure, wallpaper covered with blue latex paint.  awesome.

here’s rbb’s side…

(i took these hours before the demo so everything was already moved out)


and my side, looking into the closet…

photo-195 copy 2

standing outside the closet looking into the water closet/shower (door on the left goes to bedroom)…

photo-195 copy

and looking into the water closet/shower.  you can see some side effects of that fabulous paint-over-wallpaper situation going on in the corner.

photo-195 copy 3

one of my biggest bones to pick with this bathroom – NO DOOR TO THE WATER CLOSET.  just wide open right there.  SO no bueno.   we are totes remedying that with a pocket door.

so now the kitchen.  when we first moved in, the kitchen was this horrible, horrible red.  like a blood red.  i know i say all the time i love color, but i am just not much of a red person beyond lipstick and pants.  that’s about all i’ll ever have that’s red.

(styled by previous owner – and check out that sweet blue ceiling)

hr1988199-8see?  not terrible, just not the best kitchen you’ve ever seen – but works fine.

about eight months ago, we did phase 1 of the kitchen renovation.  it entailed:

– new paint (duh) – a light, light aqua on the walls and white on the ceiling.  p.s. i have a major crush on the painter.

photo-195 copy 5

– new windows – three of the four big glass panes at the end of the kitchen were perma-fogged.  we replaced them and all of a sudden had a bright and sunny kitchen!  (all before pictures)

photo-195 copy 3

photo-195 copy 4

– new window treatments – the wooden blinds were dingy and, well, boring.  the nail in the coffin was the crazy long cords that were choking hazards waiting to happen.  kate with just kate suited us up with some white roman shades trimmed in an aqua lee jofa trim.  (those are staying so you’ll see more of them.)

– new linoleum – looking back, we shouldn’t have bothered…but the old stuff was peeling up and secured by DUCT TAPE in some places.  duct tape, people.

– a little drywall work on the wall by the entry so the left fridge door would open.

that put us here…

kitchen BEFORE

kitchen BEFORE 1

kitchen BEFORE 2

this kitchen is kind of like a monet (clueless – still such a great movie).  from far away it looks alright, but if you get up close, you see the cheap flooring, peeling up laminate countertops, cabinets that are past their prime, old old sink and unfunctional uses of (little) space.

i loved this little cookbook nook right when i saw it.  sadly, we are changing it out for extra cabinet space…  and who am i kidding, i never kept it tidy enough to look good anyway (see middle shelf with burgeoning coupons, notepads and clipped recipes).

kitchen BEFORE nook

file under “what in tarnation…”  who would put a microwave over a fridge?!  i could never see what was in it, even standing on my tippy toes.

kitchen BEFORE microwave

we were happy with this kitchen, but also knew that we would need to fix it up to sell it – which we aren’t planning to do anytime soon, but we still want to be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor before we move on.  so we decided to just go for it – eek!!

so now comes phase II for the kitchen and phase “out with the old, in with the new” for the master bath, in which every little thing that you see in the photos above, and then some, was pulled out.  stay tuned for WEEK 1 of the renovation diaries!!


friday tidbits

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phew! what a week.  we had the second week of school, a minor stomach bug pass through (eek!), lots of fun paper projects going on and preparation for holiday cards 2013 is steamrolling right along.  i have absolutely loved going through the 2012 holiday cards and getting them photo ready for the website!!  it’s so fun to visit these old friends.  i especially love this one…

1_the littlest things 2it really shows how important good photography is to a holiday card – and also exhibits why it’s best to wait to design your card until you have your photograph!  we pulled out the green from that sweet baby’s dress and i think the square, up close format of the picture just works perfectly for this card design.  (btw, one of my favorite photographers, abbey with dylan blue photography took it.  she offers mini session all fall for holiday card photos – get you one!)  look for this and many more new designs up on the website soon!  OR you could just come to the holiday card pop up shop next week at kayce hughes to see them live and in person.  also, i know i alluded to a free gift if you put down your holiday card deposit at the pop-up shop.  i’ll show you exactly what that is on monday – i think you’re going to like it!

