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Let’s Talk Pillows



Well hello everyone, how has your summer been? We’ve just been enjoying the past 2 months of summer. You know hanging out by the lake, swimming, tubing and hosting a ton of BBQ’s for friends and family that come over in droves at the mere mention of a 90 degree day. It’s an insane amount of fun and a little crazy at times but it’s exactly the reason we bought a lake house in the first place.

When I started to redecorate the living room I wanted the room to feel casual, a little bit coastal and really reflect the summery blues and greens of the outdoors. I had painted the walls white and took the whole room back to a neutral base. I was in to mood for a really quick way to add some watery colors into the space and of course I bought some fabric.Painting-white-walls-in-the

One of my favorite and quickest ways to change out the feel of an entire room is to swap out the pillows. So the orange pillows were out and I made a few new pillows from the fabric I mentioned on the inspiration board I put together ages ago.


This time instead of my old stand by envelope pillows. I sewed these with zippers. Lucky for me it actually turned out to be way easier than it sounds. The first one took a little bit longer to make than I would normally spend because of the slight learning curve but after that it was smooth sailing. Jesse at Scout and Nimble has a really easy to follow tutorial for anyone looking to do the same.


The overall look is very summery and airy and I’ve been really embracing the coastal vibe they give off. For the Fall I’m thinking of maybe replacing the stripe pillow with a really rich indigo velvet and maybe some darker blue curtains would be nice.


And that is the first step, a quick and easy pillow switcheroo.

Cane Chair Upholstered




You may remember that waaaay back in June I found two great cane back chairs on Craigslist for a great price. The seller was so anxious to get them out of his basement he even delivered them right to my door. I have been hoarding these chairs in my stash ever since, part of me thinks I was waiting for inspiration (that’s the story I’m sticking to). I himmed and hawed about what to do with these forEVER. I had several conversations with myself over the course of a few months.

Update: Check out Part 1 of my detailed tutorial on How to Upholster a Chair here


Should I keep the wood? Nah it’s scratched and scuffed and I don’t want to refinish…

Maybe I should paint then white and use a colorful fabric…

Maybe I should paint the frames a really bright color and keep the fabric neutral…

It went on and I like that in my head for a while. Finally I just decided there wasn’t any rush and I would wait for the perfect fabric to come along and help me decide. A few weeks later I was browsing online and came across Dwell Studio’s Casablanca Geo Fabric in Citrine from Tonic Living.


At $28 the fabric was a little expensive for my liking but I did a little searching and found the same fabric at Fabric Guru one of my favorite places to shop for fabric online for $19 a yard. I used one of the rare 20% coupons they send out to their email subscribers and bought 5 yards!

I knew five yards would be way too much but I wanted a some left over. I love the fabric so much I’m going to make a few pillows. I bought it without buying a sample can be scary but sometimes you can tell you’re going to love something. When the fabric came in I loved it instantly and new the modern fabric would update the more traditional chairs nicely. Sometimes your gut is just right. Once the fabric was here, I still had a hard time figuring out what color to paint the frames. One whole chair was a bright blue before I quickly decided to go a little more sophisticated and spray the frames a glossy black.


The barrel back chairs I reupholstered last year was a really ambitious project for my first time Ray Ban outlet but I learned a ton during and since. Chairs like these that only need would have been a perfect project for a first timer. I took a ton of pictures along the way and I’m putting together a tutorial for later this week on how to upholster chairs seats like these.

Update: Check out Part 1 of my detailed tutorial on How to Upholster a Chair here

Linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After Party

A Love Note (cough) to January



Winter-on-The-Lake Ahhh January is really rearing it’s ugly head  this week. I get it, its a cold, cold month. My nose and toes tell me so by freezing as soon as I walk outside. I woke up this morning and the thermometer read  ZERO Ray Ban Baratas degrees. I was hoping it was broken so I brought it inside…it wasn’t broken.

Other than the obvious issues I have with the cold there’s also an uncanny way that January has of making the walls in my house appear to grow  smaller by the day.


The claustrophobia I’m feeling probably has something to do with the heaps of blankets strewn on the couch and the growing pile of toys accumulating on the Living Room floor.

We’ve played cars more times than I can count and have probably watched a few too many cartoons.


Last year Nikolas seemed to take the cold weather in stride. He didn’t much care if we were cooped up inside all day. This year cabin fever has struck the whole family,


I’m running out of ideas!

10 Projects to Look Forward to in 2013



When we bought this house 3 years ago we knew it would take time and patience to get it looking just the way we wanted. We’ve come a long way and some things continue to evolve as we live here and learn what works for us and what doesn’t. Other projects are pretty much finished like the deck makeover, side patio we built and our master bedroom.

Even though we’ve accomplished a lot there’s always a few more projects just around the corner. We’ love goals and lists around here, planning and dreaming are what keep us going and through it all we really actually like doing projects and of course we love the results. So don’t think of this as a resolutions post more of a wish list of projects big and small we have to look forward to in 2013.


