Creating a Dining Room Space…Apartment DIY

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

Last year my husband and I rented out our home and decided to rent an apartment closer to work and to my children’s school.  The location is perfect but the apartment is a bit older and very cookie cutter as apartments go.  Since we’re limited to what we can do on the inside I’ve turned my attention to our furnishings  – lighting up the space and making it feel more like a home.

This weekend’s project:  creating a dining room space.

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

This is where we started.  I’m big on repurposing so we picked up this lovely dining room set (I say that sarcastically) off of Craigslist for $70.  It came with 6 chairs, a buffet and hutch so the price wasn’t bad.

The major issue with repainting this set was the fact that is was covered in a lacquer coating.  Since we have no outdoor space, sanding or spray painting wasn’t an option which lead me to our local Home Depot to ask for a little advise.

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

They directed  me towards Kilz Original Oil Based Primer.  It smells like nail polish remover but wow, this stuff will cover just about anything.  It recommends two coats but I found that one was more than enough.  I allowed the primer to dry for about 30 minutes and then applied two coats of white semi-gloss oil-based paint.

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

I anchored the space with a throw rug (IKEA; $19.99) and created a wide runner with a curtain panel I picked up at our local thrift store, still in the box from Target ($9.99 / originally sold for $24.99).  While I was there I grabbed a set of 8 stoneware mugs ($0.49 a piece) great for juice or coffee in the morning and 4 matching pillows to use as cushions ($1.00 a piece).

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

I love fresh flowers in the Spring but keeping those on the table can get a little costly.  Baby’s Breath is a great alternative…it’s cheap, lasts forever, and the wispy white flowers are perfect for the season.

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

Our apartment does have a separate dining room but it’s directly off the front door and has no windows…who wants to eat there!  I split off the buffet table that came with our dining set to be used as an entryway table and it’s also destined for a new coat of paint.

Reclaiming Your Castle

Reclaiming Your Castle

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Lemony White Bean Dip…Food52 Love Pt. 4

Food52

Food52

Hummus is an all around great snack; perfect for dips and uber healthy…but if you’re looking for an alternative, according to Food52 you can’t do better this Spring than Lemony White Bean Dip.  The mild tast of the white beans allows the seasonal herbs you’ll be adding to the mix really shine through; I can’t wait to try this one!

Food52

Food52

Garlic, rosemary, parsley, lemon and thyme are just a start for this versatile dip.  Experiment with red pepper for some added heat or try using fresh dill as the author suggests.  Follow the picture links for the full story on Hummus’ Spunky Sister!

White Bean Dip with Fresh Herbs

Serves 4

  • 2 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided into 1 tablespoon and 3 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  1. In a medium-sized pan, heat the garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook for two minutes, and then add the white beans, rosemary, and thyme. Sautee for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until garlic is soft and fragrant.
  2. Transfer the beans to a food processor. Add the salt, pepper, lemon, and remaining olive oil. Process on high, stopping every now and then to scrape the bowl down, until mixture is totally creamy and smooth.
  3. Pulse in the fresh parsley. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil.

How to Create a Vision Board…Keeping Your Goals in Focus

Lauren Conrad

Lauren Conrad

Most days I have a million different thoughts running through my head; what to make for dinner, what bills need to be paid, Dr.’s appointments, birthday parties, work…there’s no room left for inspiration.  No time to set goals and focus on accomplishing them!

Enter the vision board.  It’s like Pinterest with a little elbow grease.  The purpose of this practice is to set in front of you long-term goals that are easily forgotten in the grind of day-to-day life.  They’re not magic; they don’t make things happen but they remind you that you want to make things happen.  For instance, your creating your vision board and you paste up a picture of a beautiful plate of food; you want to learn to cook.  You pass by this picture everyday and the next time you get an invite or a flyer in the mail for a cooking class your inspired and sign up!  Having a visual reminder of your goals and desires give those goals priority and help you focus your energy on accomplishing them.

Pret-aPortea

Pret-a-Portea

There are lots of techniques for assembling a vision board and several ideas on what the purpose of your vision board should be.  One of best articles I’ve read is ‘What the Heck’s a Vision Board – And How Can it Change Your Life?’ by Martha Beck.  Here are a few things that you’ll definitely need and the basics of putting your board together.

#1.  Get some magazines…lot’s of them!  Tear out any pictures, headlines or captions that speak to you and set them aside.  Have fun with it; don’t focus on collecting anything specifically just go with what you’re passionate about.

