Sunday Spring Art

When I lived in LA and worked for an interior designer I remember the incredible art collections that some clients had and would drool at their galleries.  Of course I was jealous and on a strict budget I figured I might dabble in trying to create my own abstract art.  I had no idea how to paint, what kind of paint to get or for that matter been in a true art store my entire life.  So, I turned to my friend Allie who taught me a thing or two about painting and went to town on Sunday afternoon.

Abstract Spring Art on Canvas - Custom -

Abstract Spring Art on Canvas – Custom –

Being a complete rookie I decided to go with acrylics instead of oils.  Earlier that day I had taken a walk along the gorgeous strand of Hermosa Beach and was inspired by spring flowers blooming.

Now over the years the colors in this painting have evolved – in its most recent edition I decided this painting needed to sit in our master bedroom above the vintage royal blue settee so I chose to add in turquoises, chartreuse, navy and hints of hot pink.  I know those colors may sound add but I think it did the trick.

[caption id="attachment_323" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Vibrant Colors Pop - Hung slightly below top of vintage blue velvet settee Vibrant Colors Pop – Hung slightly below top of vintage blue velvet settee

Spring Art in Master Bedroom above Vintage Settee

Spring Art in Master Bedroom above Vintage Settee

As you can see, the neutral background really helps balance this piece out and every morning this painting makes me smile.  Perhaps because I know it is an original (done by yours truly) and maybe because many visitors have commented on how much they like it.  Of course I would love to have some killer art pieces done by true professionals someday soon but I think I will hang on to my very own custom art that I painted for a very long time.  I think it might always have a place in my collection.

Sunday Spring Art - Custom

Sunday Spring Art – Custom

From Traditional to Glam

Recently, my friend Mia wanted to update her kitchen light. She didn’t just want to replace it, she wanted to create a statement piece. Her dining room had just gone through a remodel, so she had this traditional-looking chandelier laying around waiting for a new home. Many suburban homes built in the past 10-15 years have these exact chandeliers hanging in them – must have been an awesome deal for builders.

Traditional Chandelier

Traditional Chandelier

So Mia asked for my help in reinventing the sad chandelier with no home. Mia’s kitchen has a lot of earth tones along with deep reds. And with all the beautiful curves on the fixture, I suggested we paint it a sexy red and remove the bulb covers to give it new life. Removing bulb covers is one of the easiest ways to give a fresh new look to an old fixture.

And here’s the final product.

Glammed Out Chandelier - Middle Redefined

Glammed Out Chandelier – Middle Redefined


Isn’t it stunning? Mia absolutely adores her new glammed-out fixture, and she definitely got the statement piece she wanted. One thing that proved a bit more difficult were the light bulbs. We wanted decorative bulbs, – the ones that look like flames – but we wanted them to have a more vintage glow. Not so easy to find that kind of bulb in a vintage style. However, Mia ended up finding exactly what she wanted at Watts Up in Merriam, KS. They’re the perfect touch. I love the finished product!

What do you think?

New Life for Pendant Lights

When we moved into our current house, unlike most traditional newer suburban homes, we inherited really modern light fixtures on our main floor. Nothing wrong with these modern blue pendant fixtures if it fits within your style aesthetic. However, they just really didn’t work for us.

Blue Modern Pendants

Blue Modern Pendants


I researched and researched to find affordable pendant light fixtures and just didn’t happen upon anything in the price I wanted to pay. So, I turned to Craigslist and happened upon these little gems. I could see the hidden beauty right away – can’t you?

Craigslist Pendant Lights

Craigslist Pendant Lights


With a little high gloss black paint and vintage bulbs, such as these, the refreshed pendants turned out to be the perfect addition to our kitchen. I paid $25 for the pair, $5 for the paint, and $9 for each bulb at Lowe’s. I’m obsessed with vintage light bulbs right now, so you’ll hear me talk about them more in future posts.


New Pendants with Vintage Light Bulbs - Middle Redefined

New Pendants with Vintage Light Bulbs – Middle Redefined


All-in all, I spent $48 on my new pendants. And the best part is, I sold the modern blue ones right back on Craigslist for $40!

Check back next week for more on giving new life to light fixtures. Have a wonderful Friday!


Powder Room Pizazz

The powder room is a space in your home where you can have A LOT of fun – take risks – and in this case perhaps make your guest dizzy in the design.  I wanted to do something bold in the powder room, incorporate a pop of color and perhaps drive the mister crazy on a Saturday night (or two) with taping, painting, taping, painting, well, you get the process.

First, paint the walls the color that you want the lines of the herringbone print.  In this case it was simple white.  Start taping the vertical lines a foot a part.

Powder Room - DIY Painting Project

Powder Room – DIY Painting Project

Next – the tricky part of measuring out the necessary angles for the tape to create the herringbone print.  Keep in mind, you can use this same method on many different scales.  If you want a larger scale of herringbone make the vertical lines farther a part and same goes with the diagonal lines.

