girl about town

this and that

lions and tigers and bears, oh my! July 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hmcclure2005 @ 4:13 am

I’m sure it comes as no surprise…I LOVE looking at houses. Sometimes I cruise the MLS listings just to see the inside of certain houses I’ve seen for sale in my area. It never ceases to amaze me how people decorate. Let’s face it, everyone thinks they have good taste…but in reality, most people don’t. Now…I’m all for bending rules and creating a unique space that is personalized to your specific lifestyle and taste.

But sometimes the bending goes a little too far and the rule SNAPS!!!!!

Let’s talk about animal print for a moment. I love most animal prints. Let me clarify: I love most animal prints in small doses. I think in small doses, they make the most impact. For example. I’m a big fan of zebra print. I have a long, narrow, zebra print runner in my hallway. I love it. It’s unexpected and gives a dash of whimsy. But that’s where it stops. There’s not a single other animal print anywhere in my house (yet). Animal print can be a great neutral, if it’s used properly. Here’s some great animal prints used tastefully that serve as a neutral and don’t over-power the room:

photo courtesy of YHL

photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

photo courtesy of Ballard Designs

See how just a little dab will do ya?

Nice, huh?

So, now we’ve seen what to do. Let’s look at what NOT to do. Thanks to today’s funny-as-heck MLS listing…we have the following “animal print theme rooms”. Now get this…all of these photos are from the SAME HOUSE!!!! This woman must be obsessed! God love her…apparently she told one person “hey, I like animal print” and the next thing you know, she’s living in a jungle in the heart of the Highlands in Louisville, KY. Who knew?

Okay, kill me. Besides it being a design nightmare…it’s distracting. I mean…you can’t even tell what the house looks like because your eye goes directly to the animals. This is the worst thing to do when you’re trying to stage your home for sale. How are the potiental new owners going to picture their furniture and tastes in the house when they feel like they’ve stepped into a jungle?


One more time for the cheap seats in the back. Animal print = good. Animal print in small doses = better!


bye-bye decorating budget July 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hmcclure2005 @ 1:16 am

*sigh* As you can see from below…my car is down for the count. Again. Second time in two weeks. I haven’t heard from the mechanic yet, but I know it won’t be good news.
So…there you have it…Nine months of saving $$$ for decorating and home improvements…sucked into the car.

I’m sad. 😦


…cute idea! July 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hmcclure2005 @ 12:25 am

Oh heavens…look how cute this is:

image from Better Homes & Gardens

I have two medium size drawer knobs at home that I haven’t figured out what to do with…I think I have an idea!!!! I’m going to screw them into the wall and hang a couple of my grandmother’s vintage handbags! I’m sooooooooooo excited. I wanna go home right now and do it. But sadly, I’m at work…you know…to make money to buy cute things!

I’ll work on it this weekend and post pics! Yay…I love a fun project. Don’t you?


2010 – the year of exposed plaster July 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hmcclure2005 @ 12:08 am

Isn’t it funny how things work out? I’ve been fighting for six weeks or more to find a painter who will strip wallpaper and paint my living room and dining room. Unfortunately,  I haven’t been successful. See paint saga one and two. It’s now a good thing that I couldn’t find a painter because I just spent $612 on new brakes and rotors for my car. *sigh* Don’t you just hate it when the money you have earmarked for a certain home improvement is suddenly swallowed up by a boring, but necessary car repair? Oh well…I haven’t had a car payment in more than a year and the car is 10 years old. What did I expect anyway?

So…here’s the new plan…

I’m going to continue to strip the wallpaper off the walls in the living room. Right now it’s only about 10% removed and it looks horrible. Like a big gaping wound in  need of sutures. Once all the wallpaper is removed and the plaster is exposed. I’m going to leave it that way. For now. It’s going to take probably 4 months or so to rebuild my home improvement fund, then I’ll TRY to find a painter. Hopefully by fall they’ll need work.

In the meantime…I’m going to bring back exposed plaster!!! Exposed plaster will be the new chic! High-end interior design?? Think ‘exposed plaster’!!!

This is the only way to keep from crying sobbing because I have such an ugly house. I’m going to take life’s lemons and make plaster flavored lemonade!

I’ll post progress photos along the way. I’m envisioning naked plaster walls with a fully decorated room. Sound gross great?

I googled ‘exposed plaster’ and found some of these photos. It doesn’t look THAT bad, does it? DOES IT?

I’m going to ROCK exposed plaster like nobody’s business. Who’s with me?


you’re not perfect… June 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hmcclure2005 @ 10:21 pm

I recently read the funniest post on a design blog yet. Here’s a link to Young House Love. They posted the funniest article about a website called Catalog Living. Basically it’s poking fun at design catalogs and magazines because of the funny staging…here’s an example:

Climate control…

Elaine wasn’t about to let some hot flashes get in the way of balancing the checkbook with the abacus.

BRILLIANT. I love it!

I laughed out loud! I immediately picked up the closest catalog and tried a few funny photo captions myself.

It helps to put it into perspective. I mean…who really lives like that? I’ve been struggling with the fantasy of having a magazine perfect home, but it isn’t realistic at all. I mean…where’s the pile of mail you just brought inside and haven’t sorted? Where’s your purse and lunch bag you dragged in after work? Where’s the glass of water and Advil on the nightstand? Toothbrush on the vanity? Not in those houses!

I keep reminding myself that not only are those rooms staged by a professional, but they are also photographed by a professional and photo-shopped to look perfect. It’s unattainable.

It reminds me of being a teenager when my mom started letting me read Seventeen magazine. Up until then I didn’t know that I didn’t have the perfect body or hair, or skin or clothes.  I had to be reminded (over and over again) that those girls were airbrushed and that even THEY didn’t really look like that.

