Better & worse
Well, folks, here we are again!  Week five of the One Room Challenge!  A huge dose of gratitude to Linda of the wonderful blog, Calling it Home, for conceiving the ORC!  Linda, your vision has truly inspired and empowered a movement amongst bloggers and designers alike!  We are all working so diligently to conceptualize, document, and implement the design of our perspective "one rooms" in a six week time period.  Without this challenge, I'd still be swimming in an ocean of moving boxes.  As with any design process, revisions are a reality.  Whether it's a delay in materials, a wrong choice in paint or fabric, or just a "simple" change of mind; revisions are part of the process...
Trust me, I've come a long way, baby...

After all of the upholstery drama, I'm totally out of love with the Ward Bennett chairs (above)!  Can you believe, it?  Yes, after having them re-reupholstered!  In pure design fashion and Craigslist (CL) karma, a pair that I prefer, far more, popped up on the Chicago CL 2 days AFTER I returned to Duluth- a pair of, 1 owner, mint condition, vintage Westnofa chairs and the ottoman (wow!) for a bargain and a half!  That's exactly what I get for strolling on CL after returning to Duluth!  I fell in love and had my girlfriend and her husband drive 1 hour out of the city, they got lost so it was 2 hours, to purchase them for me.  Now the chairs are in Chicago and I'm in Duluth.  I've listed the blue Bennett chairs for sale- hilarious!  Not exactly sure if the Westnofas will make it to Duluth by week six.

Took A LOT of pressure off by deciding not to refinish the 4 metal cabinets during the ORC...
Laura Soskin

Urban Remains

Or the 20 cases for the 4 metal barrister bookcases...  

Nor will I ceruse the oak chairs...

Thank goodness I took the pressure off by deciding NOT to attempt these projects during the ORC!  Trust me, it's been enough to MOVE from one state to another, unpack, and find a place for everything.  I am thankful for the ORC because it's kept me moving, creating  the momentum I need to meet my goal of getting my place together relatively quickly.  Otherwise, I might have attempted to live in a labyrinth of boxes and misplaced furniture for a few months, after I caught my breath!  Ha!  However, I'll be stripping paint from metal and polishing metal cabinets most all of the summer.  Good thing I like the work!  This, essentially, is "jam" week, for me!  I've gotten all packing/packaging materials out of my life.  Just when you think you've gotten the last packing peanut out of your life another 5 pop up, literally out of nowhere.  

I will, however, have to employ someone to hang my objets d'art above the kitchen shelves, hopefully their schedule will work with mine.  

Have to hang about 100 gilt Florentine mirrors and frames.  
Former Chicago apartment

Oh!  My desk was delivered!  The stain is delicious!  However, as much as I've been babying it, some of the urethane has chipped off!!!  Come on lady!!!!  Why didn't someone tell me NOT to have it varnished???!!!  I should have had it oil finished- geesh!  Or did she use a poor quality product?  Hmmmm...  She's agreed to (re)refinish the desk, but she's been GHOST since her promise!!!  It's somewhat unfortunate because it cost $$$$$$$$  to hire her for the job; FAR more than I planned or wanted to pay for the work.  On a positive note, I was able to save $$$ by having my building engineer hang my large mirrors and a map that I purchased from a VERY aggressive auction here in Duluth!  

As if all that's not enough, my kilim is too large for the sisal I planned to place under it!  Oh brother!  I'll have to move the sisal to the bedroom.  Too bad, because I was really looking forward to that look.  Of course, the kilim will look better with the dag-on WHITE SOFA!!!!  

Guess what?  I felt so desperate for a white sofa that I had an impulse to drive 2 1/2 hours to buy one from IKEA, as a place holder (and I dislike place holders!)???!!!!  LOL!!  What am I???  Delusional???  How could I have had the thought, especially knowing how I feel about Ikea?!!  I cannot even imagine assembling a SOFA, for goodness sake!  The sofa conversation will continue after the ORC.  I believe I've found one that may just be the panacea!

