Teal Campaign Chest ||A Craigslist Experiment||

As active furniture flippers for the past 6 years, Chelsea and I really have our fingers on the pulse of our local craigslist.  In fact, between the two of us, we have found and flipped nearly 200 pieces in the DC Metro area - which has proven to be a crash-course in decor supply and demand.  We've often shifted our aesthetic to capitalize on budding trends: specializing in chalk paint + heavy distressing, hunting down mid-century modern scores, playing with bohemian touches, etc...  

When we decided to launch StyleMutt Home in September 2014 we started to really pushed the decor envelope to try out new styles, paint colors, staging techniques, patterns.  And we've had a BALL YA'LL.  Exercising these creative muscles started opening up design possibilities (see some of our latest here and here).  We chalk this up to the Lord's blessing.  And that being yourself is so much more rewarding than just trying to fit in.

Some Personal Fave Past Projects


So lately our Craigslist spidey-senses have started noticing some developing trends.  The price for Grandma's old dresser is going up in correlation with the sheer number of DIY pieces for sale.  Now, we LOVE seeing so much budding talent in our area.  But it makes us ask ourselves how can we stand out to potential buyers?

So when I found this campaign piece, I decided to conduct a little experiment.  (I actually do this often when staging my pieces for sale).  I LOVE bright, bold, loud colors.  On/ in/ around everything.  But based on what I've seen in our area, most people want a "tamer" more rustic look and something too eclectic could be a off-putting.  So I decided to refinish this piece in a color that would still play well with the neutrals that are so indicative of the farmhouse craze everyone is in these days.

If you're as obsessed with HGTV like I am, you may notice that the predominately grain sack and burlap color scheme of the farmhouse scene has started to relax it's restrictions the rest of the color spectrum.  Home decor shows like Fixer Upper (a personal fave) have started mixing in muted teals, deep greens, saturated navys, matte charcoals, and warm woods amongst all that greige.  And well I just happened to have a can of muted teal on hand from a custom order so I went for it.

I still styled it with some fun abstract art because well... it's me we're talking about here.  The hung art is intentionally undersized (it's so wrong it's almost right) in hopes that it shows how a "safe" piece can still be used in bold ways (you know - just in case it struck a cord with a another style mutt in the market for some new furniture ;)

I laid aside my overactive love of brass and styled with a silver lamp to match the chrome pulls.  In my mind, silver is a "safer" choice for hardware because brass can rub some people the wrong way (I used to only see the 80's when I saw yellowy brass, but just because I've changed my tune doesn't mean everyone else has).  Besides they original chrome pulls with in immaculate condition - all they needed was a little polish.

And for good measure (since FLFs are after all quickly becoming the standard for home decorators) I asked my newest plantchild Figadora the Fiddle Leaf Fig to pose with mommy's newest flip.

So now we wait for the experiment's results: will the piece appeal to a lot of potential buyers with a variety of styles?  Will it only attract another style mutt like myself?  Or will it sit in the garage shop until I try something new?  I'll have to keep you posted.  In the meantime, how would you characterize your style?  How does this gray-blue piece strike you - yay or nay?

Muted Teal Campaign Chest
58"L x 16"D x 30"H
Now Available for Sale

A Sweet Buffet with Boho Edge

Well how about that snow, Northeast peeps?! God is just a magnificent Creator, isn't He. The kids will probably be out of school until March so if you've got any favorite indoor activities to share, send them forward! :)

Right before the holidays this past Fall I came home with a piece that wasn't really my particular cup of tea. And it definitely wasn't what I was looking for. What I really had a hankering for was to refinish a credenza or a china cabinet, like this, or this. But everyone's got an Achilles heel of some sort and mine happens to be long and low pieces that are less than $100. These days that's a hard find to come by. But my budget is important and something I do my best not to bend too much because my intention is to produce beautiful, affordable furniture for those looking to fill their homes on a slim budget. With prices on used pieces rising significantly, I've realized I need to bend my expectations of what I'll find in my price range, rather than my price range. And if I'm going to take on pieces that aren't my style wheel house, well then I just need to work extra hard to bring them up to speed!

What really bothered me about this piece originally was this decorative ivy. I mean, why?? I just didn't understand why it was there or how it added anything to this piece that already seemed to have a lot going on, (fancy legs, chunky hardware, freckled wood). My first step was going to be sanding it down and getting the surface smooth and ready for paint. But then something strange happened.

Not only did I not even try to hide the ivy, I went to painstaking measures to carve it out during 3 sittings in freezing cold temperatures in my garage shop! Maybe it was brain freeze, but I suddenly wanted to see the ivy carved through white paint, accented with aged brass hardware.

I think it was the desire for a challenge that lead me to maintain the original look of this piece but in a really cool bohemian chic way. And I knew that to pull this plan off it would come down to the styling. Because a white piece of furniture with carved ivy and brass pulls is still just a white piece of furniture with carved ivy and brass pulls. Are you with me?

I styled the sweet thing two different ways; one more clean and edited, and one care free and over the top. Here's a looksie!


I used my favorite earthy palette of rich browns and rust tones to bring out the sophistication of the piece. The hardware was a critical choice and I went through three different options before deciding on this set. I wanted the aged brass to stand out and the rich colors styled with the piece here do that well, I think.

A chunky woven tray from Target containing clay potted plants and wooden candle sticks still speaks that laid back boho language, but with subtle formality. Like with a British accent.

I didn't over-distress this piece as I've been doing more recently, but rather focused on the edges and corners to highlight the unique details and shape of the piece. Still, I love a well worn surface so I took a little extra off the top just for fun. I really should read Jane Eyre. I use it for styling enough.

Since pieces like this are sought out for their versatility I didn't do anything to alter the interior! The storage makes this a fantastic piece to be used as a dresser or dining room buffet, while the center compartments also add the option to place shelves where the drawers are and use the piece as a media center!

The second way I styled this piece was really for me. Hah! If I ever have a dining room buffet, whether in our current house or a future one, I'd use it just like this: An in-home greenhouse.

Man, watering would be SO much easier if I kept all these guys together regularly!

The carved ivy just fits right in with the real ivy cascading out of the drawer. :)

This piece was a really wonderful learning experience for me in taking something I wouldn't normally refinish and putting my style into it. It's a more feminine and sweet piece than I'm normally into, but feminine with a dash of daring is just smashing.

I absolutely adore this ivy. Who would ever consider covering it up?? ;)

Piece now available
73.5"L x 30.5"H x 18"D

Thank you all so much for coming by!