Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Story of Our Dining Room Chairs

Last post we alluded to another update we've made in our dining room. As you can see, we finally got new chairs for the space — oh only 9 months after moving into the house. With all the food and entertaining we take on, you might think the dining room would have been our top priority. Well all we can say is, we're getting there slowly!

We've always loved the industrial look and feel of metal paired with barn wood, so we knew we wanted something metal to go with our farm dining table. For years we've looked at and considered the Tolix style french cafe chairs, though admittedly, we weren't in love with the idea of the sticker shock the authentic versions might bring us.

We've searched high and low for vintage Tolix chairs on Craigslist, Etsy, Ebay, and other online auction type sites. For example, we'd eyed and drooled over authentic but modern versions like these from Pottery Barn with a whopping price of $245 per chair:

And just loved the idea of authentic vintage versions like these that can be found all over Ebay and other auction sites to the tune of $350 or more per chair:

Every so often some amazing vintage Tolix chairs will creep up in Etsy's Vintage section too, like these, for almost $800 for the pair:

Just once I'd love to be ahead of the design curve on gems like these. Back in the day, these french cafe chairs were probably a dime a dozen and you might have been laughed at for wanting something like this prominently in your home. It always happens that way, doesn't it!? Maybe we need to re-think holding onto and storing those folding chairs Mary's dad lent us that we were smack talking in our last post, ha.

But that magical moment where we found a steal on the real deal didn't arrive before we laid our eyes on the prize with the chairs we did end up getting (which we think look pretty similar). 

That fateful day came in the form of these Silver Tabouret Stacking Chairs from This was one of those instances where the coupon queen tendencies passed down to Mary from her mother and sister came into play. Since we'd been eyeing this style of chair for so long, she had signed up for various site emails where we get alerts on sales and coupons. Somehow (don't ask me how), Mary was able to stack a sitewide sale, and email percentage coupon and a free shipping offer all at once to snag all 8 of these chairs for right at $40 a pop. We're not always frugal in every part of our lives, but again this is one of those circumstances where I love the thriftiness that can come out of my woman!

Mary here: Like Tim alluded to, anyone can do this. If you have a favorite brand/store/item and a little patience, simply sign up for the company emails. They send out offers and promo codes every so often that you can take advantage of. It just so happened with these chairs that we hit the sweet spot when Overstock was already having a site sale on them, and also sent me a discount coupon via email, along with a separate free shipping offer — It. Was. Awesome. Over and out.

While the chairs we got aren't authentic French Tolix cafe chairs, we love the industrial vibe they give off and were even a little surprised at how comfortable they are to sit in.

We love how the 8 chairs fit perfectly around the table as is and can be moved to either side when we put leaves in the table for when we have lots of people over. My mother has been adamant that Mary and I will be having Christmas dinner at our house from now on (something she's hosted for as long as I can remember) so we love knowing we will have enough wiggle room.

The chairs also stack perfectly against one another for easy transport if we need more space in the room or just want to move them around. Who knows if we'll ever actually stack these chairs, but we like the feature in any case.

Here's the part in the post where I show a ton of shots of the chairs I tried to get from every angle:

Funny Note — While I was trying to get some decent shots of the new chairs all set up in the space, you know who thought it was the perfect time to try to get me to play ball with him. He quite literally almost made it into every single shot I tried to get.

So, shall we take another look at our awesome new chairs while Basil photo-bombs each shot? I think yes:

The challenge was finding any good shots that he hadn't photo-bombed. What a ham — a big puppy ham.

As you can gather, we're all smitten with the new chairs and the way they've helped us come one step closer to making this room feel more complete and functional. We're starting to get there!

What about you — scored any great deals you can't help but share with everyone or added any updated furniture to a space that's made all the difference recently?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Dining Room Update: Curtains (Maybe)

Last time we left off here on the blog with the progress of our dining room, we'd painted the space and were looking a little like this:

Pretty much a clean slate! Next on the list was getting in some updated window treatments. When we moved here back in December, my mother gave us 4 amazing green Thai silk 108" window panels that she'd gotten brand new for her own home but didn't end up using. We were thrilled to say the least and couldn't wait to try them out in the dining room space.

I have to admit that upon opening the curtains, I loved the little "congratulations" for my purchase with further instructions, ha:

The panels came with hardware I'd never used in curtains before — you quite literally have to pierce the fabric with hooks in increments where you want them to hang from your curtain rings. So I started out by laying the panel flat on our dining room table and measuring out where each hook would need to be inserted:

After mocking everything in place at equal spaces, I went ahead and began piercing the top of the fabric, careful not to pierce through to the front of the panel. Sorry for the shaky shot — that's what I get for trying to get one left handed (but you get the idea):

Measuring out the first panel was the longest and hardest part (and the only step that involved math). Once I had the one good to go, I simply flattened out the other three panels overtop the first one and used it as a visual guide for placing in the other hooks instead of individually measuring out each panel again:

By the 4th one, I was pretty proud of myself at how quickly it went:

Then I made Tim come back in the room to help me test hanging these guys. We already liked the existing hardware that was left on the windows, so we simply slipped a few rings onto the hanging rod and put them into place exactly where the previous window hardware had been installed:

You can really see the height we are working with in this space in the following pictures (not to mention how great of a guy I have for getting up on the table to put these heavy panels in place):


Tim hiding behind a mess of curtains and Basil trying to get either one of us to play ball with him:

Here's how we looked the day after fussing with them the night before:


It was a big improvement from where we started to say the least!