Also, I TOTALLY forgot about my mid century Danish lounge chair and ottoman that need new cushions and webbing.  I've been stalking the only company that I know of that sells custom size, down feather gusseted pillows, to no avail because they're not answering their phone or respond to emails regarding placing an order.  So, I've decided to get an estimate from an upholsterer to make (hopefully down-wrapped) foam pillow inserts for the chair and ottoman, plus install new webbing.  Can he do it for $100???  **UPDATE**  NO, he cannot!  It's going to be $2hundredsomething; perhaps over 3!  In all reality it's a fair estimate, considering what I paid for the 2 pieces and the value of the chair.  Needless to say, the upholsterer won't have it completed for a month or more.  I'm just dreaming about how much I'd like to pay.  Ha!

By the way, mirror, mirror may not hang on the wall for week six.  I'm disappointed about it.  Unless the installer can place the mirror in the frame for $100-$125 it's not going to happen this week.  **UPDATE**  NO, he cannot; $215 is his estimate.  My budget just needs a nap!  I feel like now I'm just trying to get everything done for $100!  Ha!

No budget time to receive the silk velvet ikat fabric from Turkey that would have to be shipped to my seamstress in North Carolina for her to sew custom pillows.  I prefer custom pillows because the dimensions I want are not sold by the seller, additionally, I'm partial to pillows with the same front and back pattern/fabric.  The fabric and pillows shown are from etsy.

Don't you think, those pillows will better compliment a WHITE sofa over my current one?

I'm discovering that I need stuff/tchotchkes/knickknacks!  TOTALLY forgot about coffee table books, statuary, vases, flowers, etc., etc.  Where the heck is Alex Papachristidis when you need him???!!!

I'm so appreciative that you came by to take a look at my project.  Leave a comment letting me know what you think!  Be sure to peruse the blogs of my fellow ORC participants; they are a talented bunch!  Remember to return here, next Thursday, for the REVEAL...


Greetings friends!  The past week flew by and here we are at week four of the One Room Challenge (ORC) sponsored by Linda of, the blog, Calling It Home.  Week four has been more productive than week one, week two, and week three, combined!  It's the week where the fruits of your labor come into fruition.  Since we've visited last, I broke up with Mr. Upholsterer.  I know, he deserved it, right?!  No longer am I in Chicago!  I've moved my furniture to Duluth!  I'm in utter amazement!!!

Remember my storage unit, from week two?  Keep in mind, this photo does NOT accurately represent just how full it was, prior to sending the furniture to the upholsterer!

Here it is now!  Well, how I vacated it, I'm sure someone's rented it by now.  I couldn't even believe that it was empty after the movers cleared it!  I actually felt a bit teary eyed!  I sold furniture out of that particular unit for over 5 years.  It was the perfect amount of space to house my ever growing, ever changing inventory.  Believe it or not, the photo does not do it justice!  LOL!  The painted brick walls were terribly attractive, especially, the extremely high barreled brick ceiling.  I used to fantasize about staging it as a studio apartment...  Ever designing!

I could hardly believe that my belongings filled an entire 24' truck!!!  I knew I had a lot of stuff, but, I HAVE A LOT OF STUFF!  I've moved several times and have lived a few places- D.C., California, even France, to name a few; but this was my first experience organizing, rather orchestrating, a move of THIS  magnitude!  

It was rather bittersweet...

Remember the "kitchen" I loved to hate???  Specifically, the cabinets I DETESTED....


GONE!  OMG!  Looks 1000% better!  So much more lighter in that area.  You can see a difference in paint color where the cabinets were...

