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Dear TEOT: Affordable Bedroom Curtains

We recently got a note from a reader, Courtney, who is seeking affordable curtains for her and her boyfriend’s bedroom.

Courtney already has woven shades on the window and her boyfriend is complaining that the shades filter the light but don’t block enough and a lot of morning sun is still pouring through. Her budget is ideally less than $60.00. The bed in the room is dressed with this quilt and furniture similar to this. After I sent her some suggestions she wrote back,

I like them all!! Thanks for sending this over. I think the first and third are my favorite, just to break it up a bit. My boyfriend was a little worried about the light coming through (he is basically wanting Vegas blackout curtains). While I know these options will not provide that, I think it should still help a little. What do you think?

Thanks again for sending these!

Here’s my advice to Courtney and her boyfriend-

If the curtains aren’t lined it will provide minimal light blockage coupled with the woven shade. Hotel curtains are blackout curtains and you have to specifically buy that. If curtains/drapes are dark in color and are lined then that will probably get you as close as you can get to blackout without buying blackout.

I have ivory, lined linen curtains from Pottery Barn in my bedroom and no shade and they probably provide maybe a little more light blockage than what you are getting out of the woven shade by itself.

I don’t think Courtney wants to go up in price so I kept them pretty affordable, even on sale the PB drapes are roughly $100 a panel. But I did a little more looking and found these,

Affordable Curtains

1 Crate & Barrel Kendal Yellow Curtain/ 2 Assembly Home MOA Double Arrow Curtain/ 3 Overstock Cream Pinstripe Linen Curtain/ 4 West Elm Steel Cotton Canvas/ 5 West Elm Painterly Jacquard Curtain/ 6 West Elm Ikat Ogee Linen Curtain/ 7 Crate & Barrel Lila Curtains/ 8 Crate & Barrel Pippa Persimmon Curtain



Dear TEOT: Stone at Bungalow 404

Melissa writes,

Hi! We are in the process of renovating our 1927 home…it looks AMAZINGLY SIMILAR to your “bungalow 404” we were so surprised to find you. Had one question…how did you do the stone work over the brick work on the front of the exterior or what would you call that stone work? It looks great! We’d like to do something similar to cover up some cracks in the concrete porch colums. Thanks!

Hi Melissa,

Great question and I’m glad to help.

For a quick review, Bungalow 404 was the last house I lived in. It was a complete remodel of a 1920s bungalow.

The stone that was applied to the original brick columns at Bungalow 404 is a faux stone with a river rock appearance. We have a few different stone suppliers in our area but I usually go to John Deere Landscapes, you can use this locator to see if there is a branch in your area.

They had a few different manufacturers to choose from which were basically at three different price levels and they had sample boards for all three levels. I checked out a sample board and went back to Bungalow 404 to make a decision. I decided on Eldorado Stone, River Rock in Saginaw. Roughly I think just the stone for four columns cost me $1700.

El Dorado river rock saginaw stone

Because its faux, you really don’t need a stone mason or someone experienced with hardscaping but my carpenter happens to have experience setting stone. BUT, you should only do what makes you feel comfortable so if you’re not an experienced remodeler or do not have a long standing relationship with a carpenter or a remodeler you might feel better about hiring an experienced stone worker.

Here’s the installation process in summary,

The columns were first pressure washed and then allowed to dry  completely. Then a layer of wire mesh was installed on the brick. A layer of mortar was applied with a trowel on top of the wire mesh. The stone was applied and then more mortar was piped in between the stones with a plastic bag much like decorative cake icing.

El Dorado’s website offers some helpful tools like a step by step installation guide and a stone calculator so that you can figure out how much you need to purchase.


bungalow 404 before



Closer view of one of the columns

El Dorado river rock saginaw stone

Melissa, I hope this helps. Best of luck in remodeling your bungalow!


Dear TEOT: Hunting Treasure in Southern Pines

A fellow shop owner on Etsy, Jennifer from Virginia Haskins & Company recently wrote,

I love your blog and just remembered, after looking at your silver bowl, that you are from Southern Pines/Pinehurst. My husband and I visit every year in February (and sometimes in between). He, of course, plays golf, and I shop and wander around enjoying the beautiful homes. I always visit the shops in Southern Pines, but would love to learn about any off-the-beaten path places I should check out. It is one of my favorite places!


I think I have a few suggestions.

Southern Pines

  • Page Furniture 130 East Illinois Ave., a consignment store that has been occupying this space for quite some time with fine vintage, antique and new furniture
  • The Sandhills Coalition Resale shops (4 different thrift stores) 1117 West Pennsylvania Ave.

