...because home doesn't happen overnight.
02.09.12 / Recent Purchases

When furnishing a home, I prefer to gather items over time from different sources and let my style evolve naturally. Sure, I could easily drive out to some furniture store and buy everything in one go around {okay, maybe not while I’m on bed rest} but that would only produce a flat room. For example…

Obviously, that room is sourced from one store. The pillows match each other which match the couch which matches the loveseat which matches the rug which matches the art. And the finishes all match too – the coffee table matches the sides tables which match the lamp bases which match the artwork frames. There is little variance in material and texture. This is a prime example of a ‘room to go.’

I’m after a ‘room to grow.’ After all, half of the fun is the hunt!

But I’ve got to start somewhere, so today I’m sharing some of my most recent purchases for the Underdog. What items am I looking for first? Glad you asked. I’ve mainly been searching for lighting, window coverings and rugs. Here’s what I’ve acquired so far.

feb recent purchases1 – Linen + Cotton Narrow Frame Window Panel I’ve been pining over these airy linen panels for some time so when West Elm put them on sale with free shipping I took it as a sign. I bought two of the 108″ panels to place high and wide above either side of the big picture window in the family room.

With light paint on the walls, my thought was to add contrasting curtains but nothing too dark or heavy. These gray linen panels fit the bill to a T and I wasn’t able to find anything I liked better. I love the thin frame of ivory around the edges.

2 – FOTO Pendant Lamp I found this simple aluminum pendant at IKEA for the dining room.

I was looking for a light with an industrial aesthetic since the dining room will double as a mudroom and triple as a laundry room. Plus, the light will be visible from the family room so I didn’t want to add something too far fetched from what’s going on in the great room. At $30, I was sold.

3 – GODMORGON/ODENSVIK Sink Cabinet Combo I alluded to this floating IKEA vanity a few weeks ago. It will go in the master bathroom.

I wanted a floating vanity and Handy Hubby wanted something with storage so this 2-drawer unit is the perfect compromise. The master bathroom vanity will be seen from our bed, so I was looking for something with clean lines that didn’t exactly scream ‘bathroom!’ but maybe more like ‘dressing room.’ I ended up going with the ODENSVIK sink rather than the TÄLLEVIKEN sink once I saw them in person at the store. I like the sleeker profile of the ODENSVIK {no step-up at the back of the sink} and the fact that it has a little more countertop room for a soap dish, vase, etc.

4 – KULLA Pendant Lamp I found this ceiling light at IKEA when I bought the bathroom vanity and sink. I hadn’t planned on buying a light that particular day but happened to spot this light on sale at a deep discount {it was less than $20!}. Word has it the white version of this light is being discontinued, so that’s why the link only goes to the black version. This beauty is already hanging in the nursery.

Our electrician installed it right at the ceiling {for less of a pendant effect since we don’t want to be bumping our heads on it} on a dimmer and the glow it puts off is divine. Our electrician said he couldn’t believe I got it for less than $20. Score!

5 – Round Majestic Wool Rug You may recognize this rug from my Houzz Ideabook. I caved and bought it on Overstock.com {my fave place to buy rugs} when the price dropped from over $70 to less than $60 with free shipping. It’s going in the nursery. I wanted a soft surface for baby to have tummy time and playtime and also for my older boys to sit on if they choose to play in the nursery while I’m tending to the baby. I like the round shape since the room is nearly a perfect square and the gender-neutral pattern should work well for a girl or boy.

6 – Marble/Gray Sisal Rug Another rug purchase from Overstock.com. At 9′ x 12′, it’s large enough to ground the seating area in the family room portion of the great room – which is exactly what I plan to use it for.

I was shopping for a large rug made of either sisal or seagrass. Those natural materials add such a great textural layer to any room and hold up well to kids and pets. {We had rugs of each in our previous home and loved them.} The gray cotton border will further delineate the family room from the kitchen in our open great room. And with a latex backing, I don’t have to worry about using a separate rug pad to keep it in place. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…rugs are soooo important in open floor plans!

7 – Tabouret Metal Counter Stools Yet another Overstock.com buy! {Did you know that regular customers receive frequent 7% off coupons in the mail? Yep, you bet I used mine to purchase all of my Overstock items and save some cash.} These utilitarian stools are for the 9′ long kitchen island. I bought 4 of them for less than $150. Whaaaaaat?!

