...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Handy Hubby, the kiddos, and myself all headed down to Cincinnati on Saturday to check out an outlet that Handy Hubby discovered last year and has been wanting me see in person ever since. After his first visit to Building Value, Handy Hubby went on and on about the unique housing materials he’d found {but didn’t purchase}.  He thought I’d have fun imagining ways to repurpose all the salvaged inventory.  He knows me so well!  I had a blast.

Building Value’s inventory comes from manufacturer donations, local deconstruction projects, and generous remodelers.  They specialize in salvaging reusable materials for sale to the public in an effort to help the environment, reduce the cost of disposal, and give architectural gems a second life.  100% of the proceeds go to the Easter Seals Work Resource Center benefiting people with disabilities.  It’s a win-win situation.  I found several items that could possibly make an appearance in our next, downsized, home.  {Most of the homes we’ve looked at so far are foreclosures, short sales, or estate sales in need of some TLC.}  Wanna see the stuff that caught my design-lovin’ eye?

First up and right inside the front door was this rain barrel.  I’ve been wanting to collect rain water for some time now.  If we weren’t in the middle of purging in anticipation of a move, I’d have grabbed this bad boy and tried to talk ’em down in price.  If I’m lucky, maybe he’ll still be there after we settle into our next home.

There was a huge selection of  interior and exterior doors…mostly old, some new.  And, like the sign says, they were unique.  A few had to have once lived in mansions because they were at least 12 feet tall – and gorgeous!

I found this glass panel door that I wouldn’t mind having as a front door some day.  It was marked at $50.

I absolutely fell in love with this chunky, square pedestal sink.  I even liked the fixtures.  And then I found its perfect bathroom soul mate…

…this vintage clawfoot tub.  I’d paint the outside a contrasting color {like black or charcoal} then hang a simple curtain around it from an industrial, oval shower rod.  To. Die. For.  I’m secretly hoping our next home needs a total bathroom overhaul.

One section of the outlet was devoted entirely to salvaged architectural elements:  columns, molding, trim, banisters, railings, spindles, corbels…you name it.  I was particularly smitten with these primitive fireplace mantels.  One of these installed on a long, blank wall would instantly scream “FOCAL POINT!”  I’d add a mirror where the firebox normally goes and call it a day. Okay, now secretly hoping that our next home has a blank canvas of a wall in desperate need of a faux fireplace.

And wouldn’t this arched window make a grand first impression installed above a front door? Although, I’m pretty sure it’d be too grand for whatever home we downsize to.  I’d love to have seen this window in its original home.  Maybe it wasn’t even over a door at all.  Maybe it was a third story attic window.  Wherever it used to live, this window has a great shape and could be a one-of-a-kind detail.

I’ve already professed my love for school on H*T before, so it should come as no surprise that I adored the selection of pull down/roll up school maps.  There were even retractable mounting kits available.  I thought the Ohio state map would look great in one of my kids’ future bedroom.

The outlet’s stock overflowed outside where more doors, tubs, lumber, windows, and various other building materials were stashed.  I was drawn to the pallets of bricks and pavers.  DIY patio, anyone?

I knew browsing through ‘house stuff’ {as my boys call it} wasn’t exactly my kids’ idea of a good time, but I was pleasantly surprised when Layne started picking out items he thought were pretty cool.  Like the orange dentist’s chair.  We spent a good 10 minutes at that chair letting the boys take turns ahhhing.  Funny how our dentist has a room devoted strictly to children with painted jungle wall murals, stuffed animals, and a flat screen TV to make the kids feel more comfortable.  I think my kids would be perfectly fine as long as this old orange chair was in the room!

My boys also had fun playing with Building Value’s mascot, Betty.  She was hard at work on her computer when the boys distracted her with a piece of twine.  It was a good ‘black cat crossing your path’ experience.

After all that, we ended up with 2 for sale signs that cost us $6…after a little friendly haggling.  Hey, we gotta sell this house before we can even begin to buy for the next.  I put them out at two busy intersections close to our home to draw in more traffic hopefully.  {So far, we’ve had tons of interest, decent traffic, and even one offer which, unfortunately, fell through.}

So, that’s a very small snippet of what Building Value has to offer.  Of course, this is just an edited selection of my finds.  They also sell tile, lighting, toilets, vanities, kitchen sinks, some antique furniture and probably a lot more that I missed.  Oh, and if you agree to put a Building Value bumper sticker on your bumper, you get 10% off your purchase.  We declined this time…just so we can accept that offer some day when we come back to purchase bigger ticket items.  Because we do plan on going back.  If you’re in the Cincy area and like to reuse or upcycle stuff for your house, you should definitely check this place out.  It’s not in the nicest of neighborhoods {although we found the people we encountered there to be very friendly}, so it’s a true diamond in the rough.  And just to keep things balanced, we hit up IKEA on the way home which we left empty-handed.  Nothing like mixing old with new – even if it’s just window shopping!

