Archive for November, 2010

So, after watching about a dozen episodes of Sarah’s House on HGTV online last week, I was officially sick of my apartment. The way I looked at it, I could do one of two things: a) dig myself deeper into a hole of disgust with my apartment and begin to look at houses or b) redecorate. After weighing pros and cons and doing a little fast math, I came to the (fairly obvious) realization that there would be a cost savings of about $300,000 if I redecorated instead buying a use. Redecorate, huge debt, redecorate, can’t afford to eat. Redecorate it is!

Out of fairness to myself (and current furnishings), I should say that the word redecorate is not exactly correct. When Ryan and I moved into the apartment together, I was about to quit my job and so our decorating philosophy was simply to make best use of our hand-me-downs. And, I must say, we have some great hand-me-downs to work with. But, there really was no money to pick out new furniture to really customize our apartment to our taste. So, really, when I say redecorate, I mean, for the first time, throw a little money at purchasing a few pieces that we I want and making the apartment feel perfect.

So, where do I choose to  start my journey? Puh-lease, where else? Circa. And, what do I find there on my first try?

This little gem, fresh off the auction trucks. Made in Italy with hand-carved detailing. For $45 it was mine!

I had visions of this chair (which I planned to use as an accent chair in our bedroom) looking like this beauty of a chair from Jayson Home and Garden.

Black, but with a hand-rubbed feel and a burlap seat. I have a big, beautiful mirror in our bedroom (that incidentally came from Circa that my brother refinished for us) that needed some grounding and I thought a black chair would be just the thing to do it. (Note to self: do a post in the future about the mirror!). (Note to reader: this chair is listed at $495 on the Jayson Home and Garden Web site!).

So, here begins another adventure in furniture refinishing with Dan Kosut. My dad was excellent— filling in chips in the wood, sanding and smoothing them out, and ultimately doing all of the work (including taping up the pesky, yet beautiful, wicker backing) while I sat and gave directions. So, here’s the chair after being sprayed down with black, satin spray paint.

Loving how the black looks against the caramel of the wicker!

Then, we took same paint thinner to bring out some of the original wood stain on the hand-carved detail. Like this.

Then, we reupholstered the seat with some basic linen/ burlap fabric that I got for less than $10 at Williams & Sherrill and voila!

Here is our finished masterpiece. All for a grand total of $55 (because my dad had the spray paint and provided the labor).

And, here is the artist with his masterpiece.

I have to say, the finished product of this chair so vastly surpassed my expectations for it. I couldn’t have predicted how the contrast of the black against the wicker would bring out its beautiful color. In fact, I was worried that the black would overpower the wicker, but I think it did just the opposite, it brought it out even more.

This project didn’t just leave me wanting to do more for myself, though, it left me wanting to do more… for a profit! I neglected to mention that, while my mom and I were picking out fabrics at Williams & Sherrill, we spotted this chair.

A nearly exact replica of our chair, painted in a gray/ green wash, priced at a cool $489! I look at fancy design magazines all the time and am used to seeing ridiculously priced furniture, but the stark contrast of this chair next to our find really shocked me. So, who knows, maybe you’ll see me and ol’ Geppetto (aka Dan Man) selling our refurbished finds online somewhere down the line. Screw this whole helping kids thing… I want to be like Sarah Richardson!!!


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It is an amazing weekend to be a C-villian. There are so many fun things going on that I want to encourage/ share.

First, I’ll be kicking off my weekend with an inaugural event. It’s called “There’s No Place Like Home,” and it’s a fundraiser for the Haven at First and Market. The Haven is a day-shelter for homeless people in our community. If you haven’t taken a tour or attended an information session yet, tomorrow night is your chance! It will re-frame how you think about homelessness in Charlottesville. They provide locally-sourced meals (sometimes grown in the Haven garden by it’s guests), shower and laundry facilities, and mailboxes and storage areas. They also have a team of specialists whose offices reside in The Haven that are on-hand to help with anything from job searching, to mental health, to substance abuse, to legal assistance, and health advocacy and assistance. See all their services here. Last but not least, they also have huge group of volunteers who do everything from help serve meals to just hang out with the guests and ask about their days.

What I love about this fundraiser is that it costs $10 to get in. So many fundraisers in this town seems to be just for the elite, with tickets prices starting at $100 or more. While that may be a more efficient, sexier way to raise money, I love how the $10 ticket price is inclusive to almost any one who wants to show their support.

Last but not least, one of my favorite, longstanding Charlottesville events is happening— the Virginia Film Festival. You might remember that I actually interned for the film festival during my 4th year at U.Va. and came to know the in’s and out’s of the festival. Since my time at the festival, many things have changed, namely, there is a new director, Jody Kielbasa (yes, as in the delicious meat), who is changing the size and cope of the festival.

Wait, wait, wait… did I mention Ryan is going to be on a panel?!?!?! Look, you can see his name right here. Ryan is on the “Independent Filmmaking Panel” and will talk about how to make a living get by in Charlottesville. If you’re in C’ville come check it out. It’s at 1pm on Sat., Nov. 6 at the “Digital Media Gallery”— you might know the space as the abandoned building next to Derriere de Soie. But, I guess they are gussying it up and calling it a “Digital Media Center” for the festival.

Here are some other films I’m dying to see this weekend. You can see the whole schedule here.

World Peace and other 4th Grade Achievements– Sunday, Nov. 7, 3:15 pm at the Paramount. An amazing local film about an amazingly talented and motivated public school teacher.

Hey, Boo– Sunday, Nov. 7, 1:30 pm at Regal on the Downtown Mall. This documentary commemorates the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird. And you know it’s gonna be god, ’cause it has my girl, Oprah in it. And, Tom Brokaw.

happythankyoumoreplease– Sunday, Nov. 7, 6 pm at the Paramount. I don’t know much about this film except it won the Audience Favorite award at Sundance, so I figured it’s worth checking out.

And, I love that you can see old favorites like What’s Up, Doc? at the Paramount at 10:45 on Sunday morning. I might just sit in the Paramount all day watching film after film.

Photos from the Haven and Virginia Film Festival web sites.

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First Fire

Not too much to add today. Just wanted to share a toasty pic of Ry lighting our first fire of the year in our fireplace last night. This pretty much sums up how I feel about November and the rest of winter. Bring on the fire, (warm) beverages, and blankets!

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