Before & After: Guest Room to Nursery

Howdy folks! If you were wondering where the heck I was for most of 2013, I was busy cookin’ a baby! The Mr. and I welcomed our Little Miss Sunshine, Sunny Grace, on December 16th of 2013…just about a week shy of Christmas (and almost a week past her original due date!). She is the most amazing treasure that we’ve ever received!!

Stevie Wonder had it right...Isn't she lovely!

Stevie Wonder had it right…Isn’t she lovely!

Apparently, it’s true what they say about pregnant ladies and the need to “nest.” I guess most normal women simply spend that time cleaning and getting rid of some extra clutter. I took “nesting” to an extreme level. Just ask the Mr.! I drove him crazy! Every day I was purging old clothes, getting rid of worn out Tupperware, re-arranging pictures on the walls and running the vacuum about every 3 hours! What a perfect time to also turn our guest room into a nursery!!

A sweet cottage style nursery...with soft colors and vintage touches!

A sweet cottage style nursery…with soft colors and vintage touches!

I knew I wanted to keep a cottage feeling to what used to be the guest room, with the use of soft colors and vintage inspired items. Once we found out that we were having a girl, I started going bonkers with the color pink! The the Mr. made me tone it down with accents of green and yellow. We purchased some wonderfully fun artwork from Marius Valdes and Susie Ghahremani to add a sense of whimsy to the walls. (Artwork frame tip: If you purchase a frame for your artwork from Hobby Lobby, they will attach wall hanging hardware and wire to the back of it for just $1!!)

Who doesn't love a sock monkey?

Who doesn’t love a sock monkey?

The only big splurge for the room were the black-out curtain panels, which were purchased at Pottery Barn Kids. We turned to places like Etsy, Ebay, Craigslist to score some really fantastic deals on crib bedding, pillows, vintage toys (every nursery needs a sock monkey!) and artwork. The adorable vintage wooden rocker was a $30 score off of Craigslist.

Remember this old dresser? Looks a lot better after a fresh coat of Chalk Paint!

Remember this old dresser? Looks a lot better after a fresh coat of Chalk Paint!

Remember this dresser? If not, it was featured in this post…it went from drab to fab with some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White. We decided to keep it in the nursery and add a changing pad to the top. Using a dresser for a babies changing station is awesome! We store the wipes and the diapers in the top two drawers…and pull out whatever we need while changing baby Sunny. A handy change of clothes are stored in the drawers below for easy access and whatever we don’t want gets tossed in the cute white wicker hamper (purchased from Overstock.com).

Come on in...but you may have to change a diaper while you're here!

Come on in…but you may have to change a diaper while you’re here!

And of course, nothing is more fitting for a nursery than a few personal touches! The beautiful antique quilt was a gift from my mother and the vintage Kermit the Frog was my all time favorite toy when I was a toddler. The antique Victorian picture frame holds a hand stitched, hand dyed wool applique that I created myself for Sunny’s room. The frame was a $20 purchase from West End Antiques, which I later painted with the same Annie Sloan Chalk Paint that I had left over from the dresser project.

Nothing like a fun craft project to keep you occupied for 9 months!

Nothing like a fun craft project to keep you occupied for 9 months!

This little craft project was a perfect distraction for me during the first 4 months of my pregnancy. I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or what is otherwise known as extreme, 24-hour morning sickness. Then at 16 weeks, we received some abnormal hormone testing that placed us in a high risk pregnancy category. That same week we received news that my father-in-law was diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer (just six months after my mother-in-law lost her battle to cancer). Needless to say, 2013 had it’s challenges…that’s why the blog postings were few and far between.

This year, I’m looking forward to all of the surprises that being a new mom will bring to me! I’m excited to learn from the love of my daughter and to teach her about all of the things that I treasure. I also hope to keep writing and posting new stories when I can! And thanks to all of our friends, family and coworkers who offered their love and support during our sometimes trying journey to being new parents! Here’s to hoping 2014 stays Sunny!

Copyright 2014. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Before & After: Our Kitchen

It’s finally here! The BIG kitchen reveal!! A few blown electrical outlets, a bad case of bronchitis and a few arguments over wainscoting measurements…and it’s finally all complete!!! Maybe I should pinch myself….or maybe I should just show you guys the photos…

I must really like you guys because I can’t believe I’m showing you these horrible before snapshots of our kitchen…with grocery bags on the floor, mail on the table and little dogs running around! Ain’t no “staging” goin’ on in these photos!

before_kitchen_2

Anyone hungry for tomato soup? That’s what this color reminds me of!