remember that old beat up chair i was getting recovered?  i picked it up and it is sitting pretty in my office right now…  LOVE how it turned out.

photo-194 copy 3ok, so i went off on jelly a week or two ago…  now it’s bread’s turn.  i’m just doing all of the ingredients in a good pb&j one by one i guess.  anyway, if you live in atlanta, you need to know about full cup.  it is a small bakery in north buckhead that mills their own grains and bakes bread, muffins, energy bars, granola bars, cookies and more.  and here’s the thing – they sweeten everything with HONEY!  how awesome is that?!  a while ago, i started looking at the ingredients in the “all-natural, whole grain” bread i was buying to make sandwiches for the kids.  sugar or HFCS was always one of the first 5 ingredients, and i thought there had to be a better way aside from baking my own bread because i sure as heck am not doing that.  full cup is about as unprocessed as you can get when it comes to grains, and did i mention it also tastes great?!?!  all of their breads are awesome, and i stock up when i go and store them in the freezer so i always have some ready to go.  and their whole wheat chocolate chip cookies – don’t even get me started.  they also ship if you’re outside of the atlanta area – i knew we had something special here locally when my friend julia-leigh said that one of her friends in memphis gets their bread shipped to her!

photo-194 copy 4lastly, this picture just makes me laugh.  girl is on point with the arm party trend.

photo-194 copy 5hope y’all have a great weekend!!  we are going to soak up the last of pool time…always hate when it comes to an end.


framing your birth announcement / wedding invitation

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oh my goodness, have i been meaning to post this for a long time.  i really wanted to show a picture of a hanging framed birth announcement, namely rinne’s in her nursery, but that’s kind of a long story.  basically i don’t know what i’m doing in that room which means i haven’t done anything since we first moved in, and why bother hanging anything if we’re just going to turn around and change it.

so here it is on the floor.

framed birth announcement

letterpress birth announcement

i chose a “champagne” colored frame (cross between gold and silver), a white mat with the liner pattern behind the announcement – and also added a linen stock that acts as a border between the announcement and the liner.  in my opinion, it needed a little solid space between those two elements so it didn’t look busy or hard to read.  you can see the layers here…

framed announcement

my peeps at artifacts framed it.

artifacts atlanta

y’all, they are THE BEST framers in town, and definitely the best that i have ever worked with.  my old architecture firm used them, and also jen (when she was a local interior designer, i miss those days!) used them too – so two picky entities with good taste gave them two thumbs up.  that’s good as gold in my book.  it’s a small business, and the level of personal attention that you get on each piece you frame is amazing.  they don’t care if you try all 800 frame samples they have up on the walls, they will go until you find the perfect fit.

artifacts wall of frameshere is this piece, in progress at the store.  framing is something that you just have to SEE before you commit.  i actually was dead set on a gold frame when i walked in the door, but when i put it up next to everything, it looked too warm and just…off.

in progress

i have a piece getting framed there right now for the worldwide HQ – i can’t wait to get it back!  here it is in the dressing room, trying on a mat.  (top left won.)

photo-185 copyjust don’t ask me to hang it for you…

photo-185 copy 2those were casualties from my attempts to hang some art in my living room last week.  solid.

and by the way – if you order your birth announcement through calliespondence, we are happy to offer you a piece of your liner paper complimentary if you’d like to frame yours in a similar way.  this method would also work perfectly for a wedding invitation!  i love framing stationery this way because as far as the liner pattern goes, a) you must love it if you picked it, right? and b) it all goes together as a little package with the announcement / invitation…so why not display it as such.

hope y’all have wonderful weekends!!  between the masters, a sprinkle and a birthday party – we’ve got a little something for everyone going on.