This family outing got Handy Hubby and I really inspired to bring more upcycled pieces into our next house.  This outing is pretty indicative of our design philosophy, too.  We like budget-friendly materials and decor found from all sorts of places.  Old and new is a mix that never goes out of style.

What about you?  Do you have a local diamond in the rough store to share?  Know of any other housing material outlets near Cincy/Dayton that would get my wheels turning?

images:  all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

I am so happy to share a design e-book that Lauren and Courtney over at Kelly + Olive included me in today!

The e-book, Ideas You Should Steal, features “17 fun projects submitted by top home, craft, and lifestyle bloggers from all over the web.”  {Those are their words, not mine.}  Not only does it benefit anyone looking for a quick and easy design project, but it also benefits the non-profit organization Dwell with Dignity.  Dwell with Dignity is a group of interior designers and volunteers who work to create soothing, inspiring homes for those struggling with homelessness and poverty. Their goal is to expose less fortunate families to nurturing home environments with the hope of helping them maintain a standard of living they can be proud of and thrive in.  So when K+O contacted me a while back about participating in this project, I didn’t have to think twice about contributing.  Who doesn’t want to see everyone live in a home that is inspirational and conducive family life?

Without giving too much away, the e-book features several well-known design bloggers along with step-by-step guidelines for the project they contributed.  I was completely shocked to see my headshot included alongside such savvy bloggers and designers!  It’s an honor to be included in the mix.  If you wanna see it all for yourself, then follow this link on over to K+O and make a small donation {$1 is the suggested amount} to receive your own download of the e-book. It just might make a difference in two lives – yours and a Dwell with Dignity beneficiary!

Oh, and if you’ve never heard of K+O, now’s your chance.  Kelly + Olive is the name of the design biz/blog that two Chicago gals run.  Ironically enough, their names aren’t Kelly and Olive at all but Lauren and Courtney.  And they’re pretty rad.  They offer professional advice on choosing a color scheme, furniture, accessories and styling techniques for interiors…online or in real life if you’re lucky enough to live near the windy city.

With all the chaos going on internationally over the past several weeks, I’ve been reminded of my gratefulness for our safe and healthy home.  Many people, including children, aren’t so lucky.  I’ll admit to getting caught up in decorating, painting, DIYing and just plain homemaking…but there are moments in time like this that make me appreciate all that I have and have done…it’s very humbling. Maybe design won’t save the world, but caring people like Lauren and Courtney can make it a better place to live.  100% of the proceeds of this e-book go directly to Dwell with Dignity. Thank you Lauren and Courtney for such a great opportunity!

Here’s to an inspiring, humbling, healthy and safe weekend.  Give your significant other, kid, baby, pet, parent or friend an extra hug.

images:  all linked within

03.23.11 / Near & Far

Do any of you remember the Sesame Street skits with Grover painstakingly demonstrating the difference between ‘near’ and ‘far’?  I kind of feel like that’s what I might be doing here today.  So, if you wanna laugh, feel free.

If you haven’t heard by now {How couldn’t you?  I mention it daily.  Are you tired of it yet?}, we’re downsizing and trying our hand at selling our current home by owner.  As in, we’re not listing it with a realtor at this time, although we’re open to paying a buyer’s realtor commission.  A few things we’ve done to market our home is to pay for an MLS#, list on fsbo.com, and DIY a listing brochure. Each of these marketing strategies pack more punch when pictures are included.  So, I devoted an entire day a few weeks ago to taking pictures of our home to be included with all the listing info.

Some of you have asked for advice and info on selling your home…whether by owner or with a realtor.  And while I feel that offering up go-to advice would be premature at this point {our home hasn’t sold yet but we did sell our very first home by owner}, I would like to mention that taking pictures of interiors for selling purposes isn’t exactly the same as taking pictures for designing purposes.  Let me give you an example.

Here are a few vignette images of our bedroom that would be suitable for H*T.

And here are the ‘home for sale’ bedroom images.

In the listing images, I was more concerned with showing the size and layout of the room as opposed to the things in the room.  You can see that the room offers two large windows that let in lots of natural light, plenty of space for a sleeping area along with a sitting area, a vaulted ceiling and an on suite bathroom.  Those are the things I’m trying to sell, so that’s what I capitalized on in the images.

Now do you get the title of this post?

Is it overly apparent that I took that ‘Grover’ picture of myself after being outside *makeup-less* on a verrrry windy day and used a stack of cookbooks as my makeshift tripod?  {Notice how I’m explaining with my hands.}  Ok, good.  Because that’s soooo what I wasn’t going for.

Somebody buy my house before I make a fool out of myself.

Oh, wait.

images:  1) slightly altered image from MGTOW {which I do not read…just used their image}  2-6) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking