Home Posts tagged "brass"

Tag Archives: brass

One Room Challenge: Week Six — REVEAL!

Hi everyone! Welcome back for the final installment in the One Room Challenge series, wherein I and a host of talented bloggers aim to transform a space in six extremely short weeks. Feel free to catch up on previous posts HERE. Before we get started, I just want to give Linda of Calling it Home a big shoutout for organizing this challenge. Without the threat of public failure, I probably would have flaked a month ago.

So who’s tired of looking at an empty green box where my dining area should be? If you’ve been following along, you know that I started with a fleshy peach disaster of a charmless room that housed sad chairs, a hideous table, and wicked dirty grout. I planned to push myself into designing something bright, edgy and polished, yet still breakfast casual. I had big dreams to resurrect my cracked marble Saarinen table in hopes of creating greater seating flexibility, but that plan failed and I was left bereft. What’s a tableless girl to do when the world is waiting for a dining area makeover?

arsenic austin interiors

Bust out the sandpaper and spray paint, that’s what. I waited and waited for St. Craig to reward my fervent prayers with an oval top for my leftover tulip base, but Frankensaarinen table was not to be. I investigated many fabrication options but was stymied by cost and lead time. So my sad, flaking, peeling old table got a coat of semi gloss black paint on the apron and legs. Then, we sanded the top finish off and wiped on about five coats of dark walnut Danish oil.  It actually looks not too shabby, and I love the matte quality of the finish. Plus the fruitwood inlay really pops now.

That left me with the art conundrum to solve. This was a toughie. I really have too many choices and I like them all for various reasons. What I chose surprised even me…

arsenic austin interiors

Say what? Maybe it’s because it was PITCH BLACK and pouring on shoot day, but the acid yellow of this 70s abstract painting appealed to me. Let the sunshine in!

arsenic austin interiors

I tried lots of art in multiple situations with tons of different styling options, and somehow this dark horse ended up the winner. When I paired it with the crazy Clarence House fabric I used to upholster this vintage ebay bench, something clicked into place for me and I saw things differently. It really is so important to shift your perspective and keep an open mind. Wine helps.

arsenic austin interiors

I know I kept saying I was going to use that red Robert Allen fabric — I do love it and I even ordered a yard. But me and Clarence House have a thing going on. Don’t tell Robert… I don’t want him to be jealous.

arsenic austin interiors

So far the brassy bench is popular seating — like elbow your baby brother out of the way popular. I’m pretty happy with the way it opens the dining area to the kitchen, in that it feels less fenced off.


And then there is the vintage head vase… it’s 80s deco eurovibe o’clock up in here, with a Fornasetti twist. Say that 20 times fast.

arsenic austin interiors

Everything on the table is thrifted — from the $5 flatware to the fringed napkins, cobra commando candlesticks, glassware and Bavarian china.

arsenic austin interiors


I have TONS more china, flatware and glassware, but I just put way too much work into the table to completely cover all that sexy woodgrain up.

arsenic austin interiors

In case you were wondering, the other half of the room still exists…. Of course my ugly door has been properly rejuvenated with a shiny brass doorknob. And what’s that on the kitchen side of things?

arsenic austin interiors

Oh, it’s just a creepy haunted mirror. No biggie — apparently I have to showcase something haunted in every room. I have no idea what this thing is, but my hunch is turn of the 20th century central European. The hammered brass vase came from Round Top and it is far cooler than pictures give it credit for.

arsenic austin interiors

This picture is supremely awful… it was the end of a (literally) dark day and the kids were (literally) three seconds from walking through the door, but I wanted you to see the whole humble setup.

arsenic austin interiors

Even the china cabinet got a mini restyle. Notice all the gold glassware that didn’t make it to the table…

arsenic austin interiors

I bought the unicorn for a client kid room, but little Susie may have to live in a land of shattered dreams. Or maybe I will let it go… I am a giver, after all.

And that’s about it for my teeny tiny dinette makeover. Let’s have a proper before and after, shall we?




arsenic austin interiors

arsenic austin interiors

arsenic austin designer

I think I accomplished what I set out to do. The room is functional and finished, plus there are a few surprise moments. Nothing like a little shock and awe to go with your morning cereal, right? By relying on thrift stores, craigslist, and ebay I was able to keep the budget in check. The bulk of my funds was spent on simple window treatments and a cowhide rug that can be used in different decorating schemes. Content to play supporting roles, neutral basics allow color and quirky accessories to take center stage in the dinette drama. And of course I can always switch out the cheapie flashies when my fickle side takes hold.

As Leonardo da Vinci said: art is never finished, only abandoned.  I read that in Parent’s magazine or something. Hey, I’m no snob — inspiration comes from everywhere.

It’s been a blast hanging with you fine people throughout the challenge! Thank you for your support and comments — they have been the wind beneath my wings. I read each and every word and I love them all, good or bad. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me all about what you think of the new old dinette. Maybe you can even talk me into doing the kitchen next… Maybe.

