pin this, part 1

I believe I’ve mentioned how much I love my new house. Yes, I moved in during the first week of last October. Regardless—until I’ve lived here for at least a year—I’m going to continue to refer to it as my new house. After said year of living, it will simply convert to my awesome house. Because it is. Awesome.

My sister, Kristen, and I searched for months. Long. Grueling. Months. It was sort of like torture. We saw carpeted monstrosities, duplexes complete with small, whiny, loud children as neighbors, apartments without dishwashers…we were sure we weren’t going to find anything, especially with our list of must-haves and can’t-live-without’s and absolute deal-breakers that seemed to multiply with every wrong house we viewed.

And then, after months of looking, we fell in love. Perfect neighborhood? Check. Perfect house? Check. Just about all of the must-haves and none of the deal-breakers? Check and check.

Before moving in, we actually had the silly thought we might not have enough stuff to furnish the new house. Clearly, that was a moment of stupidity. We filled up a 3-4 bedroom U-Haul, in addition to a few carloads. Add that to all the extra non-essential crap we’ve bought since October, our house is officially FULL. We’ve decided we’re done decorating. No. More. Crap. Which is why we’ll probably go antiquing again this weekend.

With that said, I thought it was time to post some pictures. It’s kind of long-winded, so if you only want to look at the pictures and skip all the cool words, that’s totally okay. I’ll forgive you.

Meet our new house, part 1 (you can click on the images to make them slightly larger):

This is our house. Our beautiful house with the lovely front porch that has absolutely nothing on it. Yet. We plan to remedy that by this summer (See? We’ll never be done buying crap). Right when we moved in, our older brother surprised us with a fantastic David D. Lynch abstract print of our new neighborhood, Cooper Young. We have it hanging up right as you walk in the door.

This front living area is the first thing you see inside the front door. Kristen and I found this green couch on consignment at a local furniture warehouse for only $100, so we have no idea who’s actually slept on it before. Though, other than the under-lining Maddie’s teeth have taken a shining to, it’s in great shape. A bunch of our other furniture are pieces we’ve inherited from our parents (A.K.A. confiscated from their attic with their reluctant permission). Since she had two, my mother gave each of us an antique, cedar chest (Kristen’s seen above, repurposed as a coffee table). My mom also let me temporarily use her old, antique, SINGER sewing table. I love it, so I’m not really planning on giving it back anytime soon. Nothing in this room really goes together, yet it all somehow goes together.

I promise we’re not vain, but we do have a lot of mirrors in our house. Strange men appear in them and tell us how we’re the most beautiful residents in all of Cooper Young. They also open up smaller spaces and make every room look bigger. Plus, now there are plenty of places for our friends to check for food stuck in their teeth when they come over for parties. It’s a win-win. When we were in Nashville a few months back, a friend of Kristen’s referred us to a hotel furniture liquidator warehouse. It smelled like old people and mildew, but it is where we got both of these mirrors for under $15. Ridiculously cheap. Ridiculously worth the old people smell. Now, as a writer I may be biased, but one of my favorite things in the whole house is on top of this sewing table—a vintage Underwood typewriter that belonged to our great-grandfather in the early 1900s. This was also one of the great finds from my parents’ attic that was dusted off and given new life. I used it to type all 124,000 words of Jaded (no I didn’t).

Our house is technically a four bedroom house, though we consider it a three. We repurposed one of the bedrooms as a media/TV room since we didn’t need two extra bedrooms. Plus, it has french doors. Who wants see-thru doors in their bedroom? Weirdos. As you can see on the wall to the left of the room, I love that we finally had a place to hang our masks that we bought from Maui last year. They’re hung right above where Maddie’s face is photo bombing the top image. Our house also features a ton of my art. A friend who stayed in our guest room recently referred to the house as an art gallery. The Memphis Bridge painting above my mother’s antique desk in the right picture is one of the first paintings I made for my sister while she lived in Nashville. Sort of so she could have a piece of Memphis while she was there. As for our furniture, my sister and I redid a lot of the pieces in our house. In the media room, for the side and coffee tables, we bought some teal paint and distressed each piece (our dad’s favorite word) and added two decorative knobs from Anthropologie to the side table since the handle we bought didn’t fit the weird size of the two holes in the drawer. We improvised. The two tables were rendered unrecognizable. It’s amazing what a little paint and sanding can do.

The trolley painting in the media/TV room practically took me as long to paint as Jaded did to write. Unlike most of the paintings I do (in one sitting), I painted the trolley in bits and pieces. It took me forever. My friends made fun of me a lot, wondering when—if ever—it would be completed. I can’t remember how long it sat on my easel with the background finished and a big white space looming in the middle, waiting for me to fill in the trolley. Because of that long, grueling process, it gets a prominent spot in the house.

Here’s my cedar chest that desperately needs refinishing (hence why it’s covered with pillows). As you can see, this cityscape is substantially larger than the trolley painting, yet took me less than a day to paint. I surprised my sister one of the first weekends she traveled out of town by having this hanging up when she got back home. It’s a mash-up of the Memphis and Nashville skylines (since she lived there for about 7ish years before moving back with me in Memphis). Another aspect I love about this house is the lighting. It has recessed lighting coming out its a…you get the point. It’s wonderful. The black grate in the floor is the dungeon where I trap my sister when she pisses me off or parks behind me in our narrow driveway. Don’t judge. There are holes for air.