Here’s another view of the opposite end of the kitchen…

before_kitchen

Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road…right to the laundry room!

And here’s the photo from when the kitchen was painted and the room was cleared in preparation for the old vinyl floors to be removed. Wow! I can already breathe easier with all the clutter gone!

What a soothing color!

Ah…much better! What a soothing color!

When the old vinyl flooring was removed we ended up having to build a new sub-floor. That ensured that the new tile floor went in nice and even…and I think it turned out beautifully!

cottage_kitchen_redo

Whoa! What a difference! The wainscoting and new floors really add that extra architectural interest that this room lacked.

This room now holds many of my favorite antique items in our home, including this beautiful pie safe from Sweet Briar, VA. It’s dated around 1840 and came out of a plantation that was being renovated. It even has it’s original locks and key…that still functions. This was the last piece of furniture that my mother-in-law purchased before she passed away last year. She didn’t even get to bring it home from the shop and enjoy it.  After she passed, I was able to purchase it and bring it here, to our home…where I can admire it daily and always think of her and our antiquing adventures together.

This key and lock are 173 years old! Imagine the things that they have safely held in this pie safe...

This key and lock are 173 years old! Imagine the things that they have safely held in this pie safe…

The baseboard heaters, door trim and all of the cabinets are painted white with Benjamin Moore’s Impervo (oil based). The Mr. used to be a painting contractor and swears by the quality and long lasting wear of this paint. This oak farm table was purchased at the Raleigh, NC flea market when I was 20 years old. It was the first piece of antique furniture that I ever purchased and has traveled with me to many different homes. The antique mission chairs were purchased at an estate sale a few years ago for a whoppin’ $30. The antique tool tray was purchased last year in Bucks County, PA.

cottage_kitchen_pie_safe

Originally, I thought I wanted either a large checkerboard pattern tile or a large grey tile floor…but when the Mr. and I walked into Best Tile, we spotted this immediately and knew it was the one (If you go to Best Tile, make sure you work with Mary Thurman…that woman knows her stuff!). We both loved the wood-grain like texture (which you can’t see that well here)…reminiscent of old barn wood.

tiled_floor

A better view…wish you could see the beautiful detail in this ceramic tile. It looks just like old barn wood!

Here’s the opposite end of the kitchen. The screen door leads you to a tiny laundry room that also holds our brand new electrical box and hot water heater. Both were 30 years old and decided to die at the same time (perhaps the Romeo and Juliet story of electrical appliances??). We can’t place a solid door here, because the room needs to ventilate, so this was our creative solution.

screen_door_laundry

And here’s a snap shot of one of my other pie safe. If I could have an entire house full of antique pie safes, I’d be a very happy girl…I LOVE these functional, yet beautiful pieces of furniture. Each one is so unique…whether it’s been painted or stained…due to its shape and intricate design punched into the tin doors.

One of the last things we did in this room was to paint the pantry door black. I felt that it by going darker, it offered some nice contrast from the white wainscoting and cabinets.

antique_pie_safe

Can you tell I love furniture and objects that have a folk art feel to them?

Last but not least, I have to give a special shout out to the Mr. for doing such an AMAZING job doing all of the carpentry work and installing all of the beautiful wainscoting that now surrounds this large room. All of the lumber was purchased at Siewers Lumber and Millwork.

I’d also like to thank Randy Hedstrom of Hedstrom Paint & Tile, who did a wonderful and impeccable job putting in the new floor and installing our tile. If you have an upcoming project and need some expert help…he’s your man!

Don't you love the rusty patina on this old tire sign?

Don’t you love the rusty patina on this old tire sign?

So that’s our big renovation project for the year! Now we can sit back and relax and enjoy our lovely new space. Oh…and speaking of enjoying something new…I wanted show you this awesome antique sign we found this past weekend at a wonderful shop in Toano, VA called Everything Vintage Co. It was going to hang on our shed, but once we brought it home, we loved it so much…we decided to hang it in our family room!

What projects do you have planned for this spring? What do you think of our kitchen renovation? Tell us…we’d love to hear from you!

Copyright 2013. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Demo Day!

Don’t be fooled by this photo. My frown has been turned upside down now that the demo day has arrived! The guys are at the house as we speak, ripping up my old, crusty vinyl flooring!! I thought I’d share a little of the “before” today…so you can get a feel for what we’re dealing with…

Can you tell how much I like this flooring?

Can you tell how much I like this flooring?

Here’s another photo of the Mr. admiring our ‘yellow brick road’ flooring.

vinyl_floorsAnd here’s a shot of one side of the room, not long after we changed the walls from barn red to a soft shade of green.

