Tag Archives: furniture

The Built-In Bookcase Project

October 25, 2012


I have a home office in my living room. Because we shoehorn an office, a school room, and a living room all into the tiny 350 square-foot space, so the room has always been a disaster of clutter and mismatched furniture. This year, I was determined to address the problems.

Earlier in the year, we installed new windows, replacing the 1910 Victorian models. After that, we sewed curtains for the room, painted the walls and painted the trim. Then, I got rid of the monstrous 8-foot hand-me-down blue-and-pink couch and got two small, cushy love seats.

For over a month now, we’ve been building and installing two huge built-in bookcase units. One is 6 feet long and the other is 5 feet. I’ve had intentions of adding such a unit to this room for years. Pre-made bookcases (solid wood only, please!) are prohibitively expensive, and I could not hire a carpenter to do it. So I watched a few videos, read a few how-to articles, and decided to tackle it myself. Due to the “eccentricities” of our old home (that’s the understatement of the year), I had to use my noggin and do a bit of creative tinkering. I won’t bore you with the details here, but I had to use pre-made kitchen wall cabinets instead of base cabinets because wall cabs are only 12 inches deep, which is all I had to work with. We had to create a frame upon which the cabinets would sit, to elevate them to “base cab” height. That took a while because we also had to cut through the laminate floor to secure the frame to the subfloor. I have a very inventive son who is now thoroughly skilled with the Dremel tool. πŸ™‚

Anyway, here’s a pictorial story of how it went.


Living Room before 1

Marking the wall for studs and placement of the cabinets.


One cab installed. ….five more to go…


The husband would come home from work and wonder what I was ruining now, lol. He has a difficult time […]

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Sedentary Exploits

July 9, 2011


I’m doing a lot of armchair traveling this year, I tell you.

Sedentary Exploits

Exercise, what’s that?

Well, the Hubs just assembled, primed and painted two new Adirondack chairs and — let me tell you — they are some of the most comfortable chairs ever. I wrote an article on them last month. The history is fascinating. About a hundred years ago, a wealthy vacationer (to the Adirondacks, you guessed it!) named Thomas Lee suddenly found himself devoid of lawn chairs for his large family, and attempted to build his own. He created many prototypes, asking his 26-member family to try them all out and vote for the best. The family unanimously voted for this type of chair: the back reclines slightly and the knees are elevated above the hips. Wide armrests beg to hold big icy glasses of tea or lemonade. His chair was a hit. Lee gave his design to a local carpenter, Harry Bunnell, who needed some work for the winter. But the carpenter patented the design himself and started a business, building and selling the chairs, flourished with his own signature. Not very nice. Bunnell manufactured Adirondack chairs for 20 years, made from local hemlock and inscribing his name on each. I suppose the chairs, if any exist, are collector’s items, eh?

Mine are made in China from cheapo pine. But they are comfy nonetheless.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of lounging to do. Happy weekend. πŸ™‚

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BYOS: Buy Your Own Sofas

April 4, 2011

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Thinking about it makes me very queasy, but the topic must be covered. Bedbugs. *gag* *wretch* And I thought fleas were bad.

Bedbugs are making a comeback, especially in New York. Bedbugs were practically wiped out from the industrialized nations thanks to DDT. But DDT is now banned, and critters like malaria-bearing mosquitoes and bedbugs are coming back. The nasty disgusting creatures are spreading like wildfire in schools, hotels, even lawyer’s offices. YUK!!!!

I am a bit of a bug-o-phobe. I hate bugs, HATE the disgusting, dirty little creatures. The family is on quarantine— that is, no more thrift store clothing, and no more curbside or hand-me-down furniture. Not unless it’s fumigated!

We have some very nice furniture, some are pretty hand-me-downs from family members. But the sofas are much too large for my living room (which is crammed with desks and office equipment). We are thinking about downgrading to a smaller living room set. And to be honest, I’m very hesitant to take another hand-me-down, just because of bedbugs. Oh it would be horrible to have them, horrible! So no more second-hand anything. I’m going to have to be a very savvy shopper and get my discounts from the retail or online stores and etc. I’m not taking any chances.

How about you? Has news about bedbugs changed the way you do things? I am not 100% sure that bedbugs have been discovered in my county, but I don’t live dangerously. I’m allergic to fleas and God forbid a nasty bedbug touches my skin! From now on it’s BYOS– Buy Your Own Sofa!

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Two Year Anniversary for Memory Foam…

April 1, 2011

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I always wanted one of those *real* memory foam mattresses. I’d endured the spring coil for many decades before the darling husband shelled out the big bucks for a memory foam. We got a Tempurpedic on sale, and I did a review shortly after. It remains one of my most popular blog posts, surprisingly.

We’ve had ours for almost two years now! Has it really been that long?! But I’m happy to say that it’s still very, very nice. And SO comfortable.