I was looking for backless stools to avoid cutting up the flow and sight lines of the great room. The stools will be practical for casual dining at the island and also for extra seating when we entertain. Since the stools are backless, guests can easily turn to face the family room crowd and join in on conversations there without having to turn their stools or break their necks. The metal finish should hold up great to our family circus.

8 – Carved-Circles Window Panel I’ve been stalking these subtly patterned curtains for months. I knew they’d work well in the nursery. Again, they were part of the West Elm window sale {sadly it looks as if they’re sold out!} so with 20% off and free shipping I took it as a sign. I bought three of the 96″ panels: one for either side of the single window in the nursery and one for the nursery closet. {The closet door opens up right behind the bedroom door, so I’m forgoing a closet door all together.} Notice the pattern in the curtains doesn’t match the pattern in the nursery rug {see #5} but complements it.

9 – KRÄMARE Wall Spotlight I bought two of these IKEA plug-in wall sconces for the boys’ shared bedroom.

I plan to use them above the boys’ beds as reading lights. {They LOVE books!} I haven’t decided if the aluminum finish will stay or if I’ll paint it – maybe oil rubbed bronze?? – but at less than $10 a light I figure I can tweak them to my liking. I like the fact that they aren’t hardwired as well because they’ll get moved around. At first the boys’ beds will be on the floor, then at some point HH plans on DIYing built-in bunk beds in that shallow nook you see above. But until Everett settles down a bit {realistically, that could be when he’s 30+} and we trust him in a room with a ladder {I’m cringing just thinking of that now – the kid had a broken leg at 16 months!} we’ll need to keep the lights over the beds on the floor. Later, I can move the sconces to suit the bunk beds.

So, there you go. A little rundown of my recent purchases. That’s 9 items from 3 different sources. If you look at the items all together you might notice repeating elements…the color gray, industrial finishes, subtle pattern, clean lines. I want each room to have its own quirks but still flow with the rest of the house so repeating certain elements is necessary. However, I do plan on adding in other materials, patterns and pops of color to keep things interesting.

But that’s all in good time…which I have a lot of right now. I saw my OB today and the good news is that there’s no change in my cervix {ahhh! Never thought I’d be talking about my cervix on H*T!} since Monday. The bad {or not-so-good} news is that I have to keep doing what I’m doing – NOTHING!! – for at least two more weeks. Anything to keep baby cooking.

Thanks for all your support and non-laborious thoughts!

images: 1) Rooms To Go  2) Polyvore collage linked within by Dana Miller…all the rest) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Love your style, can you come to my house and tell me how to start from scratch! LOL
Glad you and baby are well! Enjoy the downtime :)


Everything looks great! Have you ever used Ikea light fixtures before? They have so many great styles, but since they’re so cheap, I’ve been leary about the quality. And I’ve read mixed reviews online. I’m loving that floating vanity, too – and bookmarking it for our future (still hunting for!) home.


I like your toilet paper holder :)


I have been meaning to comment to tell you that I love the front door! Will you be keeping it? Painting it? I’d love to know more about your plans there :)


I really like all the products you purchased, especially the curtains. What kind of color scheme are you thinking of doing for the nursery?
Relax and continue to feel good!!


“I eluded to this floating IKEA vanity a few weeks ago.”

I think you mean “alluded.” ;)

As for Everett settling down, my brother–and my father, apparently–were crazy wild until they hit puberty. Now they’re the most mellow guys you’ll ever meet. So, there’s hope for your boy. :)


We just bought two FOTO lamps last weekend to hang over our dining table – love them!

I have to echo April – both my bothers were wild children. As in off the walls full of energy 24/7! With two of them it was crazy all the time! Now they’re both very mellow young adults. You’ll probably be able to bunk those beds right when one of them grows out of wanting to!

Love your style! Must be fun to at least shop if you have to lie around all day! Do you have a lot of budget left over from selling old furniture?


We have the same front door! Is that original to the house? Will you keep it? We like ours but are considering painting it


April – You’re right. I did mean ‘allude.’ I’ll fix that. Sorry!


Mike – I was wondering if anyone would notice our makeshift toilet paper holder! Once the vanity is installed, what will we do?! ;)


Just to let you know, I purchased two Kramare wall spotlights to hang above each of my boys beds in their shared bedroom. I was worried because I felt that they were so hot but ignored it…I started to smell something burning and sure enough, the pillowcase on my son’s bed was beginning to smolder! I had hung them too low (a mere 10 inches or so from the top of their bed frame) and had used a 40 watt bulb which is way too strong. So, just wanted to let you know, hang ’em high and use the reflector bulb Ikea recommends.