I was seriously concerned if the new white paint would perfectly match the existing wall color.  I simply did not want to have the ENTIRE (refrigerator) wall repainted; it runs the length of the apartment.  Fortunately, the paint was a PERFECT, EXACT match!!!
The stainless shelves are from Ikea (& here).  I am not a fan of Ikea.  EVERY TIME (seriously, without fail!!) I've bought something from Ikea, it's bumped, bruised, or scratched (in the box!)- these shelves were NO exception!  I would have returned them, however they were shipped (had I made a store purchase, I would have opened each and EVERY box to inspect the contents!), the nearest Ikea is 2 1/2 hours away, plus I HAD to have them installed- there was no negotiation of time.  The shelves look good (professional), even better, they worked with the budget.  Commercial restaurant grade shelves priced me out!  The Ikea shelves were a fraction of what a set of commercial shelves cost.  

Remember my living area and how I had been living for 7 months?

Welcome home!!!

My movers were THE most responsible, conscientious, professional team.  They knew I was very concerned about my belongings-  LOTS of glass, high ticket items, fragile pieces.  Every single item on the truck traveled safely into my apartment.  What a blessing!  

I was so exhausted, overwhelmed, and sleep deprived on move day, but I HAD to bring some semblance of order (and aesthetic) to the room...

I was soooooo right about my "new" sofa!  It's lovely, but far too dark for the look I'm seeking to achieve!  eBay & etsy, here it comes!

Those arm chairs look 1000% percent better, don't they?  Remember, during week three, I had the pair upholstered in the Brunschwig & Fils chocolate velvet and pink embroidered fabric?  I know, don't judge me!!  I disliked them so much that I had Mr. Upholsterer (re)reupholster them in the Robert Allen fabric and it's done them complete justice!  They are very chic, now!
Give it to me straight!  Does it look like I have a lot to do???  I really cannot tell.  Looking at this photo, I'm reminded that I still have to get the mirror replaced in the frame; I'm unsure if that's going to happen- the budget is getting a tad bit weary. 

Will my inspiration room become a reality???!!!  I just love that nearly every element of this room is a "conversation piece".  It's the the kind of vibe I hope to attain when week six appears.  Again, with the white sofa- I love a white sofa, I have to get one and fast!  

Glori Salva

Last, but certainly not least!  My Milo Baughman desk!  I've had this piece since '08.  Of course there's a story behind it!  Horrible Craigslist photo, but, I KNEW it was something, just as I did with the Schaefer bench.  Drove over an hour to take a look at it and snapped it up for a song, from the original owner.  Fast forward to the present...  I've located a refinisher who has agreed to lay down her principles and stain it ebony for me.  The walnut has more than a few issues; while I'd love to have it stained it's original color, it's best to employ a dark stain.  Dark, but with some translucence; I want to be able to see the grain of the wood- I do NOT want it to look painted dark.  More importantly, she can deliver the desk next week.  We shall hope and see.  

The three drawers are busted and wrapped.  I don't have a referral for the refinisher, I just pray she's not like my ex, Mr. Upholsterer!  As much furniture as I've had refinished this will be my first time working with a woman.  Go girls!  Lady, PLEASE do me proud!  

An updated version of my things to do...


-Remove kitchen cabinets
-Buy kitchen shelves
-Hang kitchen shelves
-Find someone to remove cabinets & hang shelves
-Buy kitchen work table "island"
-Locate and buy interesting art  Have a few cool pieces; could use more.  Paint a few large canvases???
-Hang LARGE mirrors
-Find someone to hang mirrors!
-Order round glass tops for side/end tables
-Sandblast metal cabinets (in Chicago; 4 pieces)
-Refinish 5 metal cabinets & 4, 5-stack metal barrister bookcases  Won't happen during the ORC!!!
-Refinish & ceruse brown wooden chairs  Won't happen during the ORC!!!
-Locate & buy pillows (custom pillows???)  Purchased 4, had 4 madeNeed MORE due to upholstery change!!!  Won't happen during the ORC!!!
-Select & buy upholstery fabric
-Upholster furniture (in Chicago; 14 pieces- by a professional of course!)
-Buy lampshades (in Chicago; have custom made???)
-Have lamp rewired & made taller into a floor lamp
-Locate wood refinisher (in Duluth) & have desk repaired/stained/refinished
-Have mirror replaced in frame
-Place furniture
-Lay rugs (possibly buy a couple!!!)  Purchased 2; using 1!
-Custom drapes (after further consideration, noooooo way $$$$$$$$$)  Not making the INVESTMENT!!!
-BUDGET???  WHO KNOWS!!!  I'll let you know!

