Friday, March 5, 2010

Decorating Cents

The other night I was whining about how the living room wasn't "quite right" yet. My husband assured me that this is just nerves, anticipation and gut wrenching fear that I'm feeling. See, my parents (who still live in Maine) are visiting. For the first time. ON APRIL 1! FOR A WEEK. *faints* Ok, sorry. Mini-freak out there. I want desperately for parents to swoon over our little cottage, and to gush over how wonderful everything is. And while I'm sure that they'll be happy for us, the fact is, my mom wasn't really thrilled when we moved, so I'm trying extra hard to impress. They've only seen our house in pictures, so this is a really big deal. There is still a lot to do, and obviously we can't get it all done in a month, but I want as close to done as possible. So anyway, I was sitting on the living room floor whining and carrying on about how "if you'd just let me spend what I needed to, I could finish this right" and "what was I thinking? I can't do this on a nearly zero budget!". Of course the spring Pottery Barn catalog came the day before, so that didn't help with my feelings of inadequacy/feeling like I'll never have enough money to do what I really want. Then my husband suggested we play a game. He called it "Let's see how much you spend on this room to make it look like this". Not really in the mood for games, kind of in the middle of a nervous breakdown, but I figured I'd just play along. I was so glad I did!

These cute little crates, also seen on The Lettered Cottage, were for sale in a set of 4 in Whitewash Sundries' Etsy shop for $45ish. They're not available anymore, so I don't know for sure the price. They're perfect to fill in the dead space between the t.v. and the fireplace. I'd been eyeing them in the Etsy shop, but when I said I was going to buy 4 wooden crates for almost $50, Hubs was less than impressed. I think they were totally worth it, but alas, he was right that we just didn't have the money for them. Mine didn't come in a set of 4, in fact these were the only 3 I could find. I got them at TJ Maxx, $2.99, $3.99 and $4.99, smallest to largest. The mason jars I already had, and I filled one with antique wooden thread spools (10 cents each. I bought way too many, but I have extras for some other project). The tall ones are antique spools also, they were $2 each.

Does this look familiar? It should.

(image courtesy Pottery Barn)

My crate was $10 at a flea market. Same color even. Pottery Barn's version sells for $24. I don't know what to put in yet, I'm looking for the perfect basket, or tray, or something. I don't know, I'll know it when I see it.

I got the keys on the wall are from a flea market, $3 for the set! I was ready to buy Pottery Barn's set of vintage keys for $19. But theirs aren't really vintage, mine are. They're all rusty and awesome. The boxes came from an antique store. They're real handcrafted Shaker boxes, but the guy didn't know that, I didn't feel obligated to tell him when he said I could have all 3 for $10. I've wanted Shaker boxes my whole life, but couldn't afford them because they were so expensive. I felt a tinge of guilt not telling him that he should be charging way more than that, but I got over it.

The lamp was $19 from TJ Maxx, very similar to a Pottery Barn lamp that sells for $179. The sign on the wall is actually a cabinet door from an old apothecary. We got it for $8 at an antique store. The black and white picture is an old picture that I enlarged and framed in a $7 Wal-Mart frame. It's a picture of "Wedding Rock", where my parent's got married. It's in South Bristol, Maine, where my grandparent's owned what we called "The Point", because the property literally goes to a point on a cliff over the ocean. I spent every weekend there all summer long for my whole childhood. It's one of the most beautiful places in the world, and are some of my favorite childhood memories.

This is the mantle. It used to be an ugly brown color that really just blended into the stone. It had no personality at all. I used Valspar Antiquing Glaze on the shelf, which made it a really pretty walnuty color. The bottom was just painted black and roughed up with sandpaper. It gave an otherwise blah mantle a brand new life, and it was free. I already had all the materials. The mirror used to be gold, which was really not pretty, so I painted it black and sanded it a little to make it look old. The clock used to be my mom's alarm clock when she was a girl, the jug was my grandmother's, the picture is an old picture of "The Cottage", which is also at The Point. I already had the faux apples (I got them from Wal-mart about 3 years ago). The bowling pin was $3.50 at an antique store. I do have to confess though, the wreath is from Pottery Barn. It was $49. I know, I know. I'm sorry, I couldn't help it.

The lanterns are both from a flea market. The red one was $10, the silver one was $15. The wooden thing was $5 at a flea market. I have no idea what it is, but I liked it. The clock was $5 at an antique store. The checkerboard rug is actually a checkerboard that I adopted. Ok, it belongs to the kids, and I stole it. It looks better here than in the closet! The lamp was $5 at Wal-Mart. The picture is of my babies' first day home, and my favorite picture in the whole world. If my house was burning--God forbid--it would be the one material thing I would save. The frame was $2.50 at a liquidation center. I painted it white, antique glazed it and sanded it.

The couch I bought from a friend, for a ridiculously low price ($60!), the chairs by the window and the leather recliner (Hubs' chair!) are all from a consignment store. We paid $500 for all three, which in my opinion is a crazy good deal. The blue dresser was my mom's, that she bought at an auction in 1978 for $35. It used to black, but I revived it in blue (more on that later).

So, all in all, not too bad. I still have some things I want to do, and there are definitely some coveted items that I can't do without from Pottery Barn, but I guess I can feel pretty good about where I'm at. I'm still feeling some anxiety, but I do feel better knowing that I can do it, with or without thousands and thousands of dollars. *EDITED (to include dollar amount)* I spent less than $800 on the whole living room, including furniture.

I know I'm a flea market and antique store junkie, but how about you? How have you saved money in decorating?


Amy Cunningham said...

Sooooo? What did it all add up to? wasn't that the idea of the whole game?

Merritt said...

Duuuuude. I'm so bad at math, are you really gonna make me do this?! Alright, for all the things listed, (after getting out my calculator because I really am math retarded) we're at a grand total of $726.97. I do have some other things to talk about too, but that's for tomorrow's post! So with everything...I'd venture a guess of less than $800.

Amy Cunningham said...

So for the price of ONE Pottery Barn item ? :}~ And duuuuude....I have to take off my socks to do math. Or...I ask Jenna :D