Please don’t forget to visit the other participants to see how their rooms resolved. There is some amazing work taking place!

one room challenge

It’s been real. Signing off and taking a nap.

Continue Reading


Saddened by the realization that a super high 100″ inch long black leather couch might turn my living room into a funeral home, I have turned to the shopping dark side. Friends, I have gone on a thrifting rampage — a thrampage if you will. Historically this is what happens when I almost spend a lot of money but am thwarted for some silly reason — like measurements. Instead of spending all that mentally allotted money in one fell swoop, I fritter it away on $5 Murano candy dishes and brass spiders. Although let’s not kid ourselves, a brass spider is something to behold and well worth $5.

brass crystal spider

A sparkly gold crystal spider. What’s not to love?

I thought maybe I’d take you on a mini tour of the fruits of my thrampage. Please do not assume this represents even a fraction of the stuff I have thrifted in the last month. I just dumped two giant boxes full of Italian pottery and mid century sculptures on a client that I was too tired to shoot (the thrift wares, not my adorable client people).

persian rug

This here is an awkward space, therefore I made it awesome by surrounding my crazy Mark Sabin print with equally awesome stuff that I nabbed at thrift stores and on craigs. I would never advise my clients to attempt this at home, because honestly sometimes you have to drop some major cash (and even buy new furniture… gasp!) to pull a room together. I think I just have the thrift disease. I probably (definitely) should take my own advice and spring for a new couch instead. Or at least a better cabinet.

mark sabin

But this is how I feel when I thrift… like I’m in a magical forest wearing a floral headdress. You didn’t think I was waxing metaphorical, did you?

marble elephants

These didn’t photograph well but I am obsessed with my new $4 alabaster elephants. I have no idea who made these, but they are gorgeous and HEAVY.

vintage elephant stand

Apparently I need to stop buying white elephants because I have four of them within view. But who could resist this guy?

kurdish rug green

If you follow me on The Gram (that’s what all the kids are calling it these days, right?) then you already know about this vintage Kurdish rug I scooped up on Ebay and put down in our foyer.

cobalt painting

I’m loving it with this amazing gouache painting I bought at a consignment store. And let’s not overlook my brass candlebludgeons… the baby is not yet tall enough to reach them, but soon I will have to move them lest we reenact a scene from Clue.

wallpaper socket

Ok, so I didn’t thrift this wallpaper but I felt you must see the most mangled ridiculous socket wallpapering job in the history of humankind. It looks like Michael Myers from Halloween (not to be confused with Mike “yeah baby!” Myers). This makes me laugh. I really should have paid my amazing wallpaper dude to do this but I cheaped out. Bad. Idea. Jeans.

vintage brass lamp

To make matters worse I might have found this enormous insane ridiculous brass lamp a home in our living room, even though I swore I would not put another brass lamp in my house.


“Seriously Mom, stop with the brass!”

Have I mentioned that Ike and Luke are a little tired of being dragged to every thrift shop in town? Luke just turned 13 months old but he knows exactly where we are as soon as I pull into the parking lot. You’d think the lure of cheap plastic toys and the promise of air conditioning would be enough to stave off their dissatisfaction. But no.

Did you know that Round Top is coming up… I am getting itchy just thinking about it. Are you making mental wish lists for my house like I am? Does it include a brass chiavari chair? I bought one of those, too. Because it’s brass.

brass chiavari

It is vexing me sorely with a bad case of flaking lacquer that I can’t remove, and also you should never clean brass with steel wool (apparently I slept through chemistry).

Let’s talk about how to fix this situation.

Let’s also talk about how there is a set of FOUR immaculate chiavari chairs on craigs right now… Someone please buy them and save me from myself. Please.

The thrampage continues!

Continue Reading

I Spy With My Gimlet Eye

Sure I still have unpacked boxes begging for attention, a garage full of unloved furniture, and a room devoted entirely to packing paper and cardboard, but a girl’s gotta shop for her new pad, right? I put it off as long as I could, but yesterday in between errands I managed to speedwalk through an antique mall which was, perhaps predictably, stuffed with junque. Still, while mining the hills and sifting the sands I managed to find some gold in them there hills.

gold brass trunk

You may recall my obsession with trunks, and especially with all things Sarreid. Well, this guy may not be a Sarreid, but he’s still damn handsome. I think he’s going to make the perfect end table, and toy storage is always a bonus.

gold brass trunk

The booth that housed this beauty also held a number of other curiosities. I kind of wish I had bought this stainless footlocker, too.

Another trip may be in order? Who’s in?

And now I have to figure out how to unload my score from the front seat of the car, where it is wedged in tighter than Kim Kardashian’s booty in… well, anything.