Well, the show is still going on and is in perpetual motion, over here!  See you next week, by that time I shall have every piece of cardboard, peanut, bubble and stretchy wrap out of my life.  Be sure to visit my fellow participants in the ORC, leave them a cheery comment, they are all quite talented.  

Review my progress:


Here we are at week three of, the One Room Challenge, the event that Linda of the popular Calling it Home blog host for designers and bloggers alike.  We all have 6 weeks, (really 5, revealing week 6) to implement our design in 1 room.  Have a look at my week one plan and my week two progress of my living room area.  This week is all about SETBACKS!  Well, I have more than a few!  
To begin, I HATE my sofa!!!!  Well, I don't hate my sofa, it's lovely piece of furniture.  I've discovered that it's far too dark for the look I'm creating which is REALLY a downer because I've never even used it!  Feel free to laugh out loud, right here, in an ironic way.  I like the look of a Chesterfield sofa, but, did not want a Chesterfield (they're kind of overused, no?).  So, when I discovered this lovely, quilted, tight back leather sofa at consignment shop I genuinely fell in love.  I haven't even placed it in my apartment and I know that it's all wrong!  The sofa is in FANTASTIC shape and was probably in a room only "for show" because it's hardly been sat on.  It'll definitely wind up in my etsy and/or eBay shop.  Since my sofa is all wrong, the lamps and CUSTOM lampshades that will sit, on a console, behind the sofa are now all wrong!  I can't believe myself!!!  I really can't believe myself since the lamps have been unused in a box since 2008 and now they, too, will also have to grace a new home.  The new sofa is going to be white or even light gray.  The one that I'm okay with is on sale, however, this current one has to go to its new home, first.  I wonder if any of the other participants want to sell off their furniture and accessories BEFORE completing the challenge???  You'll have to stay tuned to the sofa saga...

Ideally, I'd like an open airy feeling that a white sofa has the tendency to lend to a room.


Now, for the upholstery downers!  First up, the barstool seats.  The navy patent leather is gorgeous but something's WRONG!!!

Can you see it?  The top and bottom right corners are NOT perfectly rounded like the top and bottom left corners are.  Nothing that can't be rectified, BUT, it takes TIME!!!!  PLUS, I was so disappointed MAD to see that Mr. Upholsterer altered the design of the seat of the stools!  I was too shocked and upset to take a photo of it.  I wanted the stools upholstered EXACTLY like they were originally, however, Mr. Upholsterer apparently thought they need top and bottom piping!!!!  Can you BELIEVE IT???!!!  Now, I'm all for creative license and am even open to design negotiation, but, CALL ME FIRST- BEFORE you cut!!!!!  Of course, I had a limited amount of genuine patent leather- which you NEVER find.  I bought this patent 7 years ago and, OF COURSE, the company does not have any more; so top & bottom piping it is!  

You thought I was finished talking about the stools, right?  No!  During my inspection, they FELL APART!!!  Mr. Upholsterer failed to replace the screws!  Now, I was REALLY upset by this point because this particular upholster works with one of THE most renown auction houses in the country- who referred ME to HIM!  At this point, I'm not feeling valued by Mr. Upholsterer and returned the stool backs to be reworked and reattached.  
*Footnote - The stool backs were reattached with MISMATCHED screws!  Now I KNOW I'm not valued by the upholsterer.  I asked the owner, "Would you treat Mr. Auction House like this?"  Still haven't received an answer to that question.

