It’s autumn in NYC, which in my humble opinion, is the BEST season. Everyone is back to business, working hard, looking mucho sexy in their jackets, hair blowing in the wind, fire-colroed tress aplenty.
I’m going on 7 (!!!!!) years in Brooklyn and still happy as a clam and lucky to be here. I made a middle-of-the-year resolution to be more outgoing and take advantage of what this city has to offer to balance out the fact that I work too much.I’ve been actively knocking items off my NYC bucket list and that list includes a trip to the Catskills to see the autumn leaves (I’ll post pics of that in a few days), and carving a pumpkin for the stoop.
I’ve never carved a pumpkin before. I don’t recall if it ever came up during my childhood, but my mom is a super practical lady, and somehow I have a hard time imagining her going out of her way to buy a $15 in-edible vegetable just to cut holes in it and toss it in the trash. But now I’m a freelancer! All I do in my spare time is come up with impractical/expensive arts and crafts projects! Ok, this one wasn’t THAT expensive. Aaron bought me a super attractive pumpkin for $10 at the fancy market by our house. The carving kit was $6 from Michaels. Time commitment: approx 4 hours.
My pumpkin carving kit came with this nifty wheel that you can use to poke through paper and easily transfer your designs onto the pumpkin using the little holes as guidelines. I used 3 little serrated knives and a drill to make all my holes and shapes.
Looks way better in the dark.
I am obsessed with HGTV. I could literally watch it all day. It’s a good thing I don’t have a TV anymore, because if I did, I would not be blogging, I would be watching HGTV. I love it more than Breaking Bad. I love it more than the first season of CSI. I love it more than animal documentaries. I don’t watch Orange is the New Black, but if I did, I’m sure I’d flip the channel in a heartbeat if I knew Design on a Dime was on.
Don’t judge my lifestyle.
Sometime in April, I received a call that basically fulfilled one of my life-long dreams. My dear friend Sue was producing an HGTV show about home makeovers using only furniture from yard sales and flea markets and she wanted to know if I was interested. I asked myself, “Jen, do you really want to spend the entire summer in a warehouse sorting through filthy used furniture, drowning in fabric swatches, and inhaling noxious paint fumes?” Uh…YEAH!
The show is new, the brainchild of Good Morning America co-host Lara Spencer. She is a design aficionado and a yard sale-ing guru. Her passion for furniture hunting is unwavering and unsurpassed. She wakes up at 3:45am for Good Morning America, hosts Flea Market Flip, writes books, decorates homes, has 2 kids, 3 dogs, and still manages to go to yard sales ALL THE TIME. She even wrote a book about it.
Back in April, we found the perfect workshop to base our operations. It was large enough to house the set of both Flea Market Flip and I Brake for Yard Sales. There was a paint booth, a loading dock, plenty of storage, and proximity to excellent pizza. Only problem was that it looked like this:
Since Lara is ridiculously busy with her 5 jobs, I came on board to help spruce up the place. I couldn’t have done it without my main squeeze, Aaron Montgomery who happens to be a designer/builder of awesome furniture.
He built the metal table, shelves, and desk from scratch. All of the furniture turned out mucho sexy, and I hope to have everything in this office replicated in my future warehouse/design studio. It’s gonna be glorious. Everything black and grey and greige and white and wood because I’m allergic to color.
You know who’s NOT allergic to color? Lara Spencer. Even though we had functional, industrial furniture that fit the warehouse environment, we wanted the room to feel chic, fun, and bright, which would reflect Lara’s style. (She designed the room above.)
We brought in piles of fabric books, antique frames, design magazines, added a sprinkle of Jonathan Adler accessories and voila! A preppy/industrial design office was born. The crazy orange credenza was a team effort. It’s actually made of 3 IKEA kitchen wall cabinets and we added chunky wall moulding around each door. I used brass doorknockers as handles.
The top of the desk is actually an IKEA kitchen countertop. I’ve always liked the taupe color of this laminate top and the faux wood edge is modern and interesting. It never seemed like a material that I would want in a kitchen, but I think it works perfectly as a work surface. The slab came exactly that length and it happened to fit perfectly against that wall. Destiny? I think so. Also, can we take a moment to admire the white lacquered chairs? SWOON. I got these at Build it Green (which is basically a donation-based junk yard) for $15 each!!! They didn’t have seats at the time, but who cares! Nothing that a little plywood, foam, and fabric couldn’t fix.
Alex built the Greek key screen which is actually covering a massive gaggle of electrical cords and a giant circuit breaker.
It just so happens that the annual Jonathan Adler warehouse sale was the week of our warehouse makeover. Christine and I waited for 90 minutes in the pouring rain to snag this golden turtle dove.
Millions of thanks to Christine L., David D., Jay A., and James D. for helping pull the studio together in record time. Lara, thanks for including me on your furniture-saving adventure. Can’t wait to do it again!
And Sue, you are my hero!
We designed and decorated 8 rooms, so more blog posts to come….
Watch I Brake for Yard Sales Friday evenings at 9pm on HGTV.