What a soothing color!

What a soothing color!

What you don’t see on the other side of this room are the white cabinets, white sink and white subway tile backsplash. However, I promise to show lots of great photos of the entire room when it’s all put together! Can’t wait to show you guys when it’s done!!

Meanwhile, I thought I’d share some other randomness:

native_ground_vintage_poster

Do you love vintage posters as much as I do? Last week, my pal Kathryn sent me a link to www.freevintageposters.com, where you can download and print FREE vintage posters! And, yes, I did say FREE. I feel some decoupage light switch plate covers coming on!! Wouldn’t one of these look great in our newly redone kitchen?

Then I received another email from my good friend Rita, who went to an estate sale and scored this amazing vintage Mickey/Minnie Mouse cookie jar!

Any Disney collectors out there? If so and you know something about this cookie jar, let us know!

Any Disney collectors out there? If so and you know something about this cookie jar, let us know!

While planning for some other fun details in our kitchen last week, I ordered two vintage cheese crates from Julie’s Etsy shop, Hunt and Found. I LOVE the graphics on these old boxes!! I’m not going to tell you just yet what we plan to do with them, but I will tell you that it will be a fun detail in the new kitchen!

Gettin' cheesy! Too bad I'm lactose intolerant though!

Gettin’ cheesy! Too bad I’m lactose intolerant though!

Stay tuned next week…as I should have some fun reveals to show you! Have a great week and happy hunting!

Copyright 2013. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Kitchen Inspiration

I want to apologize right now for not offering any of the “before” images of what our kitchen looked like when we purchased our 1960’s brick colonial from the original owners. The Mr. was literally peeling pale pink wallpaper and removing the olive green fridge and matching-non-working oven as I was directing the movers where to place things in the house from off the truck…hence the fact that there are no photos. What I can offer you is a humorous mental picture of what it looked like…

Pink and green must have been the "it" color combo of the early 60's...because it was ALL OVER our home when we first purchased it.

Pink and green must have been the “it” color combo of the early 60’s…because it was ALL OVER our home when we first purchased it.

There was a pink “Tiffany style” lamp with a brass/gold chain hanging in the middle of the room, that you would bump your head on if you walked underneath of it. There were “almond” colored cabinets with gold knobs. There was a white formica counter top with gold flecks in it…reminiscent of Goldschlager. The wallpaper was white and pale pink, that had a raised texture to it. The light fixture above the sink was a florescent tube. And the floors…two layers of vinyl, glued together, that have the appearance of pale yellow bricks. Oh, and did I tell you that leading into the kitchen was pink shag carpeting that covered up beautiful, flawless honey oak wooden floors? Yes, I know…I’m a lucky woman.

What I will be able to show you in the coming weeks is our “temporary before,” that we have lived with for the past few years, and a brand new “after.” In the meantime, here’s some vintage and farmhouse-style kitchen eye-candy to get us both inspired!

What do you think about Sharon Osbournes country inspired kitchen?

What do you think about Sharon Osbournes country inspired kitchen? (photo from Architectural Digest)

This photo is from Marion’s lovely updated kitchen at Miss Mustard Seed. I LOVE her chalkboard paint wall. Our kitchen is shaped almost identically to hers…

missmustardseedkitchen

Check out her marble tile floor and chalkboard painted wall! Adorable! (Photo from Miss Mustard Seed)

I don’t know where this photo originally came from…but I have clipped this image over and over. I LOVE this kitchen…maybe because it’s a lot of different pieces coming together to create a very inviting space?

clkit2

Check out the antique enamel bread box and architectural elements that were added for display.

These lights are awesome! You can own a pair just like them from Schoolhouse Electric…that offers reproduction antique lighting at affordable prices. Hmmm…I may have to find a place for one!

farmhousekitchen6

I totally wish we had glass front cabinets, but that ain’t happenin’ in this round of renovations!

Okay, if these floors don’t give you heart palpitations, then you best check your pulse. DROOL!! And if you look closely in the background…some of the old floors have been painted in a black and white/cream checkerboard pattern…OMG!

reclaimed barn wood

Yum…enough said.

I have always loved yellow in a kitchen…it just makes the room sunny and welcomes conversation. This kitchen is a great example of a restoration job.

kittudor09

What do you think about a vintage style fridge?

I like this updated version of country charm…butcher block counter-tops, wainscoting, open shelves and farmhouse sink.

vintage kitchen (2)

I like open shelving…but that means you have to be super neat and tidy!

I thought this kitchen was fun and friendly. Again, I noticed their vintage style bread box on the counter and jadeite dishes on the shelves.