Bought a simply beautlful rug, from an eBay seller that's damaged (even though I inquired about damages & was told there were none).  My 2 good rug/carpet dealer friends are ALWAYS telling me not to buy rugs from eBay or etsy!  They are extremely old school gentlemen and believe in the "process" of shopping for a rug.  I believe in the "process", as well; however, I told them that I HAVE to buy rugs from eBay and etsy because $50,000 rugs or even $5,000 rugs, like they sell, are currently out of my budget!!!  Hellooooooooo!!!  

My one rug dealer friend, Amir, was so angry when I showed him the rug that he told me to, "Return it AT ONCE!"  I admit, I actually felt my heart sink a little, when he was ordering me to do so.  He gave me a script to follow and the dealer agreed to repair the rug and pay for the return shipping. Thank goodness I have another rug I can use in its place if I don't receive it before the reveal.

Back to the upholster!  The cane-back bench was delivered.   However, they did not stain it; it was glossed up really nicely, but not stained.  Mr. Upholsterer and I had a little back and forth about it- I could not believe it!  I told him that I paid for the refinishing/staining of the bench- after he confirmed with his son, he agreed to stain the bench.  OMG!  Notice the seats on the right?  Well, those are mine and they are HORRIBLE!!!  I LOVE the fabric & might even have a jacket made out of it but, it's all wrong for the style of chair and will be too dark with my already too dark sofa!  

The second element wrong with the seats is the design or style of the seat.  It's too boxy for the design of the chair and needs to be more tailored.  Look at how thick the seat is- it's got to be 4"!  Too thick and that fabric is NOT helping.

When I initially conferred with Mr. Upholsterer, about the chairs, he said he understood the style of the seats, I sought, clearly he did not.  I delivered the below photo to him a few days later with the new fabric.  Come on, man, I'm on serious time constraints; get it together!!!  THIS is how the chairs should be upholstered:

The new upholstery I chose befits the style of the chairs.  It's a metallic linen blend called,  "Patina" by Robert Allen; it's part of his "Alchemy" line.  It's such a pretty and versatile linen blend.  I'd wear this as a jacket as well!  

I feel like I need to explain my reasoning in selecting the chocolate velvet with pink embroidery fabric.  Well, I had an emotional reaction to it.  Ha!  It's a Brunschwig & Fils fabric, I thought it was luscious and would compliment the kilim I plan to use in the area.  Honestly, I was so emotionally entangled that I didn't even consider it in combination with the mahogany sofa.

This is not my mirror.  My mirror looks exactly like this one, except, my mirror is stained espresso and the glass is broken.  I could hardly believe it.  For the past 6 years or so, it's been in my old bedroom at my mother's house, wrapped in a old comforter and leaning against a radiator.  Perhaps it was the heat that made it crack?  Duh!!!  I didn't think it got THAT hot!  The glass used to make the mirror was over a 1/4 thick, which made it terribly heavy; it was stamp dated "May 1952" on the back.  I'll just wait until I return to Duluth to have it replaced with a thinner, lighter weight mirror.


Now for the uppers of the week!  The legs of the Bertha Schaefer bench are divine in espresso!

The brass Chiavari chairs turned out wonderfully!  

I LOVE the bold, graphic choice I made in selecting burlap coffee bags for the brass beauties- truly rough and refined.

This one is a downer mixed with an upper.  Remember, from week two, my Scarpa-esque chairs that I'm going to ceruse? 

The seat's busted!  Mr. Upholsterer says, he can fix it, no big deal!  Thank goodness!

I'm in LOVE (aren't I always?)!  The cowhide was THE right choice for the seats!!!  Additionally, the right choice to compliment the ceruse project!  They will truly look out.  of.  the.  WILD!

Response from my girlfriend when I sent her an example of cerused wood.  PRICELESS!!!  Exactly what I'm going for! 

Once again, I'm humbled by your visit!  To see my previous weeks, look here:  week one; week two.  I look forward to seeing you next Thursday, week four, at the One Room Challenge!   

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