Metal Screen Entertainment Cabinet: Finished!


The entertainment cabinet I wrote about here is finished! You’ll remember this reclaim piece was a custom job for a client who was not ready to part with her subwoofer, and I wanted it disguised instead of sitting on her living room floor! (The living room being one of three rooms we are working on for this Minneapolis homeowner!)


The earlier post dealt largely with the design for this piece, as well as how this effect was achieved, starting with brand new aluminum radiator screening!rc3

The reclaim lumber used on this piece was salvaged from the roof of a teardown building in Minnetonka. Some of the tar buildup remains, and it looks stunning on the top of the console, here…

… and here. You can see where the nail holes remain; shingles/paper were applied right over the top of these planks when they were first used. I am thankful for the great patina that resulted from that move!

This is a side view. In the hands of talented Alan, whose work can be found in many amazing pieces at The Porch & Atelier, this piece really rocked!

Once I had the piece back in my workshop, I decided to augment the earlier Modern Masters screen paint and patina treatment by sponging on a bit of Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan to further vary the depth. (Note to self: Do a better job cleaning off your paint jars and bottles when you are finished using them!)rc6Am still in love with these copper/oil-rubbed bronze handle pulls. They are a great complement to the Asian-style chest that serves as a coffee table in the client’s living room.


Finished! The space on the bottom left is the snug home for the sub-woofer; the other (adjustable) shelves are sized for components and CDs. You’ll get a chance to see this piece in situ once the project is complete. We’ve finished the paint, artwork placement, some of the upholstery and slipcovering. Pillows, lamps and other finishing accessories are yet to come!

On this new day, enjoy some old stuff!


Curbside Rescue, Party of Three!

rattanchairsAlthough I am an inveterate curbside scrounger, I DO have standards. Exacting ones!

So when I saw these beauties on Sheridan Avenue in mid-December, I snapped them up, despite the snow on the ground at the time and the drivers whizzing by me on the city street at a fevered clip.

These three chairs are part of a patio set — they form a settee. The middle piece is armless, and each outside piece has one arm. They are sturdy rattan. I’ve already stripped them of their sad cushions — the spring foundation on each is in fine shape. This is how I stacked them on the patio once I unloaded them from the Escape. It was a brief, pre-Christmas thaw, and I needed to find room to stash them in the garage for the winter. (They are reposing there in a similar formation, safe and dry, atop the firewood rack!)

What vintage are they?

While they seem to have a solidly mid-century vibe, they just could be great imitations. I am researching! They will be the perfect candidates for a paint job in the spring, with vibrant new cushions upholstered in sun- and stain-resistant fabric — or a great vintage textile!

Something to “dream on” while the wind howls outside!

What is getting YOU through the winter?!


Roundhouse Project: Library/Lounge, Part 2!



While earlier posts announced Lark Nest’s new commercial project, in the old Burlington Northern Roundhouse in St. Paul, and talked about the general makeover in the employee library/lounge, this post is all about decorating the wall of shelves, above!LL3

 This post focuses on how these vintage, industrial thread spools…

LL71…this patterned wrapping paper…
LL46…and a bunch of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books helped stage these shelves without spending a ton of money. Spray paint was involved, too! (Who among you is surprised?!)

 I chose spools that already had colors that fit my decorating palette. They were dirty and dusty and each was labeled with a very old, pasted-on piece of paper that bore the information about the type of thread. I removed the labels and washed the spools, then used spray poly on the colorful ends that would face out.

LL47Most of the spools were used atop the shelves, but some were placed inside. You can’t beat the chippy patina that comes with age and use! Take note of that beautiful blue color on the Fiesta-style pitcher — we’ll get back to it!

A pair of these bookends — made from industrial pulleys and purchased from 106 Vintage Co. in Coleridge, NE — provided a counterpoint to the sleek finish on the pottery pieces.


The Readers’ Digest books provided texture, too, folded this way…


…and that! Here’s another blue, a teal.  With the exception of three pieces of McCoy pottery — as with the books, sourced from Shop 501 in Chaska, MN — almost all of the pitchers, bowls and pottery on these shelves were sprayed in one of the two blues, orange or cream primer/spray paint! (One remained in its original gold; a variegated glass vase, up top, was purchased specifically for its iridescent quality.)LL41

Purchased at low-cost at thrift shops, they are refreshed and perky in their new coats! I alternated placement of the books, too — some sitting vertically and the others horizontal. Books were covered with dimpled carton wrap and the birch-look wrapping paper.


This vase was aqua with gold trim in its earlier incarnation!