Maybe we should start a magazine/catalog called “The Way We Really Live”. We could photograph beautifully decorated, LIVED-IN rooms.  You know…with a coffee cup on the coffee table—shocking! A couple of dishes in the sink. Maybe a basket of laundry? Okay…that might be pushing it a bit, but you get the idea.

And what about people? Not models, but real people living in real homes? Like the stay-at-home-mom who just dropped the kids off at soccer practice and came home with groceries to start dinner. She might have a beautiful home. I’d buy a magazine like that. Wouldn’t you?


Painting Saga Part Two

Filed under: Uncategorized — hmcclure2005 @ 12:35 am

So, I had a painter over last week (not the original painter as apparently he has fallen off the face of the earth), to give me an estimate.

Here’s a summary of how it went:

1)      Apparently I have a ‘huge’ job on my hands. (well no shit)

2)      If I want the bead board wallpaper hung on the ceiling, a base wallpaper would have to be hung first in order to hide the cracks or they will show through. It costs $18 per yard to hang the wallpaper times 2 because there will be two layers. Total for both rooms would be more than $800. JUST FOR THE CEILINGS.

3)      He charges $35 per hour to remove the existing wallpaper and prep walls for painting. (Robert the original painter only charged $15…just to give you some perspective.)

4)      He suggested possibly putting thin sheets of drywall at the ceiling if I want a smooth finish. The cheapest option is texturing…which I detest.

5)      Then he suggested possibly putting thin sheets of drywall over all the walls…but that would mess with my baseboards because the thinnest drywall sheets are thicker than the depth of the baseboards.

6)      Then he suggested possibly painting the wallpaper…specifically in the dining room. I told him that I’d already researched and tried to do it…I walked him back into the living room and showed him all of my seam mudding.

7)      He said I’m doing it wrong. I said…”what do you mean…I watched videos and did research.”….APPARENTLY…if you want to paint wallpaper…you are suppose to prime the wallpaper FIRST with oil base primer, THEN mud the seams. Not one piece of research or video watching said to do that. I’ll explain more about that in a minute.

8)      He’s going to email with estimates for several different scenarios, but the bottom line is that both rooms complete would cost me about $2,400. That’s about double what I’d budgeted for the room.

Stage five meltdown on deck.

I’m going to stop for a moment and explain that honestly…if I’d known it would be THIS much work and cost THIS much…I might not have bought this particular house. With that said…I’m still happy that I live in a cheap house and I should be grateful that I have this opportunity…but I’m so overwhelmed because I had NO idea the nightmare it would be to just make the place look pretty. That’s all I want. It’s not like I’m trying to build an addition or tear down a wall…I just want the room painted. Is that too much to ask?

So anyway…I have another painter coming tonight. I guarantee he’s going to be more expensive than the guy last night.

Instructions for painting wallpaper:

1)      Shot of tequila

2)      Clean up mess from when you thought you knew what you were doing. (clean joint compound from the seams)

3)      Tape off room

4)      Shot of tequila

5)      Prime all wallpaper surfaces with oil base, stain blocker primer

6)      Wait 3 days for it to dry

7)      More shots of tequila because by this time the buzz has worn off

8)      Mud the seams

9)      Wait 3 days for it to dry

10)   Sand mudded seams

11)   Shot of tequila

12)   Prime again if necessary

13)   Paint room a delightful color that you will get bored of after a month

Okay…with that said…here’s what I’m thinking about doing…

This weekend I’m going to experiment with priming the walls in the dining room…I haven’t really tried to remove any wallpaper in that room, so it should be easy. If painting the wallpaper works, then I might just continue on in the dining room myself to save money. Or at least get all of the priming done. That leaves a big gaping hole in the wallpaper in the living room to work around…it might just have to be blended. I don’t know.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? A gun?


Painting Saga Part One June 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hmcclure2005 @ 12:47 am

Apparently professional painters are flaky. I say that with the utmost respect as I deeply appreciate their hard work and talent.

To give you a little background. My one and only experience with a professional painter was in the fall of ’09. I hired a guy…we’ll call him Robert…to remove three layers of wallpaper, skim-coat and paint plaster walls in my two bedrooms. He did a fantastic job. He was on-time, cheerful, hard working, extremely neat and did exactly what he said he was going to do. And he did it cheap. He did both bedrooms (each 12 x 12) for a total of $1,038.

Pleased as punch I went on about my life and started saving money to have him back to do two more rooms. I’m going to get this house completed the Noah’s Ark way: two-by-two!

After months of saving and one Federal tax refund later, I called Robert to tell him that I’m ready to have him work on the living room and dining room. I left a detailed message and waiting for his return call.

And waited.

And waited.

Drove by his house (two blocks over).

And waited.

Called again after two weeks. Left another message.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

He finally returned my call and said he would be over to see the rooms I need painted. Robert reviewed the rooms, left a paint sample deck and said he would write up an estimate and drop it off.

That was 15 days ago. Haven’t heard a word. I called last week and left a message. I said that I was touching base about when I might receive the estimate. I also told him that if he doesn’t want/need the work, that’s fine…just call and tell me.

Is that too much to ask?

I mean, really?

It’s common courtesy. We’re practically neighbors. It’s just rude.

So…the guy is basically fired before he was ever hired. It’s disappointing because I actually trusted him. He was referred to me by a friend who not only used his services before, but worked also with his wife.

He likes cats and would make sure my kitties didn’t run out the door when he was coming and going.

I’m mourning the loss of my painter. I actually felt so grown up with the idea that I had a painter.

But I’ve been dumped.

By a painter.

Stay tuned for Part Two.