Powder Room - DIY - Herringbone Paint Project

Powder Room – DIY – Herringbone Paint Project

I would like to pretend that this takes 20 minutes or so…try 4 hours or so and can’t all be accomplished on one night.  The massive taping job we did do on one night and we may had a bottle of wine (or two) during this process so the time flew by – or I may have blocked it out of my memory.

Powder Room - DIY - Herringbone Painting Project - applying paint

Powder Room – DIY – Herringbone Painting Project – applying paint

Add your first color of paint – for this project I wanted the pattern to be bold so I chose the herringbone print to be the statement and chose a neutral hue to tone down the print.  Many people ask me why we didn’t just wallpaper – well for one, paint is much more inexpensive than wallpaper and in a month or two when I want to change things up I can simply paint over this – whereas removing wallpaper would have been a more larger burden of removing.

Powder Room - Herringbone Painting DIY -

Powder Room – Herringbone Painting DIY –

The next step was to add the second color -which was very similar in hue but it has a metallic sheen to it which I love.  (Sorry it is hard to tell from this pic – this was pre-having-an-awesome-camera-to-take-pictures).

Now time for the pop of color and some fun decorate details…

[caption id="attachment_225" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Powder Room Art - LA Freeway Map Powder Room Art – LA Freeway Map

Powder Room - Decorative Items - Pop of Color

Powder Room – Decorative Items – Pop of Color

Powder Room - New Hardware

Powder Room - Wall Art - Live What You Love

Powder Room – Wall Art – Live What You Love

Powder Room - Candle Display

Powder Room – Candle Display

And you have yourself a fun, funky and hopefully unforgettable powder room to enjoy…and perhaps make your guests a bit dizzy in dynamic design.

DIY Goodness: Make Your Own Roman Shades

I can honestly say I’m never really “done” decorating any of the rooms in my house. Every once in a while, I won’t even notice that I’m lost in thought staring at a room, or a wall, or a shelf, and my husband will say, “What are you thinking about changing now?”

And obviously since we live on a budget, we DIY projects where we can. Not only is it easier on our bank account, it’s so satisfying to say, “I made them,” when a friend compliments my new roman shades (don’t forget there’s a comment box at the end of this post).

Speaking of roman shades, I MADE these! Well, my mom did all of the sewing, but I supervised it all. To figure out how to create the shades, I turned to Jenny Komenda’s blog, Little Green Notebook. She is a genius DIY-er, so we followed her step-by-step tutorial to get these babies put together. We had a few tweaks to make the project work for us, so I’ll share our adjustments and my learnings along the way.

Step 1: Buy inexpensive vinyl blinds or use ones you already have. In my case, I already had blinds up, so I just used that existing hardware. I even kept them hanging throughout the process. My first task was to cut all the slats out. However, make sure you DO NOT cut the cords that pull the blinds up and down. Just cut the ones that move them back and forth.

Making Roman Shades - Step 1

Making Roman Shades – Step 1

Step 2: Cut the front and back fabric - measure the size of your window plus the size of the hem. We wanted a 2 inch hem on either side, so we added an extra four inches to the width and the length. I chose a gray chevron fabric for the front and a creamy fabric for the back. After using a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby for both, I ended up paying about $5.99 per yard for each! I’ve been so impressed with Hobby Lobby’s fabric choices lately, and the coupons just make everything such a deal.

Fabric for Roman Shade Project

Fabric for Roman Shade Project


Here’s Kingston trying to help grandma cut the fabric.

Measuring Fabric for Roman Shade Project

Measuring Fabric for Roman Shade Project


Step 3: Pin the edges and sew them (yes, these are my fingers…my mother didn’t do everything). To attach the cords to the back of the fabric, we sewed plastic rings about 10 inches apart all the way down to match up with the three cords – this was because I thought I’d want the folds about 10 inches apart. That didn’t end up being what I wanted, but I’ll explain that later. We then used the old blind slats to help us figure out exactly how far apart the rings should be sewn.



Step 4: Attach a small piece of wood (about an inch wide) to the back of the shades 8-10 inches from the bottom. I got mine from Michaels for $2 a piece. This photo is from Jenny’s blog showing what it looks like. You can attach the wood with fabric glue. Then screw tiny eyelet screws into the wood to which you can tie the cords.

Jenny Komenda Making Roman Shades

Jenny Komenda Making Roman Shades


Step 5: Jenny recommends to attach the final product to the top of the hardware with fabric glue, but I was afraid it wouldn’t end up holding because the whole thing felt kind of heavy, so I used industrial velcro. So far it has worked really well. Then run your cords through the plastic rings and tie the bottoms to the eyelet screws. The nerve-wracking part is when you raise it and see if it all actually worked!!!