This cream glass bowl was forest green!LL43

This bowl was deep purple! Now it is the perfect foil for the beautiful colors in the industrial spools.LL403

You really can’t replicate this patina!LL18

 A final look! The shelves are colorful and welcoming, with room to grow and rearrange as suits the client needs!

Next up: Decorating the cofounder’s office, incorporating vintage and garden elements!

Have a great day!



Roundhouse Project: Library/Lounge, Part 1!


As promised, here are some photos from one room of the St. Paul Roundhouse project, a commercial job for Lark Nest!

As outlined in this earlier post, this is the “family room” for employees at Dependable Home Health Care, a rockin’ for-profit with a great mission statement.
LL2 The business operates from offices in the former Burlington Northern Roundhouse on Empire Drive. Dependable moved into the reclaimed quarters this fall, and painted and furnished some rooms, but had yet to accessorize them. Here’s a “before” shot!


This Momeni wool area rug was one of the first purchases. The orange worked beautifully with the navy couches and touches of spa blue in one or two of the pillows Dependable had already purchased. It united the conversation area and helped to anchor the large bookcases.

The bookcases loomed large and mostly empty. Because this building is a reclaim project, with soaring trusses and exposed brickwork, these industrial spools — sourced at a Minneapolis vintage store — seemed a great way to add color and volume. More on that tomorrow, in a separate post on the bookshelves!LL5

The walls needed finishing touches, too!LL6jpg

I chose this large statement piece from the Fallen Walnut Etsy shop. Made from salvaged wood, it was a perfect foil for the bookcase!

Small accent mirrors painted with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan (the teal), Cottage Paint (the spa blue) and a Benjamin Moore latex (the coral), all from my inventory, helped set the palette.LL8They enlivened the wall behind the desk!

Here’s the corner before the plant and this fabulous sand mold…LL10jpg

It’s a beauty!LL11

 It gave this wall just the right heft!


Some accessories perked up the desk area — a vintage wire in-tray, a globe and something fun for inside the glass cloche: a tarnished candlestick holding a burnished brass doorknob!


A wooden end table and an orange throw turned this formerly standing-alone wicker armchair into a spot to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee.


 The opposite wall has a window, and is anchored by console table.


I used two of three pieces of a triptych  above the console, leaving the space higher on the left open for a flat-screen TV to come, to be used for training videos.LL16

Here’s where the third panel found a home!LL18

 Here it is! Watch for tomorrow’s post on staging these bookcases and shelves! They were done without spending a fortune — the Lark Nest way!


Out with the Old…

chandy1The first work-week back after the holidays is always a bit of a mental leap into the new year: out with the old, in with the new (or, out with the old and in with the even older, whatever it looked like before the holidays!)

As did many of you, I spent the weekend removing and repacking holiday decor! That includes all of the chandy greenery and twigs, which have been in place since Thanksgiving!

It’s pictured here as it was in mid-November, when the berries were red-orange!


The pieces went on in layers…chandy2NEW…and, with the addition of a pheasant feather or two, held us in good stead for Thanksgiving!


Those greens and berries made for a simple table presentation.
chandycollage2By the time Christmas arrived, I replaced them with pepper berries on the table, and in the chandelier for contrast and more texture. The original chandelier berries had dried to deep red.

chandyDONEHere’s what it looked like at the end of its run at New Year’s:


(and not unlike many of us at the end of jam-packed holidays!)

While the greens have been banished to the composter, I’m re-energized and rested…and ready for a fabulous year!

First up: snapshots and an update on the St. Paul roundhouse project, coming this week!


New Project for an Almost New Year!


The minutes are ticking down on 2014 and, as aways, I find a bit of regret seeping into my days.

I am always sad to bid farewell to a great year!

Just after Thanksgiving I took on a commercial project that will keep me inspired and busy through much of 2015.

Dependable Home Health Care has moved into renovated offices in St. Paul, in the old Burlington Northern roundhouse.

Think exposed timbers and brick! Just the setting for this junker!

I’ve been on a deadline to finish the cofounder’s office and the library-lounge by the end of the year. Pix to come!

Meanwhile, I thought I’d share this fabric board I did for the cofounder’s office; something to blend with the settee, already upholsteted in this cool suzanni print:


Here’s the frame (pictured with a few other amazing castoffs I rescued, the same week!)ac6

I nabbed the frame at a vintage store. It showed colors of white, brown and gold.


I wanted to retain the gold, to play off of the metallic glints of a settee pillow.


The rest could use some work!

I drybrushed the frame with an off-white from my inventory; then drybrushed over it with Annie Sloan’s “Florence.”

ac5A wax finish gave it the soft patina I wanted for the piece, which will look great in the office with colors of teal, spa blue, coral and a bit of chartruese.

ac2Office photos are to come, but in the meantime, here’s one small piece of the picture!

ac3As we all know, the big picture is built by details!