Because of herniated spinal disks and sciatica, I was in a lot of pain with the regular spring coil bed. Since we have had a memory foam mattress, I have not had one “big” bout of back problems. So I’m very partial to the memory foam. πŸ™‚

What really stinks is the foundation. We got a generic brand name foundation for the set, and after 6 months, it started squeaking like crazy. Apparently, the foundation is constructed of cardboard and plastic ribbing! Very cheap. We’ve replaced the foundation set every 6 months for 18 months (warranty) until the furniture store said they wouldn’t replace the foundation anymore, and we’d have to buy a new set. :-p I won’t get into how much that totally stinks. I guess I could sue them for breach or warranty, perhaps…. πŸ™

Anyway. The memory foam mattress itself is outstanding. After two years, here are some things I’ve learned.

The memory foam mattress IS a little hot. It’s constructed of some kind of plastic something or other, and therefore retains heat very well. I am a hot person by nature, so I get overheated sometimes. It’s not blistering hot as some reviewers would have you believe, but it’s a pretty toasty mattress in the winter, and warm in the summer. On the plus side, if you live in a cold climate or your house is cold all winter, this is THE mattress to get.

Waiting for Tooth Fairy

Livvy loves the mattress


The complete bed set sits lower than the average bed. So you drop into it at night and crawl up out of it in the morning. I’d rather have a higher bed. Someday, I’m going to build a bed frame out of solid lumber. This will raise the bed and replace that lousy, squeaky foundation.

The memory foam does soften over time. When we first got it, it was firm. It’s loosened a little. It’s still very comfortable, but it is softer. Also, when it’s cold, the bed is firmer, and when it’s warm, the bed relaxes. The material is sensitive to temperatures.

The mattress is extremely heavy. VERY heavy. It takes two guys to haul it up the stairs, and even then, I wondered if they were going to spill back down again….

Overall, I recommend the memory foam mattress. You can no doubt get much better deals online than retail. It was expensive, retail. You cannot use regular box springs with the memory foam, though– it must have a solid foundation. I recommend you stay far away from the generic no-brand labels and stick with the big names for the foundation. Or, build your own solid wood bed frame.

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Sit Like an Egyptian

March 3, 2011

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Hee hee.

Doesn’t it look like a Cleopatra chair?

It’s actually called a “chaise lounge chair” *ahem*.

I am looking to replace the living room furniture in the near future. I’m tired of the cat-scratched sofa and the two funky, upholstered orange throwbacks from the 1970s that were found curbside…. :-p I don’t particularly like the straight-back chairs and I don’t like futons, bean bags, or Barca Loungers. I actually prefer to lounge on a long couch, but I can’t fit it into my small office very comfortably.

Lounge chairs seem to be very nice. There’s a lot of them at the Chaise Lounge Chair Store, with a variety of styles and colors. I prefer the more traditional styles (I’m not terribly find of contemporary anything), but the store has some pretty eccentric styles that are amazing! I may get one for my office some day, that and a papyrus fan and a slave who feeds me from a cluster of grapes….

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See Grass!

March 3, 2011

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No no wait. Not GRASS as in this:

Grass as in this:

SEAGRASS. As in Seagrass Rug.

Sorry, I misspoke. :S Seeing real, green grass is about two months away yet. :'(

But there’s plenty of seagrass to sea see at 1001SeagrassRugs.com. Seagrass is nice because it’s made of natural fibers. The rugs at 1001SeagrassRugs.com have latex backing for extra durability. And seagrass is WAY better than that plasticky indoor-outdoor carpeting. Seagrass is a plant that grows underwater– and therefore would be perfect for the floor of my front porch! :-p Our house is too old for gutters, so when it rains, it pours. And it all collects in front of the front porch, ugh. I have to rip out the deck and rebuild the rotting wood. And get gutters, of course.

Anyway, the seagrass rugs are so nice! Very affordable and some have pretty black or brown borders. You can also get bamboo rugs or jute rugs there, too. Check it out! πŸ˜€

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These Are SO Cool

July 24, 2010

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I am REALLY into space-saving devices. I dislike clutter. I like my furniture with legs (Queen Anne style) because I like the airy look. I dislike knick-knacks and other clutter, too.

So when I was searching around for computer monitor wall mounts and spotted this at Buy.com, it was instant love.

Isn’t that cool?! The Ergotron StyleView HD Combo. VERY expensive, though. A little too much for my budget. That model there is about $400. Even with Buy.com’s low prices, it’s still a lot of cash. But what a great space saver! Here’s hoping it goes on deep discount sometime…

This one is nice, too. It’s the Ergotron Neo-Flex, and it’s a lot less expensive (but still expensive) at less than $100.

