My Sources for Affordable Lighting

High school is a big deal in this town. When you meet a Louisvillian for the first time, I promise you they will want to know where you went to school, and by “school” they mean high school.  They could give two shits where you went to college. You could’ve lived in the ‘ville for 20 years, but if you didn’t go to high school here, your new friend will secretly be disappointed and will never,ever want to be your best bud because you don’t share this one crucial life element.

I had my 20th high school reunion last weekend and just as expected, there was a great turnout and it was tons o’ fun — like, my cheekbones were sore at the end of the night from laughing-fun. Everyone I talked to felt the whole group had instantly bonded, as if we just picked right up where we left off.

reunion pic

Like looking back on your wedding day, the night was so overwhelming that it’s kind of fuzzy to me now.  However, I do remember being shocked to hear a couple of people say they read my blog and were genuinely disappointed I hadn’t written anything in a while.  I have been thinking about it a lot lately, and I have two of my former classmates to thank for giving me the extra boost I needed to get going again. So thank you, you know who you are, (At least I hope you do, because I don’t remember who you are. Sometimes my social anxiety leads to heavy alcohol consumption which contributes to the fuzziness mentioned above), and it’s lovely to know along with my parents and in-laws, you make up a combined total of seven readers.

So on to the long overdue post. I’ve been working for Jeff’s company more since Rosie started school, and one of my duties is to select finishes for a couple of flip houses the guys have been working on.  I’m going to be honest, I’ve picked out lights for my own house, and here and there for family and friends, but I’ve never had to choose lighting for an entire house remodel.  I know, this whole time you thought I was real designer didn’t you?

weber blog post

Well, it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.  You have closet lights and under cabinet lighting…do I put a chandelier here, or is a pendant more appropriate for the space? Should the light match the finish of the cabinet pulls and/or the plumbing fixtures? Who’s going to buy this house –should I lean more towards traditional like the style of the home, or will our target market find contemporary finishes more appealing?

And then there’s the science of it all.  How much light do you need in a walk-in closet? We went over it in school; footcandles, lumens, different types of bulbs, task lighting and ambient, etc., but of course I didn’t pay attention because it was so,so boring and one of those things I never thought I’d have to use in real life.  Isn’t that what a lighting designer is for?  Well, now that I’m a grownup and have figured out lighting designers are expensive, I’m researching and through a little trial and error, trying to figure it out.  I’ll do another post on this aspect of lighting when I feel confident enough to know what I’m talking about, but until then, we’ll just start with where I bought all of the lights.

Local Lighting Stores – We have a few here in town that I like to hit up first.  They’re generally a little more expensive than the others on the list, but well worth the extra money for the customer service.  You will find actual lighting designers there, and they can come out to your house for an extra fee and help you select the right fixtures for your space.

Big Box Stores – Home Depot and Lowe’s have an okay selection.  I prefer Home Depot for ceiling fans and exterior lighting, and Lowe’s for pretty pendants and vanity lights.  They both have a larger selection on their websites.

World Market – Not a huge selection, but they have some reasonably priced, on-trend chandeliers and pendants.  They also have their “market explorer” program.  It’s free to sign up and you get some really great rewards and coupons.  Check out this beauty I used in the foyer of one of the houses:

lighting sources penn foyer

Metal Orb Chandelier

Shades of Light – an online store with a huge selection of high-end lighting in all different styles.  They have beautiful stuff, but tend to be pricey.  You can sign up for their emails and get coupons, or if you’re in the biz they have pretty decent trade discount.

shades of light options

Joss and Main – It’s one of those flash sale sites and they have some amazing deals on lighting and home furnishings.  I’ve gotten a couple of lights for 50-75% less than on one of the previously mentioned sites.  So far, everything’s worked out, but know that you’re taking a risk because there are no cash refunds, only site credit.

lighting sources joss and main

West Elm – They have a small collection of modern sconces, pendants and chandeliers.  I just found out I get a designer discount here, as well as on their sister sites, which include Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma.  That my friend, spells trouble.  So far, I’ve maintained control though and got a sweet deal on these globe pendant lights.