Have a great week and a happy new year! 2015? Bring it on!


Wishes Merry and Bright!

xmascatThis vintage kitty is an apt pick to share warm greetings with wonderful friends!

Wishing you a holiday brimming with laughter and fun!

May your 2015 be full of kindnesses, offered and received!

With thanks to you for a rockin’ year,


Merry Mantel Makeover!



One of the season’s great joys is decorating for clients and friends. Here is one mantel transformation that was magical for me, as it was done as a surprise while one of the homeowners, the Amazing Miss K (AMK), was recuperating from surgery. Here’s the after…


…and the before! Chocolatey walls and gorgeous white woodwork:

What a great canvas!


This warm room is lovely year-round, and needed just a smidge of yuletide cheer!kuhl4

I retained the tall glass containers that usually grace the mantel, filling them with ornaments.

kuhl5AMK has a lovely collection of ornaments in silver, pewter, gold, glass and white. I cherry-picked her boxes for the best combo! She usually does not use fresh greens in her holiday decor, though, so this design would definitely be a departure! Layers of wo kinds of evergreens, as well as dried silver and gold seeded eucalyptus, made for a showy presentation.kuhl6 This bit of bling sits directly in the center of the mantel.kuhl7 I love how the ornaments nestle in the greens. Each is different: some clear, some opaline, some with shine, some beaded.kuhl9 Tip: It’s good to ensure the ornaments sit snugly far enough away from the edge of the mantel to avoid a possible tumble.kuhl10This great expandable gold netting made for a light, ethereal feel.

kuhl14The couch console got the woven gold treatment, too!
kuhl15All of the decorations fit together seamlessly, thanks to a shared palette!kuhl16Greens, white and burgundy hypericum berries and a few twigs dressed the existing pine cone centerpiece on the dining table!


The mantel was dressed, awaiting AMK’s return!kuhl13

One last touch: crystal fantasy branches in a mercury glass jar! Welcome home, Kathy! May your holiday season be filled with wonder and great health!


Mirrors, Mirrors on One Wall!


The thing about home decor is, it’s never finished. It — as with the people who inhabit a home — is always evolving!

I posted recently on the vintage architectural downspout I turned into a planter for my dining room wall (reflected in the quatrefoil mirror.) Until recently, this mirror was the only one, hanging by its lonesome, over a small console.
drmirror2Once placed on the wall, the planter was out of scale, overwhelming the small mirror on a much larger wall.  I needed to beef up the heft of the a wall decor over the console. This is what I ended up with!

drmirror3 The mirror behind the quatrefoil is one that has been sitting, literally, on my living room floor for longer than I should admit. It’s an old Pottery Barn piece, with us since our salad days in St. Paul! While warmer rose golds are trending, this was quite a bit more brassy. And I still prefer silver and galvanized as accents to the gray walls.


My existing mirror had a black base and was overlaid with bone, lightly stained and distressed. I love this look. But when I decided to add the larger mirror behind, I wanted only to match only some of those elements — not match exactly. I wanted the quatrefoil to be the dominant part of the decor.drmirror1
I ended up with a neutral colored paint base similar to that on the smaller mirror (a custom Sherwin-Williams mix from my inventory, a flat-finish latex).

Liquid silver leaf and Miss Mustard Seed’s antiquing wax helped achieve the final look. It was the first time I had used this particular wax; I loved its subtlety. It was fairly forgiving, too; I was able to add depth of color with it without having it go on harshly.


This project was completed before my basement reno provided an indoor painting space, so I did this work on the dining room floor!drmirror9

It took one coat and touch-ups to cover the gold finish.

Look back at the first photo: You’ll see I turned the quatrefoil shape so that the half circles, not the arrows, are the focal point.

I drilled holes in the back of the quatrefoil mirror for mounting, and attached long but slim nails to the frame of the mirror underneath. Miraculously, I somehow managed this mounting project without an extra set of hands! Right now, it just sits on top of the console. It needs some heavy anchors and screws for hanging.drmirror4

 Accessories started returning to the space, though I removed the heavy metal urn on the right side.


This worked better!


The orange rose was the lone survivor of a dozen from a weekend dinner party!


This creamware vase with a bundle of privet is perfect!


Before and after!drmirror13

The larger mirror configuration now has the correct, larger to complement the heavy planter to its right.



Giveaway Winner Found!

colorinspirationCongrats to Jeannie Canaday Busby of Southhaven, MS!
She was picked by random number generator to win Lark Nest’s Color Inspiration Notebook giveaway, and it will be in the mail to her this week!
Thanks to all who participated!
Have an inspired and colorful week!