a small business christmas

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way back when, i told you guys that i was going to support only small businesses for my christmas gifts this year.  for the most part, save for a desperate last minute trip to target and one other exception that i know you’ll understand, i stuck to it.  it was fun, challenging and so much more rewarding than just clicking through or land of nod (although i DO love to do that – don’t get me wrong).  it’s just cool to hand someone a check and know exactly to whom it’s going.

i warmed up with some holiday decor…  fell hard for these foil-stamped prints by lindsey letters.  super gorge and so fun to have a seasonal addition to the shelves!  although i did have to sneak into ikea to get a couple of their ribba frames to complete the look (oops).

lindsey letters 1


while i was working behind the booth most of the time at the northside methodist preschool gift show, i did manage to shop a little bit too.  i picked up this pretty driftwood angel that benefits abby’s angels, a non-profit started in honor of a sweet young girl with cancer who “outran us to the Father’s house.”  (that’s a dr. gil-ism – i think it’s a lovely way of saying it.)


if you’ve been around a while, you might remember these stockings from when i first started blogging.  i scooped them up in a post-christmas clearance sale on garnet hill’s website – they’re hable construction (love everything they do!).  i just now got them monogrammed…  yeah.  sadly i think that’s pretty good.  anyway, my favorite embroiderer, shelley at sss creations, did the monograms and i LOVE THEM.  i always drop stuff off and think hmm….wonder how that’s going to turn out.  i think i’m scarred from a story my friend betsey tells about some towels she got monogrammed as a wedding gift and the monogram took up nearly the entire front of the towel.  shelley always does a fantastic job and whatever she does turns out ten times better than i could have even pictured in my head!  plus, she’s a stay-at-home-working-mama too.  i guess i just love the casual nature of that.  storefronts are so overrated!

oh right, the stockings.  red for the boys, cream for the girls.  i thought i wanted a gold thread, but then shelley suggested taupe and it looks wonderful!  circle monograms on the front…


and full names on the back for two reasons: 1) i can use this side if i get bored with the monograms, and 2) we have two RBBs so we needed a way to distinguish the stockings.  i absolutely adore how they turned out.  the font we used for the back was “rosebud.”


i even managed to go small and local for our wreath!  the mood moss wreath and ribbon is from cut flower wholesale (open to the trade only), and the garland is from our church, which supplies it from a small farm in north carolina.  it’s a little charlie brown looking, but that’s ok.


i also commissioned kate at just kate ( to make me a custom tree skirt.  i have never been able to find a tree skirt that i really liked – all too theme-y, too metallic, too red/green, too usual.  and i just hate usual.  i had some turquoise fabric i had picked up at the 2011 ADAC sample sale gathering dust ($10 for the whole bolt!), paired it with a fantastic cream/moss green/turquoise abstract chevron fabric from lewis and sheron, and added a small pleated cream trim between the two – which by the way was scored on the $1/yard rack!  can you believe that?!  i felt like i won the lottery.  it’s typically $20/yard.  i have never laid down $4 faster!

custom tree skirt by just kate

now, the gifts…

rhyne becton designs is a business run by a fellow NMP mom, becton wallace.  she and i have a good mutual friend (hi perry!) so we had heard about the other for awhile, but so glad i got to finally meet her at the gift show!  her jewelry is in a word, awesome.  simple, chic and stylish.  i just loved these cross necklaces that she makes and had to buy them in all different colors for a bunch of my gals.  they lay a little off to the side too – i love little details that make something a bit different (see above re: usual).


if you’re in atlanta, i’m sure you have heard mention of richard’s variety store.  i can’t tell you how many conversations i’ve had or overheard where one person says, “oh – try richard’s, they might have it.”  i don’t know how they do it, but these people stock everything.  including aisles and aisles of toys, as exhibited here…

richards variety store

rush got a garbage truck and a fire truck from those shelves – both were big hits, as was the elmo cell phone purchased for rinne.