IKEA – If you’re lucky enough to have a store close to you, it’s definitely worth checking out for inexpensive, transitional to ultra-modern style lighting.  Our closest store is 2 hours away near Cincinnati, but I had to go up there anyway for cabinets in this last house.  I’ve purchased some decent looking track lighting there, and the chandeliers and pendants are nice.

Ballard Designs Outlet – The regular store is as Larry David would say, “pretty, pretty, pretty expensive.” But they have an outlet store down the street from my Ikea, so I like to drop in there first and see if they have any lighting specials.  I picked up this outdoor lantern for $99!

ballard light

Lamps Plus & Lamps Plus Open Box – I was a little scared of this site because it’s one that sometimes has the headset lady pop up and ask how she can help you. Those freak me out for some reason — “I’m just looking, gaawwd leave me alone!”  I got an email showing this outdoor barn light for $24.99, so I took a chance, ordered it and it actually turned out to be great quality.  It arrived at my door in like 3 days too.  You can’t beat that.     barn light

Crate and Barrel, CB2, and Urban Outfitters are some others.  I’ve not purchased anything from them yet, but they have some attractive options.

And just to let you know, our electrician installed all these lights.  If you don’t know how to do it, please hire a professional.  I can’t afford to lose any readers.

This will be cross-posted on the Redsmith Construction site, although not in it’s entirety.  I’ve got to maintain some level of professionalism you guys.

Etsy Roundup- Accessorizing the Porch

Happy Friday friends!  I just couldn’t wait until next week to bring you the “Tuesday Etsy Roundup,” but I didn’t think it really mattered to you guys anyway since I haven’t done one in months.  (For you newbies, the Etsy Roundup is where I pick a theme and choose some of my fave home decorating items from the online marketplace “Etsy” and share them with you. It used to be on Tuesdays.)  Now it will be whenever I can fit one in and it’s relevant to whatever we’re working on that week.  Sticking with a Tuesday is way too much pressure for me. Cool with everybody? Great.

This week I’ve been pretty-ing up the porch and working in the yard as I’m sure lots of you are, so I thought we could all benefit from shopping for some outdoor accessories.  Our screened porch is where we spend a lot of our time in the spring and summer, and it was all kinds of dull with random furniture in shades of brown, beige and tan.  I’ve been brightening it up with some throw pillows, lanterns, fresh flowers, and art, and I can’t wait to share it with you in a couple of days.

Outdoor Accessory Collage

1. “Luv Ya” wooden sign by SlippinSouthern – $42

2. Vintage Wicker Patio Chair by Caprice Vintage- $70

3. Yellow Lacquered 14×18 Serving Tray by Gleaming Renditions – $33

4. Tropical Jungle Zipper Pillow Cover by Pillomatic – $18

5. String Lights (edison bulb) set by HangOut Lighting – $79

6. Small Concrete Flower Vases, set of three by AnsonDesign – $28

Post-Derby DIY: Outdoor Drop Cloth Curtains

The mint julep fog has finally lifted from my brain from Kentucky Derby weekend, so I’m back at it, cleaning up the yard and sprucing up our back screened-porch for the season.

kentucky oaks pic

First up in a long line of projects: replace the curtain panels we have hanging on both ends of the porch. The moldy, turned-yellowish panels from Ikea still do a great job in providing privacy for us and our close neighbors, but they’re not so pretty anymore. We’ve had them up for nearly six years and they’re just now starting to get funky, so for only costing $7.99 a piece, they had a pretty good run I’d say.

drop cloth porch pic

Since free time is tight lately, I went online first to see if I could find a deal on buying some outdoor drapes instead of making them myself.  We needed six panels which came out to be: oh-my-I-can’t-afford-that. Yeah, curtains are expensive.  Especially the outdoor ones for some reason, and there’s not much to them.

drop cloth curtains pottery barn

Outdoor Banded Drape, Pottery Barn

I remembered that a few months back, I had bought some canvas drop cloths from Home Depot with the intention of making drapes for the living room.  Of course that never happened, so I went digging in the basement to find those suckers.  Have you all seen people making curtains from drop cloths?  I’ve seen a few different ones on Pinterest, like these here.

drop cloth curtains diy

I went back to get four more drop cloths and just my luck, they didn’t have the Home Depot brand anymore.  I found this other one in the 6 x 9 dimensions I needed, brought it home and thankfully they’re exactly the same.  They’re $9.95 each for the 8 oz. version.  Not a bad price considering one outdoor curtain panel averages 75 bucks.  Not to mention, drop cloths are already hemmed on all sides, and less sewing = one happy momma.