Vintage-Kitchen-Decor-07

We have the exact same black vintage rotary phone in our kitchen!

More open shelves…discuss!

vintage-kitchen

Nice white washed wooden floors…

Love the wainscoting on the ceiling…nice touch!

bbbs+5

How do you feel about blue in a kitchen? Does it come off as cold?

What do I like about this photo? The antique sign (red) with the pale yellow walls, antique white cabinets, butcher block counter tops, bread box….do I need to continue?

kitchen beadboard

More country, vintage kitchen goodness…

Okay folks…I don’t know where this image originally came from…maybe Better Homes and Gardens…but I find this kitchen to be elegant, soothing, soft and inviting. I love the sea foam green walls, the marble countertops, the farmhouse sink and that ceiling! Look at that  ceiling! So cute!!

6138308

After reading this, try and guess what elements from these photos that I’ll incorporate in our little kitchen “makeover.” What do you think we’ll include? Which kitchen from this group is your favorite?

Copyright 2013. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Before & After: Bathroom Mirror (Plus Giveaway!)

Hey ya’ll! I know, I know…I’ve been a bad blogger! I missed a week (had some technical difficulties!) and that was pretty bad considering that I’ve been dangling a fun giveaway from my last post. Well, before I get to the giveaway, I wanted to give an update on our fun and funky retro bathroom!

I'm still on the hunt for the perfect mirror!

I’m still on the hunt for the perfect mirror!

Remember when our bathroom went from early 60’s funk to a clean and timeless face-lift? After the big reveal, I received some comments about our antique mirror. People were NOT digging the oak framed mirror with our 20’s inspired, black and white bathroom. Needless to say, ya’ll gave me a new mission…to find the perfect mirror to compliment our new look.

At first, I started looking at places like Lowes, Home Depot and HomeGoods for a frameless mirror on a pivot, like this one:

Moen Glenshire pivot mirror from Home Depot...

Moen Glenshire pivot mirror from Home Depot…

Problem was, the dimensions were all wrong…and most of these mirrors are around 24″-26″ tall, which wouldn’t have worked with our light fixture. I really liked the way it looked in Dorie’s bathroom from Tuesdays with Dorie:

I love Dorie's bathroom in her bungalow...but this mirror would have been too large for my small bathroom...oh well:(

I love Dorie’s bathroom in her bungalow…but this mirror would have been too large for my small bathroom…oh well:(

So I was back on the hunt…but this time, for something vintage. Luckily, I didn’t have to go that far. I live about 4 miles from a cute antique shop and when I went in I found…not only ONE vintage frameless mirror from the 1920’s …but TWO! And I had a gift card:) Lucky day!

A perfect fit!! And no more oak frame...this one is frameless baby!

A perfect fit!! And no more oak frame…this one is frameless baby!

The smaller mirror has scalloped edges...so cute and feminine.

The smaller mirror has scalloped edges…so cute and feminine.

And to make the room complete, we hired A & J Resurfacing to give our old cast iron tub a much needed makeover! The tub wasn’t in horrible shape before, but was very dull and dingy from 40-some years of use. And we couldn’t be happier with the results! It looks like a brand new tub!

Isn't she lovely? Now where's my champagne and bubble bath?

Isn’t she lovely? Now where’s my champagne and bubble bath?

Okay, so enough about the bathroom! How about entering for a fun freebie? To celebrate my one year Blog-Birthday, I’ve crafted a one of a kind wool and homespun penny-rug heart to show my love and appreciation to all of my lovely readers (this means you!). Hang it on a door knob, a windowsill or display it on your favorite antique bookcase!

penny_rug_heart_homespun

All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me what treasure you’re on the hunt for in 2013! That’s it! One lucky winner will be selected at random on Friday, January 25th at 8pm. (Giveaway open to U.S. and Canada, no purchase necessary to enter, duplicate entries will be deleted and one entry per email address only). The winner will be announced on next week’s post, so check back! Good luck!

Copyright 2013. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Before and After: The Princess Bedroom Part II

If you tuned in last week, you heard my cry, my desire, my NEED to have a bedroom fit for a Princess. One that would earn the approval Princess Buttercup or shall I dare say, Princess Kate??

See, they look happy don’t they? That’s because they have a Princess bedroom…pretty, comfy and quiet.

In case you were wondering, why I wanted a bedroom makeover so badly, here is the reason.

Plain, un-inspiring and just sad…the “before” bedroom…

All the basic elements were there…a bed, a dresser, a lamp, a window. Blah. But definitely NOT a place that would welcome royalty. So where did I start? With the paint color.