Here’s my final product!

DIY Roman Shades - Middle Redefined

DIY Roman Shades – Middle Redefined


I love, love, love the way they help tie my room together. So thankful to my mom for taking so much time to help me out with this.

When planning out the design of this room, I chose to go the Roman shade route instead of curtains because I really didn’t want to screw hardware into my woodwork for curtains. Also, I have limited space on either side of my massive windows for artwork, so I decided I wanted something a bit more tailored and contained within the window frames. The old plain white blinds behind our cream couch (I shared the before photo here) just didn’t do anything for me, so we needed the change.

This entire project cost me $125. When I priced out custom Roman shades for the size of my three windows, they were going to be at least $250 a piece just for one because of their odd size. I was just not willing to splurge when I had a perfectly-good DIY solution.

A couple final notes: 1) While we did sew the plastic rings 10 inches apart, in the end, I needed a bit more space between my folds, so I ran my cords through every other one – that ended up being about 20 inches apart; and 2) When you raise them, don’t just expect them to fold perfectly. You have to work with them a bit to make sure the flaps are folding under nicely. Otherwise, it tends to bunch on the sides.

What do you think?


Be Our Guest

The coveted guest room…we are grateful enough, well until baby number three is here (yes, boy number three is on it’s way!), to have a guest room for a couple more months.  I view the guest room as a room where you can take chances, have some fun with design but where you want to create a soft, warm space for your guests to make them feel welcomed and not forgotten.  And of course, all on a budget!

With the custom DIY artwork project on one wall, I put the mister to work on my grand plan to have a custom upholstered headboard.  I snagged some great clearance fabric for 9.99/yd, the mister went to “the depot” and built a very sturdy base and 564 staples later we had a headboard. This headboard is massive.  It is comfy, sturdy and sometimes I wish I had it in our master bedroom.

DIY Headboard - DIY Headboard –

Next up, the bedside tables that don’t match and I love them for that.  This black little number is one I snagged at an antique store in Lawrence for $29 dollars!

Guest Bedroom - Side Table Antique Find Guest Bedroom – Side Table Antique Find

The other side is a garage sale find – it is a Baker piece folks – complete score as I got the pair for $75.  The other side table is in Liam’s “big boy room”.

Guest Bedroom - Side Table - Garage sale find Guest Bedroom – Side Table – Garage sale find

Notice the tables are different heights but to even the lamps out I added some decorative books to make up the difference.

Dress up the lighting with some glitz and glamour with a sparkly chandelier.

Guest Room - Chandelier - Guest Room – Chandelier –

Guest Room - Chandelier - Guest Room – Chandelier –

This chandelier was actually a gift from one of my friends – yes, she actually gave me this puppy!  So chalk that one up to good friends and free fabulous lighting – major necessities in life!

Add some more pretty details around the room…including these little beauties that I traded out for the traditional wooden knobs.  Amazing what a little knob can do to dress up and add to a simple little dresser.  All for less than $30!  I HIGHLY recommend this little change to an old or worn out dresser.  Try it, you will be amazed what a new knob or handle can do for your dresser.

Guest Room - Dresser Hardware - Guest Room – Dresser Hardware –

Beautifully covered book and who doesn’t need a candle or two?!

Guest Room - Bedside Table Decor - Guest Room – Bedside Table Decor –

Custom painted tray from recent summer trip to Maui – for guests to rest jewelry.  If you can name the fish you get a prize…

Guest Room - Dresser Decor - Guest Room – Dresser Decor –

Guest Bedroom - Window Treatment - Wall Art - Guest Bedroom – Window Treatment – Wall Art –

A soft roman shade to match paint trim and an unconventional way of hanging wall art and this room is complete…at least for now, until this space has to be turned in to boy room number three.  I might just try and incorporate the chandelier into the design somehow…

Wall Art – Easy as 1, 2,…9?!

Problem – Large wall in my guest bedroom and don’t want to spend a ton of money on the wall art.

Requirement – The wall art has to be big enough to make a statement on its own – so one piece of wall art wouldn’t work.  I also wanted something unique and meaningful.

Solution – Luckily the mister and I took our honeymoon to the fabulous city of Paris, France.  I snagged this clearance linen fabric in the color tone of the room…

FOR 6.99 / YARD!!!

I then grabbed a coupon to Hobby Lobby and snagged some solid black square frames and grabbed my scissors and went to work…

Paris Fabric Art - Paris Fabric Art –


Paris Fabric Art Paris Fabric Art –

NINE square cuts later and inserted in to frames…

Hang and you are done.  Total cost of project – under $40!

Stay tuned for more pictures on this project and the guest bedroom – featuring a DIY upholstered headboard.

Hanging the nine square framed "paris art" Hanging the nine square framed “paris art” –

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