I wanted to add a little color, but something dark because the last curtains would get really dirty on the bottoms from dragging across the deck.  I bought this navy canvas at Joann’s to sew on for a bold band.  If the drop cloth color is too neutral for you, you can get totally crazy and dye the entire thing like this blogger did.  If you decide to do this, make sure you fully read her tutorial because she talks about washing them first to get even color.  Tutorial here.

drop cloth curtains 7

drop cloth curtains 8

I’m a total amateur when comes to this sewing thing, so I apologize for not having the correct terminology, exact measurements for seams, etc.  If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line.

Supply List

6 x 9 canvas drop cloths – I used these from Home Depot (except mine were the cheaper 8 oz. They weren’t listed on the website when this post was published, but I found them in the store.)

Canvas fabric in contrasting color, (for optional bottom band).

Sewing machine, (or you could use hem tape for a no-sew version without the stripe).


Fabric glue or pinking shears, (to prevent unraveling).

We have these curtain wire things from Ikea that you can buy in the store, or here and here.


Measure the height and width of your opening.  I wanted it to look more like panels and not drape-like, if you know what I mean, so I cut a few inches off the side of the drop cloth to take some of the bulk out.  Next, I hemmed that side and then I took some fabric glue and ran a line of it along the outside of the hem because it was already unraveling a bit.

I wanted my band to be about 20″ tall, so I cut 20″ off of the bottom of the drop cloth.

NO-SEW VERSION: If you don’t have a sewing machine, you could use hem tape or a glue gun like Shanty-2-chic did here, and then use fabric paint to add some color if you want, like this roundup of drop cloth DIY curtains here .


drop cloth curtains sewing hem

I cut the navy canvas into 21″ (height plus an inch for seam allowance) x 53″ (the width of my panel) pieces and sewed three sides with a 1/2 ” hem.


drop cloth curtains 4

Pin the cut side of the navy panel to the cut bottom of the drop cloth, right sides together.  Sew the pieces together.  I trimmed the fabric outside of the seam, so that the pieces lay flat together.

Iron your new panels, (including/especially the seam where color canvas and drop cloth come together), and install.

drop cloth curtain pic


After I had them installed, of course Jeff asks, “how will you protect them against moisture and fading from UV rays?”

He told me to go to the automotive store and see if they have a spray for canvas, you know like for convertible tops and such.  I haven’t had time to do that, but I’ll update you all as soon as I find out.

If I take them down to spray them, I’ll probably add a horizontal stripe or two with fabric paint, right above the navy stripe.  I definitely think they need something else.

Until then, I’m making some throw pillows and adding some more color this week. This porch is brown, brown and brown, and I can’t handle it.

The “Where have you been girl?” post and another painted door

Well I’m back, and I’m so, so sorry I’ve been gone for this long.  My bad for deciding to take a leave and not filling you guys in.  Here’s why I took that sabbatical: I was writing a post a few months ago and Rosie came over, tugged on my pants, and with those sweet eyes looking up to me says, “Mommy, why are you on the computer all the time and not playing with me?”  That was it.  Mommy heart-broken. The thing is, I blinked and now my little baby will soon be riding the big, scary bus to kindergarten and I needed to spend some time with her.  Combine this sad scenario with working for Jeff’s company more, (including decorating a flip house that I’ll be sharing soon), and a couple of nasty viruses in-and-out of this house all winter long, and blogging was put off yet again.  You understand.

Maya growing up

Anyway, I really want to get back in the game without sacrificing precious Mommy-daughter/ family /making-real-money time, so I’m going to try writing shorter, more frequent posts or write while simultaneously doing the projects.  Perhaps never sleep.  We’ll see.