1. Nikolas’ Bedroom: This is one room in our house that hasn’t made the blog yet. But that’s all going to change soon.  It’s time for Nik’s room to get a little bit of a makeover. It’s been 2 1/2 years since we touch this room right before he was born when we added the wainscoting and painted but little has been done since. The crib has since been changed out for a big guy bed.

I also hate to admit that it’s become a bit of a dumping ground for random pieces of furniture we don’t know where to put. So far he hasn’t spent much time in here other than to sleep but as he gets older he’s showing more interest in hanging out in there. So it’s time to make it a little more friendlier for him and cuter for me.


2. Finish That Outdoor Bar: While we made great progress in this area in 2012 but Winter cut our finishing the interior details of the bar short. We still need to finish the trim work both on the roof and in the interior, add a bar top, lighting and buy some bar stools.

3. Stain That Deck: While the winter cut short the bar progress it also stopped us from getting to stain and seal the deck properly. We know that it’s ideal to wait until pressure treated wood has a little time to “season” before putting a sealer on it so the Spring should be a perfect time to check this off.


4. Rearrange the Furniture.  We’ve had the same furniture arrangement in our Living Room for a while now. The room is long and narrow and right now the arrangement is emphasizing that fact. We think it’s time to switch it up. Bryan has a really good idea that might just be crazy enough to work and increase the function of the space. It’s doable and free so it might be one of the first projects we tackle.

5. Paint The Trim: Oy! A thankless job that I’d rather not do but it’s been put off long enough. We have missing baseboard trim in places, splatters of paint jobs and some of the new trim we’ve added still needs the nail holes filled and sanded. I have the paint, I have the brushes it’s time to get to work.



6. Paint The Living Room Walls: The blue walls have been great and we’ve loved them for a while but like everything else as our tastes and style continues to change so does what we want in our home. We want a more cohesive look throughout the whole space. The Living Room opens up to the Kitchen and they are two different colors right now. Painting the whole thing will help it feel like one big space. I’m thinking something light and airy sort of like the image above which I can’t get the image above out of my head. Perhaps even black doors are somewhere in our future.

Marsh Painting by Maria Sadowski 2

7.Art: It’s no secret that I love to paint just for my own enjoyment. I also love displaying my own art around my home In 2012 I didn’t paint nearly as much as I would like to. So this year it‘s no excuses, time to pick up those paint brushes again and get back to painting.

Cane Back Chairs

8. Finish Those Chairs: Yup, I said it on Friday and I’ll say it again. The cane back chairs I’ve been hoarding and Just Do It Already! I actually made great progress over the weekend so I’m hoping (fingers crossed) that this will get checked of the old list by next week.


9. Refinish the Dresser: The dresser in our bedroom is sad and in need of a makeover. I’ve been wanting to do this for the past five years. The only image I have of it happens to be before we started working on our bedroom last year. I think I finally have an idea for what I want to do, so dresser look out 2013 is the year you finally get your facelift.


10 Garage and Retaining Wall: Last but not least the biggest project of them all, we’re hoping that we get to start working on adding a garage and retaining wall. It’s an awful weedy mess at the moment. It’s so bad I’ve never even snapped a photo from that angle. I snagged the picture above from Bing. The back of the house actually faces the road so curb appeal is lacking and we hope to fix some of the with the retaining wall and garage. It’ll be a huge project and we’re still working out the details to decide if it’s something we can reasonably do. Hopefully 2013 will be the year.

So there you have it, 10 projects in 2013 that we can look forward to. Of course who knows where we’ll end up and what will happen but we’re looking forward to a very good year.

Bring on 2o13

Small Buffet Restored



The the funny thing about DIY projects and DIY people in general is that there is a lot of watching and waiting for the right materials to show up, the right furniture piece to refinish and after all that waiting it’s usually about waiting to find the time to tackle your projects. After all that waiting the reward of creating something with your own two hands or the reward of scoring something truly beautiful at a fraction of the cost.

The story of this buffet tends to span all of those waiting games and reasons it took so long to finish. We found this small table over the summer on Craigslist. It had been sitting in someone’s garage for a long time and showed it.We brought it home and let it sit around and then we talked about what we wanted to do with it and then it sat around for a while longer. Finally we called in the big guns to help us out. The big guns being a man named Pop.

Buffet 12

Bryan’s father who we all call Pop has a love for building and furniture refinishing. We all know that if you give Pop a scratched, water damaged, beat up piece of old furniture he will return to you a perfectly restored and polished beauty of a piece. I’ve been trying to tell Pop for years that he should sell the pieces he refinished. Finally he’s agreed and this one is for sale!

It’s sitting in my house right now and I have to admit I’ve contemplated on more than one occasion keeping this piece for myself.

Buffet 6

The shape of this piece was really beautiful. I love fluted details on the side and the small scale means it’s perfect to use as a small buffet in a dining room, an entry hall table or even a TV stand for a small TV. The top drawer is actually a serving tray which pulls out completely.

Buffet 5

Under that there are three more drawers and double door cabinet big enough to hold extra china or linens. Just in time for the Holidays!

Buffet 13

We just got it prepped and ready to sell, so if you’re in the NJ area and would like to purchase this piece email me at ourlakelife (at) gmail (dot) come for additional details.

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