Monthly Archives: January 2014

My Sources for Vintage Furniture and Home Decor

To avoid having the Potato House look like the Showroom floor at IKEA,  I like to bring in some antique and vintage pieces to mix it up and bring some personality to the space.  Here’s a list of my sources for vintage furniture and home accessories.  If you live in the Louisville area, feel free to comment below on your favorite places, or if you live somewhere else, I want to hear about your vintage spots too.

Antique/Consignment/Thrift stores

I like to hit up Goodwill, Unique Thrift Store, and Habitat ReStore every once in a while, but most times you’ll find me at the small, locally owned shops. The mom-and-pops are where I usually get the best bargains and amazing finds. Check out some of my favorite stores in Louisville and what I’ve picked up recently:  

tickled pink memorabilia mall

Tickled Pink Memorabilia Mall – Try to say that 3 times fast.  Seriously though, I am in love with this place.  It is three floors and a garage/rough room packed full of tchotchkes, vintage dishes, toys, art, jewelry, Hall and Oates albums for your husband, (you’re welcome boo)…I could go on and on.  I love it because it’s clean and organized and surprisingly not overwhelming, like some of these places can be…ahem, Goodwill. And it’s so freakin’ cheap.  I usually come home with a big box full of stuff and never spend more than $30 or $40 at a time.

They’re closed on Fridays and Saturdays to restock.  I’ve never been there on Sunday morning when they open for the week, but the word is there’s a line of people waiting to get in.  Be sure to “like” their Facebook page, because they post pictures several times a week of the goods for sale.  Forget about calling dibs on something you see though.  You gotta race over to Taylor Blvd. and pick it up in person. It’s only fair y’all. Here are some of the awesome things I’ve picked up there:

blue ashtray soap dish

           Ashtray, around $4.  It’s in perfect condition and makes a great soap dish. I love the color.

jewelry ashtray

Large Ashtray, around 7 or 8 bucks. It’s on my bedroom desk and where I “stASH” my earrings. Ba-doom-boom.

Typewriter collage

Working vintage typewriter, $10!  I’ve seen some of these on ebay going for $90 or more.

mt fuji Collage

Mt. Fuji stitched piece. Around $10 I think.  I took it out of the 80s oak frame and put it in this Ikea Ribba frame.  The colors are so pretty.

melamine dishes play kitchen

Melamine dishes for Rosie’s play kitchen.  Dirt cheap.  I think they were a dollar.

Crescent Hill Trading Company – A cute little place on S. Bayly Avenue with some great finds.  Here’s what I’ve gotten there:

master desk

Desk, $35.  I sanded and stained the top, put a few coats of Minwax Clear Satin poly on it and painted the rest with Benjamin Moore Regal Select in “Collingwood.”  This is the one in our bedroom I talked about getting different pulls for here.  I was so drawn to those sexy legs.

duck block print

                                              Signed and numbered block print, $20.

hawaiian woman painting

Signed and framed painting, $30.  I just picked this up a couple of weeks ago.  There’s so much detail in her face.  Beautiful.

I also really like:

The Crazy Daisy Antique Mall – A huge antique mall with hundreds of booths.  They also have a rough room and it’s where I bought our dining chairs.  $50 for all 4.

Yesternook – I’ve only been here once, but I plan on making it one of my regular stops.  I bought some vintage lunch trays for Rosie and some wall art.

Greenhaus – This place sells craft beer, succulents, records and vintage home furnishings.  I brought home some really cool air plants and an Ella Fitzgerald album.

unique chair collage

These are some great chairs that a good friend of mine got at Unique thrift store for a steal.  She painted and reupholstered them herself.  I think I see a “guest post” in the near future…

Auctions and Estate Sales

I had always been scared of both of these.  Auctions because of TV, I guess. I didn’t want to scratch my nose and buy a $20,000 lamp.  Then I saw that some of my friends had “liked”  Floyd Street Stock Exchange on Facebook and we all decided to go check it out. They had a lot of mass produced, antique-looking, (think Restoration Hardware), furniture and home accessories, but they were selling some authentic antiques too.  My friend scored an antler chandelier and I bid on an antique, Japanese ship slave clock.  My clock only set me back 30 bucks and then I paid $40 to get a battery kit put in it.  I looked up the exact clock on ebay, and they are selling for $180 plus.  Score!