a funny thing happened when we went to see santa…  we go to the local baby and children’s boutique, baby braithwaite, to visit the man in red. at one point while we were waiting for our flash drive with the photos to be prepared, rinne and i wandered over to this big display they had, swathed in pale pink, featuring the sweetest and most delicately crafted rendition of the princess and the pea.  i think rbb can smell my desire to spend money, because he and rush appeared right behind me just as i was flipping over the price tag to see how much it would set me back and unfortunately, we both saw it at the same time and i could pretty much hear his head shaking.  so i had to walk away but told the princess we would meet again later, just in a dark alley and without this tall male companion i had with me.  cut to late night cruising on garnet hill, looking for bins for the office…click on the sale section, eh.  might as well see what they got.  HOLY SMOKES MY PRINCESS AND THE PEA IS HERE!!  and it was at nearly 1/3rd of the price tag of the local boutique.  i was BLINDED by those little mattresses – do you SEE them?!?!  they are different in every little bed!  and that little pea!  and i actually have a little girl to buy it for!  before i knew it, it was on my doorstep and instantaneously wrapped to put under the tree.  here it is resting quietly after a frenetic christmas morning.

princess and the pea

i am telling you, these chevron notepads really do make a good gift!  i whipped some up for my mom and mother-in-law (these were not for them, but for other clients – i’m loving the yellow and navy blue!).

chevron notepads

etsy is the most fun place to poke around, and i swear you can find anything on there.  enter: hand crocheted lightning mcqueen slippers.  like i said, anything. :)

lightning mcqueen slippers

also, i want you to know that if you ordered your holiday cards from calliespondence, you not only supported this small business – but all of the printers i use are also small businesses, local to atlanta.  they are people that i know, love and trust to do a good job for you – so thank you for supporting them via supporting me!

and now it’s time to tuck away all of these holiday wares – always sad to see them go!


rush’s gallery wall

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i think people can be summed up by what kind of gallery wall they lean towards.

clean, crisp, in order? (these people probably never have crushed pretzels or lipstick tubes with no tops at the bottom of their purse.)

or messy, varietal, slightly schizo?

i’ll give you 5 seconds to guess which side i fall on…

yeah.  messy and all over the place.  variety is the spice of life, y’all!

i’ve been stockpiling things – framed things, unframed things that then get framed, old things from different rooms…to make a gallery wall in rush’s room.  remember this painting that i found for a song?  he and several buddies have been hanging out in our hallway, leaned up against a buffet for months.  many months.  i finally got one last thing framed and thought…now is the time.  so before the moment passed, i grabbed a hammer and some nails and set forth on hanging them all.  now – let’s keep in mind – i have never hung a gallery wall before and have no idea how to do such.  i’ve just seen them in magazines and photos that i like and thought – how hard can it be?  i’m sure there is a science to it, but my science is – lay it on the floor in an appealing way and then transfer it to the wall using your eyes and a thumb to mark where the nail should go.  i should mention that when i had rbb hang the mirror between the sconces in the dining room, it turned into a long division nerdfest with levels, multiple pencil ticks and a lot of furrowed brow.  (it’s that whole opposites thing.)

here’s my trial run…there was LOTS of rearranging.  i actually used this picture to look back at and help measure the distance between things (i’m very exact).

it makes me so happy to look at it in his room…  really just because the items are being seen with people’s eyes and not leaned up against a wall somewhere.  and, i can add to it if i find more suitable art!

it consists of a hodge podge of things collected…some old and some new!  going clockwise from the top left:

– “all i can do is be me” art: from etsy.  i wish i remembered what shop!  i had it framed for the nursery at the condo.

– letter squares in rush’s initials: check them out here!  my friend stephanie’s new business; i love this idea.  she has so many variations, styles and colors.

– line drawing of a church in helen, ga: i picked this up at a garage sale eons ago, really for the frame.  i’m using the art in it right now as a placeholder, but it’s kind of growing on me…

– letterpress artwork from 1canoe2: it says “as sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines” with an outline of georgia.  find it and more states here.

– oil landscape painting: from my favorite place.

– toucan line drawing: from the best yard sale ever, years ago.  it has a mate but he’s flown south to the basement.

rush’s birth announcement: kills me it’s not calliespondence, but what you are gonna do.  i’m going to talk more about framing your birth announcement in a future post!

i tried to put together items that were sort of all in the same tone family…nothing crazy bright with plenty of browns and tans and golds.  his room is white, chartreuse and a cornflower blue…  i’ll have to show you that soon.

WAIT!  i almost forgot.  today is october 5th – the last day to get the holiday card early bird special!!  if you’re interested, find all of the pertinent details HERE.

have a great weekend!!!


everything old is new again

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y’all, i need some help!  here’s the deal.  i am getting a sofa delivered next week from my grandmother’s house that was part of my dad’s estate.  i am thrilled to be able to use this piece in our bedroom – previously i thought it wouldn’t fit anywhere in our home, size-wise or style-wise.  BUT – i bet you didn’t know i was a fabric hoarder, did you.  see, there is this little blog called the designer’s attic…she sells off remnants of designer fabric.  i say remnants, but sometimes they are up to 10 or 12 yards.  now, we all know that quadrille is fantastic, no??  i have been in love with quadrille’s kazak since i laid eyes on it, and envisioned it in our bedroom…  how it would fit in (and how i would afford it), i didn’t know.

well – lo and behold, 5 yards of the navy/medium blue/white colorway came up and i MISSED IT.  i was really down and out about it.  i even emailed shannon (the designer’s attic proprietress) and begged her that if any customer sales fall through on that particular piece of fabric, please please keep me in mind – i will take it, no questions asked!  it must have been my lucky day, because it did fall through.  you better believe i paid that paypal invoice so fast.  yahooo!!

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve looked at this picture.  at least a million.

isn’t everything in it just so perfect?!  at first, i thought rbb needed a chair for his desk just like in the picture.  but rbb likes to have opinions about things like that.  i can just hear him waxing on about back support and arm rests and what not.  so i knew he wouldn’t want to go for that type of chair.  ok, maybe a bench at the end of the bed?  jen said it would look terrible, the scale was too big.  then i thought, maybe a duvet cover, but i don’t think i would have enough for shams…  there was not an obvious answer.

but then my mom kept talking about this sofa, what are we going to do with this sofa?  this sofa is very special to me.  it has been at my grandmother’s house forever and i mean forever.  an antique dealer told us it is from the 1800s if not earlier.  it’s stuffed with horsehair (whaaaat).  when we would visit my grandmother growing up, i always loved taking a seat on it – it seemed so ladylike and pretty to me, and i felt pretty and proper sitting on it.   and wouldn’t you know, the carved animal feet details are really in right now.

i’m sort of loving the idea of recovering it in the quadrille pattern.  breathe some new life into it, you know?  but will i ruin it???  will the juxtaposition of the old and new look horrendous?  is it too much?  i can’t decide if it would look awesome or awful.  should i do a more sensible, safe, solid color?  i don’t know if i can bring myself to do it though.  it’s just so boring.  you can call me a lot of things, but boring is not one of them.

although these look pretty good.

rbb will not under any circumstances let me bring another white couch into this house, but this one sure is beautiful.

alright people.  WHAT DO I DO!?  help!


dining room – before & after

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wow.  i have lived in our house for a year and a half and am just now doing my first complete room reveal.  um….i don’t know what to say about that.  except that hopefully we’ll be knocking ’em out more quickly from here on out!

ok, here is where we started…  (shown with prior owner’s furniture)

red toile wallpaper, boring chandelier and lackluster sconces – but good details with plantation shutters, chair rail molding and gleaming wood floors.  oh, and the most charming arched entryway that i fell in love with the second i saw it.  but the red toile had to go.  immediately if not sooner.

we hired a wonderful guy to strip the red toile away (do not try this at home, folks…sounds easy but it’s not), and then had a quite sterile dining room for a while with all white walls.