Side note — that big black appliance to the right is a steamer I used to try to get some wrinkles and folds out of the fabric. I LOVE having a steamer. You needed to know that.

After sitting on it a couple days, we weren't totally satisfied with the height of the rods, especially being below the tops of the window frames. We LOVE the way the curtains perfectly pooled at the floor, but felt like raising the rods might make the room look even taller and just flow a little better in general.

Take a look at these inspiration examples from my Home Pinterest Board:

See how the rods are installed above the window frames and just seem to look great? Plus, after seeing so many templates and guides for hanging curtains "high and wide" outside of the frame, we just felt like we had to give it a go.

Template examples showing the difference hanging higher and wider can make:

So down came the curtains and out came the ladder, screwdriver and drill:

After removing the rod hardware from the wood window frames, we realized there were a ton of holes all along the wood where several pieces of previous hardware used to be, like the mini-blinds and other rods. So Tim used some white colored interior wood filler to fill in each of the holes and later smoothed them out to create the look of seamless wood:

Once it came time to reinstall the window hardware, we used a yard stick as a template to make sure things were level on both sides and drilled 1 inch in from the tops of the window frames since the rod is adjustable enough to create any width outside of the frame we'd be going for:

After getting the curtains up once again, we heard a loud crash later that night and came in the room to find one side of them ripped from the wall. FAIL:

Can you spot the incriminating evidence in the photo above? Hint, it's Basil's red kong toy...

So after a little readjustment, here's what we're looking like on the curtain length right now, from about every angle we could possibly photograph. See if you can spot where Basil's furry little behind makes a cameo:


...and a closeup of our The Steel Fork deer head, since we love it so much:

While we love the new height of the curtain rods, now we're not so sure the curtains aren't too short for the space since we loved the way they looked just barely pooled on the floor. We're still on the fence.

We do have two windows like this in our master bedroom where the ceiling doesn't go quite as high, so we're debating moving them to the bedroom and just making custom drapes for this dining room space or waiting for the perfect 120" pair of panels to come along.

At least we are worlds away from where we first began — remember:

Yes, much better! We've still got a long way to go. As always, we'll keep you posted as we figure it out and definitely stay tuned for the next post since we're not quite finished with the updates we've made recently to this space!!

Hint: if you're not feeling those temporary folding chairs as much as we aren't, then we have a pleasant surprise coming up next.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wedding Weekend Basics

We ended up the week last week with a little post detailing cake tasting for our own wedding, but our actual weekend centered completely around the events of my best friend, Emily's, wedding. I was a bridesmaid in the wedding (you might remember Emily and her now husband, J, from the trip we took to Asheville over the summer). Today I wanted to round up a few of my favorite shots I was able to snap with the phone throughout the weekend.

Friday was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner:

Saturday we spent the day getting ready before the wedding — it was all of us girls in the wedding and we had the chance to just take our time and take in how special this day and our time together was:

Getting hair and makeup done professionally always feels so fancy! This is Adele, Emily's best friend from college and someone I've also loved getting the chance to know over the past few years. You might remember these same ladies from my quick Bachelorette and Birthday weekend trip for Emily in Miami this summer.

This shot of Emily and her older sister peeking out the window of the room where we were getting ready as guests were arriving is my favorite of all the shots I got that day:

There were so many little details getting ready — here were a few of my favorites:

The shoes:

These shoes have a cute story. A family member gave Emily a six pence that had been worn in the shoes of their weddings for good luck. I had never heard this before, but evidently the rhyme "something borrowed, something blue" goes like this:

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a six pence in the shoe...

Maybe one of you knows the actual saying and can let us all in on what we've been missing. In any case, I loved the idea of hiding the six pence in the shoe for the wedding.

These were the earrings Emily gifted each of us bridesmaids — aren't they beautiful? She got them on Etsy!


Wild Turkey minis...self explanatory?  :)

Check out Emily's dress:

It was a short dress — and she is one of the only people I know who could pull it off flawlessly.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the reception:

Those leather suspenders on Jay are also from Etsy!

This is a shot of Tim and I with Emily and her brother, Key, who is also a great friend of ours. Tim and Key could watch and talk sports for hours on end — it's a good fit all around.

The cake — it was all chocolate under there:

Em & J:

Most of the groomsmen — J had 7 groomsmen and Emily had 3 bridesmaids, it was a lot of fun:

While the weekend centered around celebrating Emily and J, I told Tim how I felt like I was able to go on a couple fun and long date nights with him throughout it all. We even had a few cute new shots of the two of us:


I'm always partial to shots of Tim and I together. It's funny because we take easily upwards of 300 photos per week of various things we're doing and things we see, but rarely get good shots of the two of us together. Because of this, when we do, I really cherish them.

Now that the business of the weekend has wound down, it's been fun looking back over all the pics and remembering all the little things we forgot to take in during the blur of it all. I'm really looking forward to seeing the pics from the wedding photographer to get to see the shots of the actual ceremony and all the other details we missed!