Continue Reading

Austin Craigslist, Cheapskate Edition

Craigslist is littered with asshats who think their doo stained sofas should fetch 1st Dibs prices, but you can’t let that stop you from using the craig for good and not for evil. To be perfectly honest, it’s been a while since I checked in and zoned out on tables and chairs. Today I had a few extra minutes to search for treasure, and I was a little surprised by all the awesomeness I found among the mirrows, rod iron, and chester drawers. Of course, much of said stuff was Knoll and therefore astronomically expensive, but I did find a few cheap and shiny gems. Warning, many crappy pictures shall follow. People, please learn how to use a camera so you can stop making our blog ugly. Thank you.

That’s right. Smoked glass and brass coffee table. $65 here. Shazam!

Mirrored coffee table. Cool shape but those flowers are dumb. It wants to be painted black so badly. Can you help it? $60 here.

Neato chrome chair — would look amazing floating in a room where you could see it from all angles. Gold star for decent photography. $60 here.

I actually opened up photoshop for this, just so you could see the majesty of this sweet little bedroom set in all its glory. $150 here.

It’s got the Mediterranean flava. $35 here.

Pair it with this light. $50 here.

And this rug. $120 here.

And hey, why not this pair (yes, two) of square topped, vintage pedestal tables? $25 here.

Or skip the trad trend and get retro with a pair of square brass mirrored tables. I like these better for our room, anyway. $90 here. The hideous photography is free. You’re welcome.

This will also go nicely in our fantasy room. Antique buffet with clean lines and pretty wood. $75 here.

In a totally different room (like, my living room) lives this huge heavy black lacquer 70s coffee table with BRASS base. $45. Within walking distance of my house. Why have I not bought this again? Did I forget to put the link in? Silly me.

Finally, this is not really cheap ($350 here) but I love the shape. The vaguely southwestern pattern/palette is potentially troubling, but I say you just Nagel the bleep out of that shit.

Perfect! And only $10.

And there you have it. Obviously I have rekindled my craig obsession, which is bad since I need more furniture like Oprah needs more celebrities to tell her how AMAZING!!!! she is. Now go buy one of these things, send me a picture of it in its new home, and I will post it.

As long as the picture is good.

Continue Reading

Fantasy Craigslisting: Portlandia Edition

Last week my brother and his fiance moved to Portland from Virginia with only the goodies they could fit in their car.  Being the altruistic older sister that I am, I took it upon myself to scour craigslist for all the Pacific Northwest has to offer.  I found quite a few bodacious goodies for their downtown loft, some they loved and bought and others are making their big design crisis appearance today.  And guess what?  Not a single item has a bird on it.

First up was this leather sofa, at $900 it was a bit steep, but oh that charcoal leather looks so soft and dreamy.  Plus it’s in amazing condition.  Also, the number one rule of craigslist is don’t talk about craigslist, but the number two rule of craigslist is this:  always talk the sellers down.  It’s so important it really should be rule number one, but, hey, I’m not in charge of these things.

Next was this mid century teak coffee table.  Since I’m in the market for a coffee table myself, and a big square block of wood is exactly what I want, I was pretty excited about this find.  Turns out the table is much to large for their small condo, so it was a negatory.  It’s $100.  Someone go buy it.

Since I’ve never met anything in white tufted leather that I didn’t love, I was pretty excited to stumble upon this sofa.  Turns out the bro and his lady already found a couch just right for them, which means I won’t get to visit this gem in the fall.

Pick your chins up off the ground.  This was easily my favorite Portland Craigslist find and for $20 (twenty dollars!!!!) I prayed to all things holy that D & E would share my sentiments.  Luckily my bro has great taste in women who has great taste in tables and they bought that mofo.  Dear portlanders, this table had been on craigslist for a week.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.

If you’re hankering for a piece of brass in front of your sofa after seeing the last dreamy table, they had two of these tray tables, this one here and this one here.

Or get some brass for behind your sofa here

This arc light was priced a bit high (remember rule number 2!) but I still think someone should race out and get it.

I usually defer to ebay for all interweb lighting purchases, but I thought this little gem was just delightful.

Turns out there’s lots of burl wood laying around in Oregon (go figure).  I found this tabletop here and this one here

Ok, this is where I pull out the showstopper:

I found and developed an obsession for this rug early on (wouldn’t it look AMAZING under that brass coffee table???!!!).  The young couple decided to pass and their loss is your gain, Portland readers.  Go, roll around on this rug, stare at it longingly for hours, I will hand write some love letters for you to read aloud to it, the rug will like it, I can tell.

I’ve seen pics of all the pieces D & E have selected so far and it all looks awesome, I can’t wait to check it out in person.  As for Portland craigslist:  All in all, I found some pretty good stuff up north, you dudes have a pretty nice well to tap into.  And to whomever ends up with the rug:  sleep with one eye open.

Oh, PS, if there are any amazing secret stores the new Portlandiers should know about, leave a comment, yo.

Continue Reading
Top of Page