When I last left you a few months ago, I shared this post about painting the foyer-side of our front door.  Well, I managed to squeeze in a few painting projects over the winter and today I’m sharing another door project.

We have this tiny powder room, half bath, whatever you want to call it, in our first floor hallway.  This bathroom is crazy small because it used to be a coat closet, that is until we turned the original 1st floor bath into a pantry and relocated it into this unusually deep space and out of the kitchen.   I really don’t care that it’s small because now it’s out of the kitchen, (Bathroom in the kitchen. Gross.), and besides, it’s like Jeff always says, “what are you going to do in there anyway, have a dance party?”

powder room pic

We always leave the door open because this shoebox has a vent and turns into either a smelly oven or an even smellier freezer depending on the season.  So I’ve been trying to think of something fun to do with the door since it’s open all the time and when you’re sitting on the john with it closed, it’s right there in your grill.  Initially, I thought of some kind of reading material or puzzles Modge Podge’d into the panels for bathroom guests’ entertainment…  sheet music of popular songs, old maps, crosswords; something that would still look neat when the door is open.  I still may do that at some point.

For now though, I thought about Rosie and decided to paint the door with chalkboard paint.  I’ve been wanting to do a big chalkboard for her, like this one here and here, because she’s recently obsessed with asking us how to spell certain words and writing them out and she’s suddenly, way into art.  Not bad obsessions to have in my book.

chalkboard painted door

I prepped the door by caulking some of the cracks and doing some light sanding.  Chalkboard paint is flat so you’ll want to make sure your surface is really smooth, otherwise you’ll see all the imperfections and trust me, it will look real dumb. I bought the chalkboard paint from my local Ben Moore dealer and asked them to color match a separate semi-gloss paint for the door trim.

painted chalkboard doorIt took a few coats, but it was ready for stick people and adverbs the very next day. I bought one of those 3M plastic containers and spray painted it black to hold the chalkboard pens.

chalk pens

On the flip side of the door, we hung this door knocker I bought at the Floyd Street Stock Exchange.  (If you live around Louisville, you need to check this out.  It’s loads of fun and I’ve brought home some really neat things for cheap.  And they serve wine and have a food truck right outside. Win-win.)

door knocker painted

Our house is around 100 years old, so we have these skeleton key locks, which look really cool, but only about half of them actually work.  There have been many times when people get walked in-on in this bathroom, primarily by one particular family member who really has never heard of knocking.  So hopefully this weird, bearded dude will cut down on at least some of those awkward occurrences.

door knocker prime

I painted a coat of my go-to primer, Stix, from our local paint store Hikes Point Paint, and then mixed up some acrylic paint to make this bright teal color.  My lovely husband took 2 minutes out of his busy day and installed him with two screws.  I filled the screw holes with wood filler and painted over.  Isn’t he scary-cute? The door knocker, not the husband.

door knocker diy

So, has anyone painted a door or two since we last chatted? What spring projects are you guys working on?  I’m making some super easy curtains for our back porch right now.  I’ll be sure to show them to you in the next couple of days.

Crushing on Dark Interiors

Carravagio painting

Painting by Michaelangelo Carravaggio, “Lute Player,” 1596  

Back when I was in design school, I was required to take art history and we studied the Renaissance and Reformation periods for what seemed like an eternity.  I appreciated the beauty and work that went into those pieces, but we spent such a long time there, and looked at so many paintings of Mary and friends that they were all beginning to look the same.  Thank Baby J one day the professor finally said, “moving on…” and with a click of the projector, (yes, it was a slide carousel. It did have a remote though, so see, I’m not that old.), a Carravaggio painting showed up on the screen.  I wiggled and perked up in my seat, eyes widening: Well hello there late 16th century Baroque and Rococco. Where on Earth have you been hiding?  If you’re not familiar, Carravaggio was an artist associated with this period and is often classified with the more well known Rembrandt, and some other Dutch dudes who are known for their dark, mostly black backgrounds and “spotlight” on the main subject of the scene (tenibrism).