slave clock

As for estate sales, I’ve always assumed they were a snooty sort of thing where a family was selling off grandma’s 17th century furniture and I needed to get on some kind of rich people waiting list or something.  Plus,  I was a lit-tle uncomfortable with going into someone’s house (usually a deceased someone) and rummaging through their stuff.  Anyway, it just so happens, someone on our street had one last year.   Jeff went to check it out first and reported back that it was okay for me to go in. Whew!  We got this great piece of furniture for our TV to sit on for only $25.

IMG_5900

So, I’ve officially overcome my fear and gone to a few other estate sales and auctions.  They’re not so scary. You can find sales in your area by just searching “estate sale” or “auction” on Craigslist.

Etsy

Etsy is an awesome site for all things handmade, but check it, did you know that people have shops selling vintage furniture and antiques?  I haven’t bought any furniture yet, but I have gotten some really great, vintage prints and accessories.  Some of my favorites:

ethanollie

larkendesign

Space Rocket Store   

Charlie’s Nest

Patina Culture

Where’s your go-to source for antiques or vintage furniture? What is your favorite thrift store/auction/estate sale score?    

Spicy Vegetarian Tempeh Chili Recipe

A couple of weekends ago, we hosted a chili cookoff at our house.  It was started by Jeff and a few of his friends and is still going strong after 18 years. This isn’t just any chili cookoff, these people are serious.  Most entrants can name every winner for at least the last ten years. They remember the worst chilies, calling them names like “dirty soup” and “Slider.”  There are t-shirts from past chili cookoffs and compilation videos.  And once a year, they wreck descend on our house to compete for the coveted trophy and the honor of being named chili champion.

spicy vegetarian tempeh chili

I just stopped eating meat 10 months ago, so this was my first cookoff as a vegetarian.  I asked Jeff if anyone had ever made a meatless variety. “Uh well, I don’t think so.  Not that I can remember anyway.” Ok, now I was really up to the challenge.  These people don’t know what they’ve been missing.  I had made a couple of different chilies last Fall, experimenting with pumpkin, TVP,  different kinds of beans, etc. I started doing some more research (Pinteresting) and combined/added to a few different recipes for the perfect veggie chili.  Jeff tasted it before everyone showed up for the party. “That’s pretty good.” Uh yeah, I know. It tasted just as good, if not better than most of the chilis that I could remember. I’ve got this. I even had a speech prepared for when I won. “Thank you so much for the award… THERE IS NO MEAT IN THAT CHILI, SUCKAS!”

There is a panel of judges who decide on the winner and runner up, and then everyone else at the party can vote for their favorite to receive the “People’s Choice” award.   After the votes are tallied, Jeff announces the winners, but not before he tells everyone who received the lowest score, or the worst chili in the bunch.   I think you know where I’m going with this.  “…And this year the Last Place Chili award goes to…ugh, I don’t want her to get mad.  My wife.”  What?! This can’t be. Twelve chilies and the judges actually thought mine was the worst?!  Even worse than the dirty soup?!  Remember when I said people always remember the worst chilies? Yeah, that’s great.  I wonder what my chili is going to be called for the next 10+ years? Actually, I did receive some nice compliments afterwards, but they were followed by, “Yeah, you just don’t make veggie chili for the cookoff.  Everyone knows that,” or “it was really good, but it didn’t have any meat in it.”  For a minute, I thought about making a veggie chili again next year with a side of pork or something, but I doubt that will happen.  I’m no sell out.

Anyway, make the dang chili.  I promise it is delicious.

Spicy Vegetarian 3 Bean Tempeh Chili

It does have tempeh (fermented soybean) in it, which gives it that ground beef texture.  By the way, is anyone else freaked out by the word “fermented?”

