7th House on the Left

Hold the Toast

posted by Ashley  /  21 Comments

Well, I was hoping to be posting about our new dining room light fixture today. Actually, I had hoped to post it yesterday, but some stuff came up and we had to postpone our electrician date with my dad until later today. So, fingers crossed, Greg will have that post ready for you guys tomorrow. But here’s a heads up, we unpackaged the fixture last night and… I’m in love with it and can’t stop looking at it.

Use a vintage toast holder to organize small things on your desk. // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Since we can’t chat about the dining room today, I thought it would be fun to share the story behind one of my favorite desk accessories in my office. Well, it’s not much of a “story” but more of an awesome fact, a super sweet gesture by my better half and a handy use for a random item.

Rewind back a few years, to my and Greg’s first Christmas as Mr and Mrs. I was on the hunt for the perfect Christmas gift for my Aunt Dee Dee. Now, something you need to know about my Aunt Dee Dee is that we share a kindred love for I Love Lucy. We know every word to every episode and not-so-secretly wish we lived in the 1950’s, had flaming red hair courtesy of Henna Rinse and lived in a brownstone apartment next-door to our BFFs in New York City. I searched high and low for the perfect Christmas gift and found a “prop dealer” selling this beauty…

Use a vintage toast holder to organize small things on your desk. // 7thhouseontheleft.com

“What is that?”, you ask? It’s a vintage toast holder that was used on the set of I Love Lucy. Yes, I freaked out. I went through all of the protocol to make sure the seller (and the prop) was legit and snatched that thing up faster than you could sing the chorus of Babalu. I was beyond excited to give it to her and couldn’t get over the fact that a piece of classic television history was in my possession. I even saved wrapping her present until last so I could look at it and fawn over it regularly. Lucille Ball touched that very prop. Some of my favorite lines of comedy were spoken in its presence. Yeah, that’s a little dramatic, I know. I’m normally not one to get all worked up or “in awe” over celebrities and things like that, but we’re talking about classic television right here, folks.

Greg quickly caught onto my infatuation for the vintage Lucy-adorned toast holder. Without me knowing, he contacted the seller and asked if he had anymore I Love Lucy prop pieces up his sleeve. Much to his surprise, the toast holder was actually a part of a set of two and the dealer was planning to list the second one that next day. Greg laid on the charm and convinced the man to sell it him prior to listing for the same amount I bought the first toast holder. A few days later, I received a package and was utterly confused as to why my Aunt Dee Dee’s toast holder that was tucked away waiting for Christmas wrapping was being mailed to me all over again. I called Greg at work and he told me what he did. Sweetest. Surprise. Ever. Okay, yeah, I cried.

Use a vintage toast holder to organize small things on your desk. // 7thhouseontheleft.com

It actually wasn’t until a few months ago when I finally found a good use for it. It’s the perfect size to hold and organize the little jotter notebooks I normally have floating around my desk. I use these three jotters for passwords to random sites I won’t remember later, a running list of Christmas gift ideas and lists of websites to remember (I hate using browser bookmarks for some reason). The vintage toast holder is perfect for keeping them from being scattered on my desk and getting lost in the shuffle. Being a fan of all things gold these days (who isn’t, right?), I also love the aged brass finish. A big bonus for me is the fact that every time I reach for a jotter, I instinctively think of Lucy’s skilled toast catching capabilities…

I Love Lucy Toast Catch // 7thhouseontheleft.com

From the set of your favorite TV show or not, I can highly recommend using a vintage toast holder to organize your desk. If jotters aren’t your thing, you can also use it to hold incoming and outgoing mail, pencils/pens or even your gadget chargers. It’s a fun way to bring in a bit of vintage to the workspace while keeping things organized and tidy. If you’re in the market for a vintage toast holder to organize your desk top, there’s a plethora of them available on Etsy starting at around $10.

Now I had an odd craving for toast… anyone else?

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me mention my love for this dining table at World Market that would make a killer desk..