BTW – Watching the progress on the underdog is so much fun! I absolutely love your style! Great blog! Praying for a healthy delivery for you and baby, too.


I just love Ikea’s aluminum light fixtures. Can’t wait to see them all in the house!


I love that rug for the nursery!! All of the purchases are great…I cannot wait to see them in the house!


This is so inspirational! Thanks for sharing – wishing you well! PS. I’m painting my kitchen this weekend with Martha Stewart’s Flagstone!


For the nursery light, you might try a bulb that is coated on the top to reduce the light-circle over the shade on the ceiling if that bothers you… like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002ZBJ25G/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000NQ1RR6&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1PDDAPF40HH5JHBBE019 or http://www.bulbs.com/espec.aspx?ID=18083&RefId=44


Dana. I love your blog more every day. Part of the reason I find it so appealing is because how informative/educational I find your posts. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for the master bedroom. You are thoughtful and thrifty in your purchases/design choices and add this amazing touch of class to your style that truly unique. You are going to make an outstanding professional designer. I admire your courage and ability to listen to your heart.


Love your style. We have three children and I only have two bar stools. If your planning on using the bar for meals, you might consider getting another stool. My two year old already fights his sisters for the stools. Too bad mine are discontinued and I can’t order another one for him:)

I love your recent purchases. The Underdog is looking great and its going to be fabulous when its all said and done. I also agree with the motto that rooms should evolve. I dont like to buy things as a set, even my bedding. It just adds so much interest when a room is built over time.


Glad to know ur doing well with the lil bun in the oven. Your purchases are beautiful neutral pieces can wait to c them in action. The floors look amazing. Good luck.


Neat collection of purchases. I think it will all go together so nicely.

I like that you’re reserving the decision on the brick fireplace until later (i like painted bricks too, but once done, its done … so its good to wait). The vintage bricks and the cool MCM door are great homage to the era of the house when mixed with your fresh updates.


So glad you’re resting! Watching you finish the Underdog is so exciting. We just downsized recently when we moved our family of 7 from Indianapolis to Phoenix. Our new home has no traditional dining room (not sure why we ever needed one!), but a kitchen table and long island. I just bought 6 of those same stools from Overstock and they are great! Really sturdy, a wipeable finish (important with 5 kids), and easy to slid under the counter w/o taking up to much space for traffic flow. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


Megan – HH has already mentioned this…buying another single stool for kiddo #3 in the future. The stools are only sold in pairs though. We’ll have a little spot next to the built-in desk area in the kitchen for another stool to sit so I’m thinking of hunting for an antique one to go there that could be pulled up to the island when we need {when kiddo #3 is older} it. I’ll have a few years to find one!

Out of curiosity, I did look up how many people could sit at a 9′ island. Research said to allow for 24″ width for each person. If that’s the case, our 9′ island would comfortably seat 4.5 people. I think pulling up a spare stool to one end of the island would be fine for me…the fifth person. Oh, if only we had known about baby #3 when we planned the island!! Haha. We’ll figure something out. Thanks for the comment!


Lori – Thanks! I kind of like the light spilling out onto the ceiling but I’ll definitely keep this in mind!


Glad all is going well. And it must be so exciting to be able to start from fresh/scratch with the house. I envy you. And I’m loving that industrial look ….. x


Dana, I love your blog. Love these purchases, in particular the vanity. I’m thinking of using the same for my kids’ bathroom, which is really small (though I’ll have to travel to get to Ikea). Do you have any idea what you’ll do for the mirror? Will you go mirror cabinet for more storage? Thanks!


Hi Dana,
I’m sure you’re busy and perhaps not able to reply but if you have any thoughts about how the Godmorgon and Odensvik sink have worked out for you 18 months later, I’d love to hear. I love the look (and the cost) but I do wonder how it holds up in a bathroom over time….So happy to have discovered your blog. By the way, we painted the brick in our 1958 flat and it really brightened up the place a lot (on north side) but it’s good to wait and live with it before making the plunge, as you decided (as of 2012 anyway). all the best. nancy

[…] hiding in there. I installed Ikea Kramare lights next to each of their beds to use as booklamps. (Thanks Dana @ *HouseTweaking*). I also installed the Ikea Kvartal track system around the inside of the bottom bunk. I […]

[…] hiding in there. I installed Ikea Kramare lights next to each of their beds to use as booklamps. (Thanks Dana @ *HouseTweaking*). I also installed the Ikea Kvartal track system around the inside of the bottom bunk. I […]