Last Place Vegetarian Chili

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour 

1 tbsp olive oil (or your preferred cooking oil)

8 oz pkg tempeh (I use multi grain or flax. The soy variety is a little too bitter for me)

1 green pepper diced

1 med. yellow onion diced

1 celery stalk diced

1 carrot diced

4 cloves garlic

2-3 chipotles in Adobe diced

1 serrano pepper (or 2-3 if you want it spicier), seeds and veins removed and diced

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

2 Bay Leaves

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Few turns of freshly ground black pepper

15 oz can black beans

15 oz can dark red kidney beans

15 oz can pinto beans

28 oz can San Marzano whole tomatoes, diced and sauce reserved

1 cup vegetable broth

1 cup beer (I used Falls City)

Optional garnishes: shredded cheddar, cilantro, green onion, sour cream or Greek yogurt

Heat oil on medium heat and saute the tempeh for about 4-5 minutes on each side.  Remove from pot and set aside.  Add green pepper, onion, celery and carrot, and cook until vegetables have softened, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and peppers and cook for 1 minute more.  Crumble the tempeh and add it back to the pot.  Add the bay leaves, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and smoked paprika.  Drain the liquid from the beans and add them with the diced tomatoes, reserved tomato sauce, vegetable broth and beer.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Add salt and additional heat if needed.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

The Potato House Tour Winter ’13

Brrrr! It’s a cold one today in the ‘ville.  For my first post, I showed you guys some pictures of our house six years ago right before we bought it.  As promised, (Well, I kinda promised them a few days ago, but hey, I’m new at this and had some tech issues), here are a few pictures of our house after years of blood, sweat, tears, a twisted ankle, and an occasional electric shock.  It’s only a mini house tour, but it will give you some idea of the work we’ve done so far.  I’ll go through each room in a little more detail later.  Here’s the exterior:

Potato house new

Looks a little different, right?  We tore off all the old wood siding and replaced it with fiber cement siding, an awesome product that comes with the color already “baked in.”  We painted the trim, replaced the windows, (well, all except for that giant one in the front because it was ex-pen-sive) and tore out the old, scraggly bushes, replacing them with some hollies and azaleas.  My stepdad, his crew and I did the stamped concrete, herringbone brick walk leading up to the front porch. Me and three smelly dudes on a rainy, 90 degree day under a tarp stamping concrete. Sounds like a good time, huh? Yeah, it wasn’t, but it turned out really nice.  Again, this is what it looked like before:

HPIM0927.JPG

Okay, let’s move inside. We took out the wall between the dining room and kitchen and blasted the plaster off of the non-functioning chimney.  We kept it there because we thought it looked kind of cool and with the bar top, still allows for a little separation between the two rooms.

HPIM0899.JPG

This is what the kitchen and dining room look like now:

dining room blog 2

dining room blog

kitchen

dining room bar

I’ve painted in here three times, and I’m itching to do it again.  I get tired of paint colors quickly. It’s weird.  Here are some other things I’d still like to do in here:

  • Buy or make a bigger dining room table.
  • Reupholster some really neat dining chairs I got for next to nothing at an estate sale.
  • Install some kind of crown molding at the top of the chimney to make it look a little more finished.
  • Finish the gallery wall by the bar with some of my own artwork or pieces from local artists or Etsy.
  • Replace those awful bar stools with new or thrifted ones.
  • Add some more lighting to the dining room.

I’m ready for some big changes in the living room.  I really like the wall shelves that Jeff and I made and the artwork, but I’m so over the color scheme.  I really want to freshen it up with a different wall color, some throw pillows, a light colored rug and some new drapes in cool colors.

living room

living room shelf

livingroom 2

 Here’s the rest of the first floor:

hallway down

hall bath down

down bath sink

The house originally had three bedrooms and one small bathroom upstairs.  We took the largest bedroom and made it into two, which are now Rosie’s room and her playroom/former nursery and we converted the smallest bedroom next to the master bedroom into our master bath.  I feel like the bathroom is pretty much done, but here are some things I’d like to do in our room:

  •  Make an upholstered headboard. Probably a super tufted one in a bright color.
  •  Find a large mirror or do a painting for the space over my desk.
  •  Make a cushion for or refinish the bench at the end of our bed.
  •  Change out the hardware on the desk and nightstands.
  •  Make some pillow shams and throw pillows.

master vanity

master vanity 2bedroom blog

The hall bath (Rosie’s bathroom) is a little hard to photograph because it’s so small.  We painted the walls and bead board, switched out the sink for a smaller one, and I made some curtains.  We plan on installing an exhaust fan/light and painting the walls a different color, again.  See, I told you I’m a little crazy with the paint.

up Bath

I’m saving Rosie’s room for a whole ‘notha show, I mean post.  I’m almost finished with her “big girl” room and I didn’t want to give out any details before the big reveal.  I promise it’s coming soon though.  Have you taken on any big renovation projects lately? Do you have any decorating obsessions?