Painting by Rachel Ruysch, Still Life with Flowers, Sun

The content was still religious for the most part, but now we were getting more still life and ordinary folk thrown in there too.  The colors were bright and beautiful against the black backdrops, and the subjects sometimes creepy and dramatic, which I admittedly enjoy in art.  You’re not so lame now professor. Way to pick it up.

Re-wind two years before this lecture, when I probably would have seen a lot of examples of this style had I gone to the Rembrandt museum in Amsterdam instead of hanging out in coffee shops forgetting where I was and the rules to a simple game of checkers.  That Dutch coffee is so weird Mom.  Anyway, I was kicking myself that day reminiscing on the missed opportunity.

I got the same excited feeling again, (the one from class, not from the coffee shop), when I started seeing these Carravaggio-esque interiors popping up this year. I’m loving this trend of dark painted walls, and dramatic florals against black backgrounds in wallpaper and art prints.  dark-floral-wallpaper

My fav wallpaper right now is this “Dark Floral” by Ellie Cashman Design. You have to check it out in this gorgeous bathroom here.

Dark floral throw pillow

That bathroom is everything. She just added these silk throw pillows in the same pattern too, which I would totally buy if they weren’t $200 a pop. I would sooo French this pillow like a 12 year-old girl pretending to make out with that hottie in Biology class.  Just kidding.  A little. dark floral etsy print

 Etsy print by kariharer, Flower Photograph No. 88242 


Anthro wallpaper

“Party Animals” wallpaper by Anthropologie.

I love how the dark walls make these rooms look sophisticated and cozy, not cavernous.  Just like the paintings, the wall colors are the backdrop and the bright, jewel toned furniture and accessories act as the “spotlight.”  The high gloss walls in this room are killing me right now.
dark floral HB photo

Simple dark charcoal:

dark floral elle decor 2

Luscious red, tufted goodness right here.  It looks great against those smoky blue walls.

dark floral elle decor


elle decor olive

I’m pretty sure whoever designed this room drew inspiration from this painting, one of my favorites by the artist Van Eyck:



You’re very welcome for the history lesson, and bonus: I took the liberty of gathering up some wall colors for you guys in case you’re thinking about doing a dark room:

dark floral paintsHowever, I can’t guarantee that these colors will look awesome in your space.  Check with your paint store designer for recommendations.

Have you ever been inspired by your favorite artwork when decorating a space? Any of you guys brave enough to do a dark room? I would love to see pics.

An update on our foyer, ’cause I know you’ve been wondering

painted front door swing insideSo…I painted the front door last week.  I was cruising around the internet one afternoon and came across one of those “simple-weekend-projects-that-can-change-the-look-of-your-home-so you-can-turn-around-and-sell-it-for-$100,000-more-than-what-you-paid-for-it” type articles, and it was talking about how painting your front door is “a simple and inexpensive way to add a pop of color…blah di dee blah blah.”  By the way, I swear that will be the last time you read “pop of color” on this blog again.

I’m pretty sure they were referring to the door’s exterior, but it gave me the idea to paint the inside of our door and bring some color to the otherwise neutral palette going on in the foyer.  This project was not even on my mile-long to-do list, but when inspiration strikes in this house, you drop everything you’re doing and go full steam at that project and never finish it. Yeah, that’s how we do.

Painting front door before picture

I realized that I haven’t showed you all recent pictures of the foyer lately, (or most of the rooms in our house for that matter), so I wanted to bring you up-to-date on what’s going on around here. I painted the walls a chocolate brown color right after we moved in 7 years ago, so not only were we way overdue for a change, (I can not believe a single paint color was on the walls for this long under my roof.), but I was also kinda tired of it being so dark in there all of the time.  We have a covered front porch, and only one window in this area, so combined with the color it was dreary city.