#2.  Sort your collection into groups.  If you’ve found yourself gravitating towards words and pictures that promote a healthier lifestyle consider dedicating a portion of your vision board to that goal and so on.

#3.  Get a cork board and start pinning!  Once you’ve determined what you’re passionate about and what your goals are start pinning up your pictures.  With pins and a cork board your vision board can grow and change with your goals.

#4.  Display your board in an obvious place – one that you’ll see often throughout the day.

*If you have a vision board or have any tips for putting one together I would love to hear from you!

Design Trends…India and the Far East

Two Worlds Arts

Two Worlds Arts

If you’re anything like me you’ve been snooping through magazines and hitting up Pinterest for some inspiration on livening up your home for the coming Summer months.  From colors, to materials, to patterns and trends it can really be overwhelming!  

With that in mind, I’ve decided to dedicate Mondays to featuring some of the better home design trends I’ve seen out there.  The goal is to keep your space interesting; not just for entertaining but so you and your family can stay entertained!  Adding a few small trendy pieces around the house keeps your home looking fresh and inspired without breaking the bank.

 INDIA AND THE FAR EAST

Elle Decor did a trend alert on Far East home decor recently and I like this one for a lot of reasons.  Colors from India and the Far East are bold and vibrant (perfect for Summer) and the angles and shapes of this style are visually interesting. 

Take a look at some examples of this current trend; can you work the Far East into your home this season?

Overstock

Overstock

Malibu Creations

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Suzys Vintage Attic

Houzz

Houzz

Elle Decor

Elle Decor

Joss and Main

Joss and Main

Crafts in India

Top 5 Favorite Photo Food Blogs…

 

What Katie Ate

What Katie Ate

Face it, it’s hard to come up with things to make for dinner every night!  We try to be creative but so many times in the end it’s the box of Kraft mac and cheese and cut up hot dogs that make their way to the stove top.  Well, I’m a visual learner and there’s no better way to get inspired to cook than looking at a photo of a beautifully put together meal and thinking…”hey, I can do that!”

So, without further adieu here are my Top 5 Favorite Photo Food Blogs (say that 5 times fast).

#1.  What Katie Ate

What Katie Ate

What Katie Ate

What Katie Ate

What Katie Ate

Even if I hated cooking I would still read this blog; the photography is incredible.  What Katie Ate offers a wide array of recipe options that include meat and gluten-free meal alternatives.  Must check this one out!

#2.  Verses From My Kitchen

Verses From My Kitchen

Verses From My Kitchen

bean-soup-2-above

Verses From My Kitchen

This guy loves to cook…and drink.  He’s as much a writer as he is a food lover; his stories are engaging and fun to read and the photos are inspiring.  Verses From My Kitchen makes you feel as though you have a friend cooking right along with you.

#3.  Hungry Girl por Vida

Hungry Girl por Vida

Hungry Girl por Vida

Hungry Girl por Vida

Hungry Girl por Vida

Food, photos, makeup tips, milk shakes…this food photo blog is for the ladies and I love it.  Get food inspired and find a new concealer all at the same time!  Cannot think of a better combination.

#4.  What Should I Eat for Breakfast Today

What Should I Eat for Breakfast Today

What Should I Eat for Breakfast Today

What Should I Eat for Breakfast Today

What Should I Eat for Breakfast Today

Have you ever asked yourself that question?  Well, this blog has all the early morning answers!  From Fried Pears to Polish Pancakes this beautiful food blog gives scrambled eggs a run for their money with exciting alternatives to the breakfast norms. 

#5.  theKitchn

theKitchn

theKitchn

theKitchn

theKitchn

A branch of Apartment Therapy, theKitchn is more than just a place to find photo inspiration and recipes.  They’ve got tips for serving large groups and picky eaters and how to’s for presenting your meals with style.  Photo and food fabulous!

Spring in the City…

The Cinderella Project

The Cinderella Project

Imgur

Imgur

That Inspirational Girl

Inspired Design

Inspired Design

Inspired Design

Inspired Design

Inspired Design

Inspired Design

Inspired Design

Flickr/Vath.Sok

Flickr/Vath.Sok

HDR Creme

HDR Creme

212 Access

212 Access

That Inspiration Girl

That Inspiration Girl

Inspired Design

Inspired Design

Parisian Spring

Parisian Spring

Source Unknown

Source Unknown