Under a House

Scavenged: Danish Lounge Chair

ScavengedChrista CardoneComment

If you hang out on Craig's List long enough, you'll get lucky. You'll also see a lot of overpriced plastic furniture, but hey, that's what makes the hunt so much fun.

I struck gold last week when I came across this Danish chair. I put my negotiation skills to use and got this guy for a pretty good deal. Best Craig's List advice I can give you: always negotiate the asking price.  

It's in very decent shape and at some point, I might touch up the blunders on the leg and a few dents in the arm.


I ordered a set of navy cushions from cushionsource.com, which I've heard good things about. For the price point, I'm willing to give it a go. Until then, this guy is hanging out in the corner, waiting to be sat on.


Do Your Best

Christa CardoneComment

If you watched Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City, you might recognize this phrase. The cast is always encouraging each other to do your best in their work or in general. I love the phrase because man, we should all just really do our best all of the time, whatever that means to us individually.

I love the phrase so much that I wanted to see it in front of me every day. I'm not one for tattoos, so the next best thing was to make a banner that I would be forced to look at every day upon waking.

Turns out, there's a reason people charge a pretty penny to make lettered banners. They are quite tedious and difficult to get right. Ironically, I was trying to do my best at making a banner for the first time, which wasn't the world's best, but it was my best, so it all came full circle.

I based my project on these instructions, doubling the dimensions to make the banner bigger. I used tracing paper to draw the Helvetica letters, then used those as a stencil to cut out the felt letters on adhesive felt sheets.

The fabric is a black hopsack linen and I used a wooden dowel rod (any hardware store will carry these) to hang it from. It's resting on our pipe shelves right now until I buy some twine to hang it in the bedroom.

It's not perfect, but I did my best.

Best $8 I've Ever Spent

DetailsChrista CardoneComment

I started stripping the banister in September 2015. It's 2017 now and I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Here is timeline of progress since we closed on the house a few years (years!) ago:

A few people have asked exactly how to tackle a project like this and my answer is usually to not even start. It's messy, tedious, and unending. But since I'm in this deep, I'll share that my favorite tools have been wire brushes, paint stripper, and this molding scraper blade. My most recent tool purchase, which is my favorite by far, is this set of wax carvers:

Best $8 I've ever spent. I feel like a dentist when I have these laid out next to me, picking one and then another to get into the detailed grooves of the banister and scrape out that pesky brown paint.

We're getting there. I can feel it. A few more episodes of Pod Save America and I'll be home free.

Color of the Year

Christa CardoneComment

I was sort of expecting this year's declared Pantone Color of the Year to be white. With the trend toward minimalism and MCM aesthetic, I've see my fair share of stark white walls on Pinterest this year. I even tagged a few of my own.

I wonder, though, if this greenery isn't meant to accompany our white walls by way of plants and, well, greenery. Succulents and palm trees are a given accessory to a white wall and this color captures the hue that looks just right against a stark, colorless backdrop.

Image via Food52.com

Image via Food52.com

Image via Bloglovin

Image via Bloglovin

It's also the very same color as the Cricket couch, so don't go overboard with embracing Pantone's suggestion.

Hanging the Ribba

DetailsChrista CardoneComment

Everyone loves the cost of the RIBBA and the look of the RIBBA; no one likes the RIBBA’s design flaw.

Ikea’s simple and affordable frame almost gets the job done. The awkward bracket on the back of frame that is meant to rest on nail in the wall doesn’t really work. And the frame is too narrow to accommodate Command Strips, so it leaves people in quite a bind.

Here is Ikea's comically unclear manual on how to hang the RIBBA:

The are about a million blog posts written about RIBBA hacks, which include installing picture frame wire, purchasing and applying a new bracket, and few things in between. These are all excellent workarounds, but leave us with the same issue we face when hanging any photo at home, which is dealing with the brick walls hiding behind our plaster. Only if a frame is very heavy and I am very certain of its placement do I drill a hole into the brick.

I love the RIBBA, but man, the RIBBA leaves me in a pickle.

While scouring the Home Depot Photo Hanging aisle for a miracle solution, I found these Command Wire Hooks:

Great news: they work like magic. The hook rests perfectly in the bracket already installed on the RIBBA and they are, like all Command Strips, easy to hang and non-damaging to the walls. One more pro tip while we are here: using paint tape to create a horizontal line for marking and spacing a photo grid is extremely helpful!

Happy hanging, friends.

Review: Pittsburgh Map Print

PittsburghChrista CardoneComment

The crew at www.modernmapart.com contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing one of their city map prints for our dear old Pittsburgh and I told them to bring it on. Some of my favorite hobbies including embracing city of Pittsburgh and collecting prints and posters that hang out for years waiting to be framed.

Modern Map Art sent me an 18" x 24" white and black print so that I could scope it out and tell you all about it. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the piece. The print is very crisp and as far as I can tell, navigationally accurate. It fit perfectly into a black Ikea frame I had hanging around and works nicely in there without a mat, although at some point I may elevate it and do it properly.

Right now, it's hanging out in my bedroom with another print waiting to find a permanent home.

I scoped out some other maps on their site, which are plentiful, and was pleased to see that they had a Kentucky Blue version for Lexington (#BBN). There were also some good ski valley maps if you're in to that sort of thing.

I think it would be cool to mark our house or some of our favorite spots on the map with a pin or marker. All in all, a solid product that would make an excellent gift or addition to your blank canvas. Thanks to Modern Map Art for the opportunity to review!


Disclaimer: Modern Art Maps sent me their product free of charge in exchange for a review. This post and review is of my own opinion.

Bedroom Plans

Bedroom, PlanningChrista CardoneComment

Enough is enough. I was planning to hold all bedroom upgrades until we refinished the floors and destroyed the drop ceiling, but those things aren't going to happen in the near future and the room's current state is really bumming me out.

So, I'm moving forward with some minor updates that should have noticeable impact.

The road map:




  • American Buffalo Print (I've been threatening to hang this for years)
  • FLÅDIS Basket (Ikea) - For the bedside to house those random cords and articles of clothing that never find a proper home.
  • Woven Wall Hanging - There are some DIYs for these floating around, but I should probably just bite the bullet and purchase one. One that has a price point much lower than what is pictured here.
  • Invisible Book Shelf - I'm having a hard time finding anyone who still carries the Bruno Rainaldi Sapien Bookcase or a version of it that I like. If you're in the know, please get in touch!

Looking at my "road map", it's clear some pops of color are in order. I gave myself a tight deadline on this one and detailed a project plan in Excel, so I should have some results to share with you soon.

Podcasts that have served as my painting companions: 1A from NPR and Pod Save America from Crooked Media. Gotta multitask as an informed citizen, activist, and home renovator, folks.


Christa CardoneComment

If I'm being honest, these are stressful times. Let's unwind with some distractions as we wind down yet another week of pure mayhem.

I've been working on these planet watercolor paintings. They are a lot of fun to do. Here's a good tutorial.

Speak of which, is Mercury in retrograde?

Anxiety: even less fun than you'd think.

Just ordered this sconce for our bedroom and it promptly went on backorder.

Why LaCroix sparkling water is suddenly everywhere.

Have you any of the See Jane Drill You Tube videos? She breaks down this home improvement stuff the right way.

Are you hosting or attending a #huddle? We are having some friends over next weekend to do our part in continuing the movement sparked by the Women's March.

If you need some cheering up, check out my very favorite Twitter account of all time. It's h*ckin amazing.