I wanted something soothing…something calm. I’ve never been a fan of blue bedrooms before but all of the major paint manufacturers have done a really nice job revamping and releasing new colors in the past few years. After painting the walls during our bathroom renovation, I really enjoyed how the turquoise walls turned out. I thought I’d try something similar in our bedroom, but much softer. And I found some great inspiration from the monochromatic color schemes in the photos from my last blog post.

Sherwin-Williams

I was afraid that the color might be a little too dark but once it was up on the walls, I was pleasantly surprised at how much it lifted the room. Other finishing touches included bright white enamel paint for all of the trim, white faux wood blinds, new drapes, three new interior doors and new door hardware in an antique bronze finish. Here are the results:

I LOVE the color on the walls! And Sherwin-Williams Super Paint is soooo amazing, it actually only took ONE COAT to cover up the old color!! The beautiful painting above the bed is by my dear friend Steven Walker. Steven and I went through the Illustration/Communication Arts program together at VCU and I have had the honor of watching his artwork evolve over the years. He is an amazing landscape artist. We are lucky enough to have several of his paintings throughout our home. The sweet antique french side table was a lucky find in Charlotte, N.C. at Metrolina.

This cute little empire chest was a purchase in Bowling Green, VA at Stone Creek Antiques. I have several antique alabaster lamps with linen shades, as you’ll see in these photos. This lamp shade came from the Shades of Light outlet store. The adorable mirror is  English and from around 1920.

This cute side table was a Craigslist find for $20. A little Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White and BAM! Good as new! I love this alabaster lamp…and the burlap shade came from Shades of Light. The small antique folk painting was a great find while traveling last year…it has sweet little pansies and butterflies depicted in it.

This large empire dresser was amazing find while traveling to Lynchburg, VA. I couldn’t tell you the name of the town…it was one of those random weekend driving trips where we found it. This was the first piece of furniture my husband and I bought together. I love the dark veneer and the chunky shape. Just a great classic piece that could go in any room. A primitive box and petite alabaster lamp sit on top. The lattice pattern drapes are Allen and Roth from Lowes.

I may not be a Princess, but this room definitely makes me feel like one every time I step inside! I couldn’t be happier with how it all came together. Now all I need is a sign to hang on the bedroom door that says “No screaming, soiled or unhappy people/children/pets allowed.” Maybe that will be my next craft project!

Let me know what you think! Do you have a Princess room in your home? If so, tell me about it!

Copyright 2012. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Before and After: The Princess Bedroom

Have you ever wanted a Princess bedroom? By this, I do not mean a hot pink bedroom with a white canopy bed and Cinderella themed sheets. I mean a special bedroom retreat, a relaxing refuge from the busy day, a place fit for, well…a Princess!

I bet Princess ButterCup, from the movie The Princess Bride, got herself a pretty nice bedroom once she married Prince Wesley! As you wish!

In a Princess bedroom there are probably rules too…like the following:

  • Children are not allowed to burst the door open, jump on the bed after running around barefoot outside, make flatulent noises or spill bright colored beverages.
  • There is absolutely no talk of bills, errands to run or upcoming school/extra-curricular events.
  • There are no clocks, no alarms and no electronic devices that can create an annoying sound.
  • Household pets will never shed a hair, leave a dirty paw print or any other unpleasant treat to be discovered only when you step in it, at 3 a.m., in the dark.
  • Clothes will put themselves away in the closet and the dresser.
  • The bed will always be made. Always.
  • And most importantly, a Princess bedroom will NOT look like this:

Whoa. Your bedroom should NOT make you feel like this. Photo: http://bedroomdisaster.blogspot.com/2009_11_01_archive.html

This is the kind of bedroom I have wanted for a long time. For four years to be exact (that’s when we purchased our older home). It’s now time to make this dream a reality. While I can’t make the clothes put themselves away, I can get rid of the crap-tastic aluminum blinds and the wobbly ceiling fan. I can create an oasis of peace and calm with furniture and paint, but what I need first is a little inspiration:

Love the mirror…

A nice take on a canopy…

I’m starting to sense a monochromatic color scheme…

Love the incorporated Victorian furniture…

And yardlong photos!!! I have a nice collection of those at home…

Does this not look like the most peaceful bedroom ever?

A room with a few french inspired pieces?

More frenchy goodness! If those prints don’t scream Princess Room…I don’t know what does…

Well, there you have it! A few photos I’ve saved that have inspired me to tackle the Master Bedroom Before-N’-After. Stay tuned for some reveals and let me know what you think of these bedrooms!!

Copyright 2012. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.