Patio Sets, Sunrooms & Seals!

Like total procrastinators, Pete and I recently began our search for a patio set, since barbecue season is here and we have nowhere to seat potential guests. His mom and I went looking for a set which he would approve of (the boy is surprisingly picky) and didn’t have much luck. Since it’s so late in the season, most stores only had a few options to choose from, if anything at all, so I began my search at IKEA.

I made my way to the South Philadelphia location, where I was able to snag the Ransby table on major sale for $99 and the last two matching chairs for $40 a piece. I was able to find four more chairs to complete the set at the Conshohocken IKEA location, where the same chairs were priced at $70 a piece. Lame. I asked the employee if she’d be willing to match the Philadelphia store price and she scoffed at me. A girl’s gotta try. Seriously though, when did chairs get so expensive? I’ve been scouring thrift stores to see if I could find any wooden chairs to revamp without having to dish out a fortune, but no such luck.

You might have caught a glimpse of the concrete death pool in the shot of our new patio table. Remember what it looked like when we moved in? Terrifying. Since these photos were taken, the circle had filled up with high weeds overflowing onto our concrete patio.

I made it my mission last Sunday to clear out the weeds and take out all of the stones so I could place them in a more organized fashion. Now Pete and I are at a standstill with the new and slightly improved concrete death pool. Should we wait until we can garden some fresh herbs/flowers or save those for our fenced in garden? We could rig some sort of fire pit situation I suppose, but I’m not sure how we’d go about that without it looking sort of awkward with dirt underneath. It doesn’t help that the circle wasn’t cut with the best craftsmanship, but at least it’s a bit cleared out now. If anyone has any clever ideas on how to make it look nice, I’m all ears!

While in Conshohocken, I paid a visit to Impact Thrift Stores, where I have had the most luck with vintage finds in the past. “Bric a Brac” was 25% off, so I went there in an attempt to find glass pitchers for future summer barbecue festivities (I’m dying to try out some sangria recipes). While browsing knick knacks, I walked down an aisle of artwork and gasped/flailed/squealed. My heart pitter pattered when I saw a signed Charley Harper serigraph print from 1975 on the wall. Charley Harper is my all-time favorite artist, so to find one of his serigraphs signed at a local thrift store, seemed a bit like fate. I looked at the price tag. $175. All of the other artwork on the walls was priced from $3 to $30, so the store knew they stumbled upon a treasure. I carefully plucked the print from the wall and brought it with me as I sat on a hideous, olive green and pink floral couch from the 70’s.

As a gal on an unemployment/freelance budget, I am very careful with my savings. I’m comfortable spending $5 on a glass pitcher, but to spend over $50 on a print on a day other than my birthday, seems a bit selfish to me. After fifteen minutes of mulling, I began browsing Charley Harper signed serigraphs on my iPhone and discovered that the print was going for $350 (unframed). With the 25% discount, I would be spending $130. I decided to make the splurge and rationalized my purchase by telling myself that I would sell something back home to replace my wedding photography savings (keep an eye out for a wedding dress for sale post soon!).

Now that we have a much-loved Charley Harper print to keep us company in the kitchen, I am much more enthusiastic about spending time in there. I decided to make black bean burgers for Pete and I, which I’ll be posting the recipe and directions for later. I’m on a vegetable and fruit-infused water kick now that we have pitchers, which has been incredibly refreshing in this painfully hot weather.

Above on the left is a “before” shot of a table I purchased for $10 at ReStore (I kept the price sticker on it to give it an unflattering “before” look). I plan on spray painting the table and replacing the cross-stitched seashell linen with an old page from my grandfather’s Animal Encyclopedia. The white table above is part of the furniture set we inherited from the previous homeowner. I gave it a fresh coat of white paint with the intention of keeping it upstairs with the rest of the pieces, but decided the guest bedroom was too crowded with furniture and brought it to the previously bare sunroom. When our patio chairs aren’t outside for shindigs, we’ll keep them safely indoors in our sunroom…we certainly don’t want anyone stealing our overpriced IKEA chairs (can you tell I’m bitter that the Conshohocken location charged nearly double for the same chair sold in Philadelphia?).

Here’s where I’d like some reader input—do you think I should spray paint the white table a color (like a deep blue teal) or keep the white on white look? I plan to spray paint the mini end table to match, so I need to make a decision to begin the makeover process. The other treasures in the sunroom include a huge Charley Harper book, a mosaic owl from HomeGoods and a vintage tea towel from 1978 with a vibrant bird print.

I figured my grandfather’s old bird paintings would mesh well with the overall theme in the room, which is tied together with the nature-inspired Gislev rug by IKEA (yay to scoring a large rug for under $15!). Even though the Julie Rothman rabbit pillow always manages to poke me with its sharp feathers, I still heart it.

Betty White and I don’t spend much time in the sunroom lately since it is scorching out there, but we look forward to the days when we can people watch with a cool drink in our hands (lets just pretend she has hands for a moment, please). It really is the little things that make a house a home.


House Hunting Part Deux

I’m really looking forward to house hunting this weekend with Pete. It’s hard to fall in love with a house online when there aren’t any photos of the bedrooms, bathrooms or basement, but judging from the interior and backyard, the place above in Glenside is definitely what we are looking for in a quaint, new home. The other house we are visiting doesn’t have any photos online, just a street view on Google maps. I’ll be sure to take photos to document our process…who knows, maybe we’ll be on our way to placing our very first bid on a house.

I can’t wait to have a house that is officially ours. I’ll admit I’ve become addicted to house blogs like Young House Love, but I have to remind myself that I’m not a mastermind when it comes to interior design and we’ll have to take baby steps in the remodeling department. I have a feeling there will be a lot of trips to flea markets and estate sales this summer to furnish our new abode. As much as I’d love to be able to afford to deck out our digs with gorgeous furniture from Anthropologie, I know that’s not realistic for our budget and we can probably achieve a similar look with some elbow grease and creativity. Plus, I think we’ll have more fun working together on thrifty furniture makeovers (and our credit cards will thank us later).

I’m really going to miss our current apartment, it is lovely and it feels like we live in our own little secluded bubble most of the time. But it will be nice to be able to have some more freedom (having guests over after 10pm) and our own backyard. Betty White will be able to bark her little head off if we leave to run errands. I’m hoping by giving Betty more room to run around, she will relax a bit and her separation anxiety will improve. She’s gotten a lot better and being able to take her to work has certainly helped her in remaining more calm. I’m really grateful that things have been able to turn around and she is a happy little pooch again.

*Speaking of Betty White, how many times can you spot her in these photos?