There are so many things I loved about it. The iron legs, real-wood plank table top, the depth and, of course, the fact it was marked down from $329 to $260. It was THE desk I’ve been looking for. About ten minutes after this photo was posted, I asked them to hold one for me so Greg could go by later and pick it up in the SUV (there was only 1 in stock!). A few hours later, the old desk was listed on Craigslist (we ended up selling for $225 – which just about paid for the new one!) and the new desk was in place…

I love it. Every time I walk by my office, I have a need to say “hi”. I love working at it too. It makes me feel more creative, haha. My monitor is 30″ and the lamp is a pretty big lamp, so the desk may look a little smaller than it actually is. The monstrosity that is my computer tower is on it’s way out the window. I just pulled the trigger on a new MacBook Pro last night, so bye bye tower and messy wires! In other words, ignore the ugly thing on the other side of the desk and the nest of wires surrounding it. I’m keeping the monitor to be able to convert the laptop to a desktop workstation when ever I feel like working on a big screen, though. So, that’s staying put.

I love the vast amount of workspace – so much more than my last desk! I added the lamp (which may or may not be switched out for another one down the road), a little potted faux plant (from Ikea), a blue tray (from Target) and essentials like pens, Sharpies and paper tape.

Before you start judging that I have a poster on the wall held up with tacks, let me explain! The poster was originally hung in my college dorm room and I’ve been saving it for years to hang somewhere in my house. Not only does it bring back ridiculously fun memories, but it’s only the best movie ever with three of my all-time favorite people (Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden). If you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing and look it up on Netflix. I’m planning on getting it framed, but until I decide on a particular frame/mat, I wanted to hang it to get a feel for what it would look like on the wall. The poster itself has extra-wide borders, and the tacks are in the corners, way away from the artwork, so we’re all good. I really love the colors, and I think it really pops against the wall color. It will also tie in with the rest of the room once it’s all put together. As for the rest of the room…

What’s funny is the fact that I’ve never had a definite plan for this room – which is SO unlike me. So far, I’ve just been collecting what I like/need (like THE desk and the Martha Stewart storage furniture) and crossing my fingers I can bring it all together. So that’s where I am now: bringing it all together.

My thoughts are if I change out the white wooden hardware on the storage pieces for some weathered oil-rubbed bronze hardware, that will tie them in with the legs of the desk. My next plan of action is to add some panel curtains to the window. As for some color, I bought some “fabric” that I love. Fabric is in “quotes” because it’s actually a shower curtain – but it doesn’t look like a shower curtain – promise! I’m not losing my mind.

Do you hear that? That’s my family all over the country laughing hysterically because they know I have no business using a sewing machine. It ties in nicely with the cabinets, coral chairs, Sabrina poster and the Ikat pattern is a tad rustic(ish). I bought three to give me enough “fabric” to go from floor to ceiling. I’ve actually had them for a few months, but I’ve been nervous about doing anything with them, afraid I’ll mess them up. Here’s hoping that since I’ve posted about it now, I’ll suck it up and actually get around to doing it.

 Since my new desk doesn’t have drawers, I’m in dire need of a Shop Assistant. Expedit translated means “shop assistant”. I learned that from Benita Larsson, organizing extraordinaire, herself. Functionally, an Expedit would work wonders for me. Design-wise, I can’t decide. I keep going back and forth. I like the idea of rustic meets modern meets a little bit of old school but this one has me completely stumped. If we do decide on the Expedit, here’s how the layout of the room would go…

And to give you a reference, here’s what the room looks like right now…

The addition would add some height to the room, and I’d have a place to store all of my papers and office supplies, and I could use it to display things like my antique camera collection. So, what do you guys think? Yay or Nay on the Expidit? Should I be planning another trip to Ikea or shopping around for something else?


posted by Ashley  /  33 Comments

Making an inspiration board for my office has been on my DIY To-Do List for a while now. I talked about my childhood love of inspiration boards (and Jonathan Taylor Thomas) in this post a while back – almost a year ago! I love the idea of having a designated place where you have permission to clutter it up with things you love and gain creative inspiration from. An inspiration board can be a pretty powerful thing to get the creative juices flowing and over time, it basically turns into a piece of art that completely captures all of your creative senses.