Can you tell we’ve recently become obsessed with lanterns? I can’t get enough of them. Every time I see one in a store, I feel like I have to have it. Plus, I sometimes let my sister use them when I banish her to the dungeon. Sometimes.

More lanterns. Another magic mirror. After moving home from college, I found this mirror wrapped in a blanket in my parents’ attic. They didn’t even know it was there. They couldn’t remember where it had come from—like a magic mirror stork had dropped it down into their attic. I took it upon myself to paint it black (the stork dropped it off in an ugly, chipped gold color). It’s really heavy, in case you were wondering. The faux buffet below it is actually my antique, cherry wood dresser I had growing up, handed down to me from my grandmother. Sitting in a dusty attic for four years (while I was away at college) had it in pretty bad shape. Pealing sections of stain, scratches up and down every surface. We applied a fresh coat of black paint to match the mirror and distressed it with some sand paper (can you tell we like distressing furniture?). Instead of forking over a fortune on new handles, we painted the original ones to match the walls of the dining room. My mom didn’t recognize the dresser the first time she saw it after we transformed it. Seriously. Re-doing furniture is way easier than most people think.

Here are some of the random knick-knacks & knooks in the dining/kitchen area. We found the brown shutter discarded in a corner of our creepy midtown basement, added a teal Anthropologie knob and Voila! Instant art piece. The black wine rack is on loan from my mother’s best friend. Maddie loves to poke at the wine glasses with her puppy nose in her sad attempt at playing the bells. She’s not very good at it. I told her to keep practicing. And I’m not sure our parents agree, but we find the wooden word block hilarious.

I. Love. This. Kitchen. It has everything my old kitchen didn’t. Tons of counterspace. Pendant lights. A bar. TONS of cabinet/drawer space. Outlets everywhere. Huge double-door pantry. Wide open to the rest of the house. Recessed lighting galore. I love cooking in here, even though I don’t really cook that much. I keep saying I’m going to cook more. Then I remember that I’m lazy.

I love my house. I love most of the rooms in my house. This is—by far—my favorite. I’ve spoken about it before. It’s what my sister refers to as our Beauty and the Beast Library. Totally identical, right? One full wall of bookshelves, complete with a winged-back reading chair I found at a local antique warehouse for about $30. It’s like heaven—bottled up into a room. Though, my cat gets more use out of the room than I do, considering I’ve only actually sat and read one book here. Mulligan uses the chair as a scratching post and the bookshelves to play his own game of keep away from Maddie. Screaming at him to stop doesn’t deter him.

This is one of two side tables we redid (the first was in the front room). We merely painted them white and sanded down the edges/grooves. I wish I had a before and after for you. They went from drab/cheap looking to shabby chic. I only lost a few layers of skin to sand paper in the process.

I own a lot of books. Physical, hard-cover books. None of that e-reader crap. I buy all of my books because I don’t know the meaning of due dates at the Library and am always surprised when I go there and all of a sudden owe $70. I thought libraries were supposed to be free? In the long run, it’s cheaper and better for my stress level to pay for the books up front instead of taking them out on loan with no intention of ever remembering to return them. Speaking of, I just recently purchased three DVDs from Redbox.

While I’m sitting in my reading chair, reading life-changing, challenging, literary masterpieces like Twilight, this is my straight on view (when I’m not distracted by my dog tapping out SOS messages with her body against the glass back door). We found this mantle down the street at Gary’s Antiques for $40. It was dirty, white and beat-up. I added a light coat of teal paint and then we broke our backs sanding it down by hand on our back deck. Attach a piece of plywood covered in chalkboard paint to the back of the opening and you have yourself a new, large writing surface for guests to leave messages. For accents, we used empty wine bottles as vases and a set of mason jars we found somewhere for $7, full of fake apples from Target. The print in the frame is an original photograph taken by my sister.

And, next to our mantle chalkboard, we have the illustrious easel. It’s where the magic happens. It’s where I turn blank canvases into works of art. Except those two. They’ve been sitting there since I moved in last October. I have no idea what in the Hell to put on them. Until then, they’ll sit there all crisp and clean and waiting for inspiration. Maybe I can incorporate the thin layer of dust that has settled on them into some sort of mixed media piece. Only time will tell.

And, that’s part one of my new house. Are you in love, yet? What’s your favorite room? I’m sorry. You can’t have it. We have a state of the art security system, so don’t think about breaking in and stealing anything. That alarm will seriously break your eardrums before the police show up and break your face.

All the photographs you see here were taken by my lovely and talented sister and roommate, Kristen. She just started her own photography blog HERE. Sometime today, you’ll be able to see images of her room there, too. She’s about ten times funnier than me, so it’s worth a look or two. Or ten.

I have more pictures to show you. Next up…you get to see where I sleep. That sounded much creepier written out than it did in my head. My bad. Stay tuned!

– lindsey archer

UPDATE: Kristen’s blog is now up with more pictures of the house. See it HERE.

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  1. Susan Heath

     /  March 13, 2012

    Oh Lindsey! I love it! It is so cute and big, big , big. I want to visit and see it in person. Looks like the perfect place to entertain.


    • It turns 100 this year & of course we’re going to have a party to celebrate 🙂 I’ll be sure to send you an invite!

      And, yes. It is GREAT for entertaining!

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