Venture a little farther south down US Highway 1 to my old neighborhood– downtown Aberdeen,

  • Plan B Furniture 122 Garrett St., new furniture straight from High Point at discounted prices, mostly Vanguard which makes furniture for Anthropologie and Annie Selke. My mom bought the Astrid chair there for half the retail price.

astrid chair anthropologie

  • 111 Main a unique store carrying both new and antique home furnishings, custom upholstery and fine gifts. Just stepping in to the old hardware building is a treat.
  • Renee’s Fabrics & Accessories (next door to 111 Main) affordable and designer fabric selections, lighting and an extensive shade selection, throw pillows and accessories.  Renee’s made my long Schumacher pillow.
  • Railside Antiques, 123 Exchange St. if you fancy some architectural salvage, they have everything from pedestal sinks to beautiful antiques

Schumacher Chenonceau pillow

  • The Garden Room (next to Renee’s), unique garden and home accessories including Guy Wolff pots…love!
  • Habitat for Humanity Store 2268 NC Hwy 5

Moving on to some outlying areas where the potential for treasure increases exponentially,

  • Adam’s Thrift Shop 250 North Walnut St. Pinebluff, NC, **my favorite** lots of furniture begging for a redo, vintage and junk treasures galore. Disclaimer-hope you don’t mind cigarette smoke, the owner and some patrons still smoke inside.
  • The Peddler (next door to Adams) more vintage and junk treasures, be prepared to dig!
  • There is one more shop just a block south of the Peddler and Adams, I don’t recall the name but they are all close together


  • Karen’s Attic US Hwy 1 North Southern Pines, NC, antiques and vintage at fair prices, here are some of the things I’ve seen at Karen’s in the past,

Chinoiserie chandelier



  • West End antique corner 5336 NC Hwy 211 West End, NC, an intersection of three different antique shops, get your fill in one trip. Includes Medleyanna’s, Pasttimes and The Olde Boarding House.

Hope this helps Jennifer, if you hit all of these places you should go home with a good haul. Thanks for your email!


Dear TEOT: Deck Ideas

By Posted on 0

One of our readers Alicia writes,

Not sure if you remember me. I commented a while back about redoing a 1928 Dutch Colonial. I’m getting ready to redo our backyard. We’re doing a porch down to a patio, and I really like the look of what you did at the Indiana House. Do you happen to have a bunch of inspiration pictures kicking around that you could send me? I would be forever grateful. My contractor keeps wanting to give me a super over done deal with terraces and stone and Trex. Thanks so much!

Hi Alicia,

Revamping your outdoor space just in time to enjoy it!

When I set out to add the deck at the Indiana Project I looked at the way decks terrace down and I looked at different railing styles and considered the look that would best accomodate the style of the house. Now I’m no landscape architect but I think Indiana turned out pretty great and I’ve also added decks on to other houses and was pleased with those.

I’m glad you’ve decided to collect a portfolio of images to share with your contractor. This helps to communicate expectations and your desire for what you want your space to become.

I think I’ve got some images stored away that will help. Here are a few but you can see a whole lot more by viewing the Exterior set on TEOT’s flickr page.

deck steps Sunset


Cottage Living NOLA Idea House back porch

Cottage Living

Such an amazing back porch, this was from a Cottage Living Idea House in New Orleans, I think this house was actually a manufactured home! I am 100% in favor of covered porches, I don’t have one now and I wish I did. Before ultimately staining the deck at Indiana, I considered leaving the stair treads natural and painting the toe kicks and railing white like the image above. Also notice the underpinning of the porch it is lap siding, this can be constructed out of a composite material like Trex.


marsh house plan covered porch

Speaking of covered porches, I like this concept where it is partially covered.

deck plan

deck Sunset


deck plan2

Railing with character or a bit of flair is important, one of the crowning touches.  A good carpenter can construct any style of railing you might want and building supply and millwork companies sell a host of different railing caps. Trex also makes railing.

Sixx Summer  Novogratz

 Novogratz country home


deck plan3

I’ve always valued Sunset and Cottage Living’s garden features. If you don’t find what you’re looking for on TEOT’s flickr page I would recommend searching one of those two sites. Cottage Living’s images are housed at My Home Ideas.


Dear TEOT: Doing Things Differently

By Posted on 0

An email from Vincent,

I can tell a lot of thought was put into the Indiana Project house. Everything from keeping the color scheme flowing to installing the recessed can lights in the perfect spots. I could go on, lol. One question though…If this was your house what paint colors would you keep or not, and what rooms would you use more bold colors in?

Dear Vincent,

Thank you for your compliments about the Indiana Project, its a great feeling to put something out there and receive positive feedback!

If the Indiana house was my own I would’ve made a lot of different choices and not just in the color department. But you’ve asked about color and I’m happy to oblige.

The first change that comes to mind is the half bath. I like the idea of half bath that is either bold in color or bold in pattern. Here is the half bath from the Indiana house painted Benjamin Moore’s Winter Lake,

Indian Project by Beaver Path l CONTACT

While Winter Lake is a lovely color, I probably would’ve gone darker maybe something with a little more gray in it.

Amanda Nesbit bath

Amanda Nisbet

Or maybe a graphic wallpaper with or without wainscoting,

rita konig powder room

Rita Konig

Wallpapered bath Emily Walker's home

Canadian House & Home

meg braff bath

Meg Braff

or maybe a different color all together, this looks like one of those great eggplant/brown colors that seems to change throughout the day

Dark small bath

Canadian House & Home

The bedrooms would be another change. Bedrooms are pretty personal but at the Indiana house we didn’t know who would live there so I went with a neutral white with a hint of beige called Soft Chamois (Benjamin Moore). Boring if you ask me but I had to remain neutral. I personally like a lot of wispy grays and a hint of blue so that’s what the master would’ve been. A second bedroom for my little DC (almost 3 yrs old) probably would’ve been painted a light aqua color and the last bedroom for guests would’ve been guided by fabric and bedding choices.

The walk through closet at the Indiana house was also Soft Chamois but if it were my closet I probably would’ve painted it something more fun. The closet in the master bedroom at Bungalow 404 was Benjamin Moore’s Mink which is a dark chocolate brown. A charcoal gray would also be a fabulous choice for a walk in I think or it could be a place to try out some great wallpaper too.

sexinthecity Carrie's closet

Carrie’s closet on Sex in the City

And this might be a surprise considering I lamented over it so much but I wouldn’t have painted the front door yellow. I would’ve installed a much more expensive door and had it stained for a more timeless look.

Designer Doors entry door

Designer Doors

I could go on Vincent but I’m going to end it here. Congratulations to you and your wife on the purchase of your house. There are lots of opportunities to customize your new space.

Paint and new light fixtures are going to go a long way in your new place! I think we are probably in agreement that the floral wallpaper has gotta go in the powder room! Have you got any suggestions for Vincent?

the estate of things chooses estately

the estate of things chooses estately

the estate of things chooses estately

the estate of things chooses estately


Dear TEOT: Sofa or Sectional?

A TEOT reader Faith recently emailed with this question,

Sarah- I just wondered HOW you decide if your living room deserves a couch,loveseat set, or a sectional. I am VERY torn. I NEED to buy my living room furniture, since mine is OVER 10 years old ( my husband and I got the couch, loveseat set when we were 1st married.) I like the idea of a sectional, since my whole family can all be cuddled up on it, watching a movie, but I just can find anything I like.

Hi Faith,

I think what is initially going to guide your choice is space. Can the room accomodate a sectional without swallowing all of the useable space in the room? Next you need to consider what piece of furniture suits your lifestyle best. Do you have lots of parties where people might not want to sit shoulder to shoulder, do you have children, pets etc. Budget is also obviously going to be a huge factor.

It sounds like you’re looking for something new but you might always consider reupholstering your current sofa depending on what kind of shape it is in. If your sofa is salvageable you could sell the loveseat and put the money you make toward a chair and an ottoman.

It’s always fun to troll Craigslist and thrift stores for a sofa waiting for a new life. Or going to an online store to get a new sofa, click here more info.

But if you’re absolutely set on buying something new here are a few suggestions,

I liked the shape of this sofa and the loose cushions on the back. It would easily suit varied interior styles.

pottery barn arlington sofa

Arlington, Pottery Barn

The sofas offered at Restoration Hardware contain the right ingredients that will make a lasting piece of furniture both in style and durability. RH is touting a kiln dried hardwood frame and a choice of down filled cushions.

Restoration Hardware Englished rolled arm sofa

English rolled arm sofa

cielo sectional CB2

Cielo sectional, CB2

selby sofa room and board

Selby, Room & Board

And hey while we’re talking about the Selby collection, I like the armchair (how about this one Kylie?)

selby chair room and board

Selby chair

holden sofa room and board

Holden sofa with chaise, Room & Board

There are so many beautiful sofa designs at Lee Industries its difficult to choose. Search for a location near you that can order Lee.

lee industries sofa

Lee Industries

I’ve had a Karlstad loveseat for about a year now in the natural linen color. There was a recent incident with DC that involved the deposit of bodily fluids and my german shepherd had also gotten up on the loveseat and left some small dark stains. The cushion cover was zipped off, went to the dry cleaners and $4 later it can back good as new.

karlstad sectional linen IKEA

Karlstad sectional, IKEA

I hope this helps you begin the selection process. Good luck and let me know what you decide! Thank you for your email.

If you’ve got questions, send us an email using the Contact Teot link at the top or the typewriter link on the right side.