I bought this super cool frame at a local thrift store (Love of Jesus for you locals) for eight bucks. Coming in at around 36×29, it’s a pretty good size – perfect for an inspiration board, right?! The slightly weathered gold details had me at hello and I couldn’t bear to even think about painting it. So gold it stayed!

The frame didn’t come with any backing, so we cut down the backing that came with the frame we used for our magnetic chalkboard project (good thing we kept that around in our scrap pile out in the shed). Obviously, you can’t have a cork board without cork. I bought a package of cork tiles, connected them using duct tape (as suggested here by Sherry over at Young House Love) and cut them to the size of the backing board. At this point, the plan was to cover it with fabric, pop it in the frame and be done with it. But then I remembered seeing Genevieve Gorder’s studio on HGTV. She covered a whole wall with Homasote (which is really cork-like) and painted it with chalkboard paint. Genius! So back to Staples I went and picked up a roll of cork. I cut a piece to size and attached it to the duct-taped cork tiles using spray adhesive (Scotch Super 77). Having two layers of cork, plus a frame backing may seem like we went a little overboard, but it ended up being a good thing. Neither the tiles nor the roll of cork alone were thick enough to securely hold a push pin, and the backing makes the finished product all sturdy and awesome.

Luckily, we had a lot of chalkboard paint left over from, the magnetic chalkboard project. I painted the cork using a mini roller (which is the cutest little thing ever!). The paint had awesome coverage and looked great after two coats, but I did three just for good measure.

Like my classy painting contraption? I used four cans of tomato soup to help hold the cork up so I didn’t get any paint on the counter. As you can see from the paint-covered can, I can get a tad clumsy when it comes to paint.

Once the paint was completely dry, I plopped that sucker into the frame. To keep it in place, Greg applied some caulk adhesive to the seams and let it sit overnight.

To make sure the edges didn’t pop up over night, I weighted the board down with something heavy on each corner. The next morning, the caulk was still a little wet, so we let it sit until later that night. It seemed like the longest day ever because I was dying to get it up on the wall and put it to work.

The frame didn’t have any type of hanger on it, so we had to add some. First, Greg drilled two small pilot holes in the frame so the screw wouldn’t split the wood. He also filled the hole Liquid Nail for extra security. He’s definitely a “better safe than sorry” kind of guy when it comes to hanging things on the wall! All that was left was to screw on the D-ring hangers, put two Gorilla Hooks in the wall, and hang the whole thing up!

And now, finally, the finished product…

Looks pretty nifty, right?! I haven’t had a chance to fill it up but I’m loving how the black cork makes the gold frame really pop. I also love the fact that I can write on the board itself.

Aside from the new inspiration board, my favorite thing in this corner is the ceramic dog (from HomeGoods). We like to call him Milo! When I first saw him in the store, I thought I would spray paint him a fun color. Now, seeing him in his new habitat, I’m second guessing myself. At this point, I think I’m going to wait until the rest of the office is finished before making any changes.

I picked up the small robins egg blue dish from a local thrift store for $3, which is perfect for holding extra push pins. To finish things off, I snagged the cup of paint brushes from the cabinet and a stack of House Beautiful magazines from the living room. This grouping may change later down the road, but I’m digging the look for now.

On top of the stack of magazines is a candle (from Terrain) I bought for my office a while back. I’m not planning on burning it until my office is “done”, though. I guess you could say it’s going to be my “reward”. I love the design on the jar, and my great grandmother loved persimmons, so in a way, it reminds me of her. I’m looking forward to enjoying the relaxing scent of Japanese persimmon, peach, and red currants. Yum!

I’m so excited to finally have a place to corral inspiration for house, blog and graphic design projects. It’s also super nice to finally have something hung on the walls in here! It’s about time, don’t you think? ; )