foyer redo before pic

foyer redo before pic stairs

I wanted to go with something way at the other end of the spectrum, like a light grey or cream.  On the first go ’round, I picked out the color “Penthouse” by Benjamin Moore.  Sophisticated and modern, clean and bright, a shade reminiscent of a chic top floor apartment overlooking Central Park, just like the name implies.  Sounds nice, right? But oh darling, it was not.  It was so, so wrong.  Jeff came home from work and did that little gesture, you know the one where you hold your hand up over your eyes to shield them from the sun?  “What color are you gonna paint over this primer?”  Seriously? This is the second time that an all-day paint job has been mistaken for wall priming in this house.  How did this happen again?  And why on earth did I go ahead and buy 2 gallons of the stuff without doing a test swatch first?

foyer redo first paint color

I headed back to the paint store with my tail between my legs; this time asking for help from their on-site designer.  I should have done that the first time, but you see, a lot of interior designers have this weird pride thing where they feel like a failure asking for another designer’s advice, which is really stupid because picking out paint colors is what this girl does all day long.  She’s an expert in her field.  Anyway, my paint store, and I’m sure yours, has a designer that specializes in paint colors and lighting and which wallpaper you should use in the bathroom. You can bring in a throw pillow or show her pictures on your phone, and tell him or her what kind of lighting your dealing with, and most of the time, they will help you find the perfect color.  In this case, it’s “Royal Flax”, and it’s a nice, non-blinding beige-y grey.

foyer redo stair runner

We also installed a stair runner, (how-to coming soon), and my in-laws got us the braided, jute rug as a gift.  We’re talking about building a mudroom on the back of the house soon, (since that’s where we enter the house most of the time), so then we’ll be able to get rid of those coat hooks and all the “drop zone” clutter.  I can’t wait to make a pretty table for in there and maybe add some molding and framed artwork up the stairway wall.

foyer redo coat hooks

So finally…after all that…back to painting the front door. I did a little prepping by cleaning with one of those “magic” sponge things and then I caulked the cracks between the moldings.  I wanted a minty green/blue color, but I didn’t want it to stand out too much because it’s next to, and open to the living room, which unfortunately has not been updated in a while and consists of dark reds and browns mostly.  I Google’d the Ben Moore paint color “Palladian Blue,” to see how it looked in other rooms, and if anyone had an opinion about it.  Again, I collaborated with my paint store designer, who agreed that it was a great choice.

Here’s the BEFORE again; since I’m positive you forgot about it after all that wordiness:

Painting front door before picture

and AFTER:

front door paint after shot

Much better, right? The color is a subtle blue; not too bold and doesn’t compete with the colors in the living room.  This weekend, I’m working on doing some kind of shade for the window. We’ve never had one on there, and maybe I’m getting old, but lately it feels too open.  I can’t go to the kitchen in my underwear, and if you’re already standing in the hall or foyer, you can’t hide from salespeople.  I’m kinda over it.

Have you completed any paint projects lately? What kind of window treatment should I do?  I’m thinking either a roman shade or dressing up one of those cheap-y roller shades.  Do they still sell those?

Tuesday Etsy Roundup: Halloween for the Home

Autumn is my favorite season.  Cool, crisp air and changing leaves…boots and corduroy…consuming mass quantities of pumpkin-flavored whatever.  Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed the pumpkin flavored/scented/spiced explosion happening this year?  This stuff’s everywhere. I thought I was having a weird nightmare when I walked into Trader Joe’s the other day.  Pumpkin bread?  I get it.  Mochi ice cream and body butter? Now the shit’s out of hand.

What you can’t have too much of though, are Halloween decorations.  That’s not true. You can… and you can keep them out way past their allowed time and annoy everyone on your street. Don’t be that guy.  A few festive items here and there are the way to go.

Here are a handful-plus-one of my fav decorations for Day of the Dead and Halloween:

Etsy Roundup Halloween

1.  Boo! Printable art print, by PrintableWisdom –  $5

2.  Handpainted Mason Jar, by RMSimpleRustics – $14

3. Black Cat coaster set, by Polkadotdog – $13

4. Day of the Dead hand painted ornaments, by Bones Nelson – $24.99

5. Felt Pumpkin Garland by FuzzonMe – $27

6. Ceramic Skull Planter, by Mudpuppy – $42

Do you decorate for Halloween? What are some of your favorite pumpkin recipes?  I make a delicious pumpkin cheesecake every year for Thanksgiving using this recipe here.