but we did have my chandelier brought over from the condo to liven it up a bit.  i think i’m going to need to be buried with this.  i can never part with it.  it was an antiques & beyond find that i have been so happy with – i mean, it’s award winning you know.  (this was ages ago, but it was chosen by erin gates at elements of style as a top 5 “best bargain”)

this was taken the day the new wallpaper was hung.  it was pretty messy in there.

the wallpaper was a little bit of a labor of love.  jen and i searched high and low for just the right mix of colors, whimsy and pomp.  you know – elegant without being stuffy.  bold and fun without being over the top crazy.  different and unique without being weird.  bright colors but overall, not too bright.  (btw, don’t ever take me on as an interior design client.)  i stumbled onto the makelike site somehow – i think maybe from the design*sponge blog? – and fell in love with their “lush” pattern.  it was shown in kind of a hipster styled room, but i knew it fit all of my many requirements and would look great in a more classic setting too.

it was sort of slated to break my bank…but then as i was randomly clicking on the flash sales at one kings lane….there was my wallpaper, 40% off.  score!  so that was that – the hard part was finding a wallpaper installer that did not think they were worth a king’s ransom.  i ended up finding a good one if you are in need – email me and i’ll send you her contact info.

anyway.  this is too much chatter, when i’m sure all you want to do is see the damn room already.  alright, here it is!  sources listed at the end.

i love ranunculus.  or is it ranunculi?  i did take latin in high school y’all.  i should probably know.

wallpaper: makelike.
table & chairs: on loan from my in-laws, but i know they got the table at the gables in miami circle.  the chairs happened to be upholstered in a simple cream pattern, so they worked perfectly.
side table: a garage sale in my now-neighborhood, years before i lived here.
ceramic bowl for lemons: it was $5 at another garage sale in my neighborhood (my neighbors sell some good s&#*!)
curtains: design is by the extremely talented jen (jen, maybe you can provide specifics in a comment?  i know they are double width, french pleat…right?).  ivory linen fabric procured by jen in texas, grey grosgrain trim along the leading edge.  kate at just kate made them.
sconces: here when we moved in; i spray painted them gold.
mirror: ballard designs – it was on sale!
chandelier: antiques & beyond

this room is such a happy room for me.  we eat all of our meals here (at least, we do until we get our kitchen banquette installed!) and i love that it can be dressed up or down.  high chair and children’s place mats with mac & cheese…or fine china and linen napkins with a holiday meal.  the table is also a great place to trace envelope liners, i’ve found!

thanks to jen, as always, for steering me in the right direction – because i always want to go a million different ones!  :)


thursday tidbits

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so, this blog to me is kind of like a newborn baby.  not in that it resembles a real child to me in any way, but in the fact that it needs to be put on a schedule.  since i can’t exactly implement an every 3 hours kind of thing, i bring you a slight sense of structure…


this will be comprised of random things i think about during the week that are not may-jah enough to warrant their own post.  things i like, things that made me laugh and maybe a little bit of paper too.  y’all cool with that?

for starters, PLEASE do yourself a favor and read the whack-a-mole post by glennon over at momastery.  OMG. i am in hysterics still.

that’s a new one.

run, don’t walk, to your nearest trader joe’s and get you some of these.  they are so delicious i can’t help but have close to 20 a night.  ok maybe more like 30.  perfect mix of sweet and salty.

yesterday on my errand day (thank you mom!!), i picked up a harp and finial at lamp arts for a cork lamp in rush’s room that jen picked out at scott’s when she was here.  (shade from pottery barn.)  those lamp arts people are so nice!  confession, i came in and asked for a harp and finial but i sort of had no idea what they were.  they totally walked me through it.  they have this little pedestal that they put my lamp on and tried all different sizes and finishes (for the finial).  it’s really like a 3-way dressing room mirror, but for lamps.  at any rate, i feel very proud of myself for producing a completed, ready to use lamp.

alright, we’ll see if this baby takes to its new sched.  what do you think?  cool (NAP) or lame (SPIT UP)?