I’m always fussing with my monitor, moving it to this side of the desk and then the other (I do a lot of things at my desk, not just computer work). The monitor is always in the way, so I’d like to get a mount for it or something. Plus, I also have a mini-station upstairs in a small bedroom… and the clothes dresser is not meant for holding a computer and monitor! Anyway, I’ve done a little research, and I think Ergotron makes the best monitor mounts. All the others are short and rather stiff; Ergotron seems to build in better engineering and support than the others. Of course, Ergotron is, like 2-3 times more expensive, too… Buy.com has great deals, but the Ergotron stuff just never seems to go down in price very much. oh well, maybe someday…. πŸ˜€

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My Beat Up Old Desk Gets Hip

December 19, 2009


I have this old desk. It’s OLD. It’s an old schoolteacher’s desk, maybe dates back to the 1920s or 1940s or something.

desk tray7

It’s huge– it weights a ton because it’s solid wood. It has this strange plasticky tabletop material on it; it’s not slate– it’s a little spongy. You can write on it, and sharp things (like fingernails!) will scratch its surface. I don’t know how to repair it because I don’t know what it is. I love the sliding wooden trays on each side. They are wonderful. I can place a cup of coffee on them, knowing that a spill won’t destroy what’s on my desk; and the kids can come to me with their onerous books so we can go over their work.

Well, the worst part about the desk (besides badly needing a surface restoration- yeah, I’ll get to that someday) is that it’s not built for modern technology. It’s a little higher than most computer desks, and has no sliding keyboard tray, so it gets tiresome to type with my arms and hands elevated all day. I asked my husband if he could make the front drawer into a sliding keyboard tray.


With just a little adjusting, a few minor cuts…

desk tray1 […]

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Happy Birthday to Me :)

July 17, 2009


Well, it’s not my birthday yet. In a few weeks it will be. I’ve never bought myself a birthday present before, but this year, I think I will!! I’m going to be [unintelligible] years old, and I’ve been working hard– I think I’m going to get something that’s really been on my “heart’s desire” wishlist for a long long time.

Isn’t it absolutely BEAUTIFUL!?!?!?!? Oh I just love this!!!!


The great thing about being a summer baby is that you can get all sorts of nifty stuff AND use it the moment you get it!!

We have ikky plastic patio furniture. It’s horribly uncomfortable, and I can’t bear to sit in it. I’ve been procrastinating getting something really nice– I wavered about whather to get an Adirondack chair or a nice swing like this one. The swings are sooo comfortable. And Buy.com has it! Buy.com is my favorite store. πŸ™‚ I always find good deals and an amazing selection there. I know I have been chattering on about Buy.com a lot lately… they are a really great store! They have terrific sales all week long, and they have so much stuff it’s crazy! They offer free shipping on lots of products, and their selection is just stupendous. They allow third-party merchants to place their products at the site, multiplying the terrific assortment and price competition. Plus, the customer service at Buy.com is incredible You have GOT to go and see. I know you’ll find some great stuff– for someone’s birthday, or gee, maybe even your own! πŸ˜‰

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The Tempurpedic Mattress Update

January 15, 2009


We’ve had our Tempurpedic mattress for several months now. I thought I’d now give the promised update. You can read my first review that has my first impressions of the mattress and box spring set.

Tempurpedic Top

We bought the mattress AND the box spring AND a new queen-size frame for this bed. Because I have a herniated disk in my spine that sometimes flares up, the regular old spring-coil mattress was causing more problems than helping them. We bought the Tempurpedic with the hopes that it would improve my back (or, at the very least, not strain it as the spring-coil was straining it).

I’ll shoot straight and clear, first thing: I love the Tempurpedic mattress.

The mattress itself has softened a lot since we purchased it five months ago. It’s still extremely comfortable. It’s also warm and cozy. I’d read online reviews that said the mattress was uncomfortably hot, but I have not found that the case so far. Of course, we haven’t been through a summer with the Tempurpedic yet, and New York winters are MIGHTY chilly. I’m finding that I look forward to going to bed every night, cuddling up in the mattress. It’s so soft and comfortable! Where I used to get sore spots at the pressure points with the spring-coil, I have nothing but comfort with the Tempurpedic.

The bad side of the Temperpedic mattress is the box spring. It’s a DISASTER. We had to get the split box springs, because my stair case ceiling is so low that a regular box spring could never fit through and up to the bedrooms (these old houses, you know). When we first moved to this house, we had to break apart the bedroom window and hoist our spring-coil mattress and box spring up a rope and through the window. No fun. So we got the split box spring, with the saleman’s assurances that this was just as comfortable.


This box spring is awful. You can’t roll over without the box spring squeaking and groaning in protest. It is durn-tootin’ NOISY! I mean– if the windows were open, the neighbors standing outside could hear me getting in and out of the bed. It’s a horrid sound, like the sound of very dry wood scratching over each other, very LOUDLY. I just dread moving on the bed. It wakes the kids!

Split Foundation

So I am 100% DISSATISFIED with the box spring. It STINKS. We paid a good chunk of change for the set (we could have gone to las vegas for a weekend, it cost that much!). I’m considering using my old box spring from the old spring-coil set (it’s still in our upstairs hallway because we have to either bust it up or break open our window again to get rid of it). The Temperpedic box spring is a rip-off.

So there ya have it. I expect the Tempurpedic mattress to continue to soften a little, with time. That doesn’t bother me, as I like the cushy feel (especially after enduring the hard-as-concrete spring coil mattress for so long). But I’ll never get another box spring like this. It’s awful.

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