Swing back by tomorrow ’cause I’m sharing my delicious veggie chili recipe.

First Ever Post: What the heck is the Potato House?

This beauty is the Potato House:
HPIM0927.JPG

Well, this was the Potato House 6 years ago, right before my husband Jeff and I bought it.  We had been living together for about a year, sharing the first floor of a duplex in a lovely old house with two very small closets, when we decided that it was time to find something with a little more space.  Well, actually it went down more like this. I was putting laundry away in one of those mouse closets and may have had a “Mommy Dearest” moment where hangers were thrown, veins popped out of my forehead. You get the picture.  We had to move ASAP.

We knew we wanted to find a place close to the duplex because it was close to downtown Louisville in a hip, up-and-coming part of town, and we enjoyed that we could walk to dinner or hop on our bikes and be at the park in minutes.  Also, we were looking for something cheap that could be fixed up.  Jeff is a contractor and knows a little somethin’ about construction and I had just gotten an Interior Design degree and thought I knew everything about decorating.  Psssh. (I’ll give you all the details on some major screw ups some other time.)  So, we checked out a couple of places in the neighborhood, but they were either already remodeled and way out of our price range, or they were so far gone that we didn’t even want to go there.  Then Jeff told me that some friends of ours wanted us to check out a “real fixer upper” on their street.  Me: “Hold up, that place is in the suburbs.”  Jeff: “Duh, I know. Let’s just go have a look.”  It wasn’t really in the suburbs.  It was only 10 minutes from the duplex, but it was a lot closer to the stupid mall and not within walking distance of a grocery store.  Plus, I knew all those houses were built in the 50s or later and I’d gotten so used to living in a really old house with detail and some freakin’ character.  So, we pull up and find the Potato House.  An old house towering over the other houses on the street with what appeared to be a small pond in the yard, (not a good thing), and yes, that is grass growing in the driveway.  I was able to look past the overgrown bushes and the half painted siding though, and thought, “Hmmm, this could be interesting.  It’s an old house and the neighborhood isn’t thaaaat bad.”  We walked in and ugh, holy cat pee Batman.  So I tried to hold my breath and envision what this house could become and I really liked it.  I even said it aloud when Jeff quickly elbowed me and pointed at the realtor.  Ahem, “I mean, I hate it.  Who would want to live here?”  

The Backyard

The Backyard

So anyway, we bought the house and got a sweet deal for the neighborhood. Really, it is a great location and we can still walk to a few restaurants and one of the biggest parks in the city is at the end of our street.  We call it the Potato House because when we first moved in and started meeting the neighbors, they would say, “Oh! You bought the potato house!”  According to them, this house was the first in the neighborhood and on a potato farm. One neighbor even told us that the previous owners would sometimes find potatoes when they were digging in the yard.  We haven’t confirmed any of this info though.  I know, I know, it’s been 6 years. Do some research already. I will. Eventually. Tomorrow I’ll post some photos of what the house looks like now. Until then, here are some shots we took on the day of the showing: 

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

Dining Room

Dining Room

One of the Three Bedrooms

One of the Three Bedrooms

The only full bath at the time

The only full bath at the time

Partially Finished Basement

So, this is the start of my little blog.  Jeff and I now share the Potato House with our beautiful 3 1/2 year old daughter Rosie, Izzy the puggle, and our third (and still hanging on) fish, Cutie.  I’ll show you what we’ve done to the house over the last 6 years, projects we’re still working on, some crafty DIY things, pescetarian recipes, and my pathetic attempt at gardening.

Do you live in a “fixer upper?”  Have you ever moved to a neighborhood you didn’t really want to and then it turned out to be kinda cool?  We didn’t have a kitchen for a few months.  What are some of your remodeling horror stories?