H. Camille Smith

"Trends come and go but good design is timeless."

Camille is a managing editor for HGTV.com, fine artist and antique furniture devotee. As a former interior designer and Nickelodeon animator, she has a real passion for balanced, beautiful interiors with a touch of whimsy and punch of color. Camille shares a mid-century cottage with two exceptionally pampered pooches and rooms filled with vintage finds.

H. Camille Smith ON PINTEREST

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POSTS BY H. Camille Smith

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After an extensive selection process involving 100+ submissions from talented designers across the US and weeks of online voting where HGTV fans cast hundreds of thousands of votes, we have a winner. Drumroll, please.  Everyone join us in congratulating Caitlin McCarthy, the winner of our Fresh Faces of Design competition!

Caitlin’s genius small-space solutions and approachable high-meets-low design style wowed HGTV fans who voted her design tops in the small space category, then won over the judges who crowned her the winner overall. Here are a few photos of Caitlin’s award-winning downtown Los Angeles loft plus the judges’ POV on why she swept the competition:

Becky LaFranchi, Communications and Interior Design Manager for Ikea USA, had this to say: “When designing a small space, every detail is important, each decision impacts another, and the ability to edit is key.” Caitlin pulls together a beautifully balanced, collected-over-time look that tells a story but is well edited and doesn’t feel cluttered:  grouping on side table
Jillian St. Charles, Vice President of HGTV.com adds, You don’t see many luxe-looking galley kitchens. This very functional space combines materials and judicious use of color in a way that’s really engaging.”small-space-urban-kitchen
Brian Patrick Flynn, Interior Designer and Founder of FlynnsideOut Productions was impressed with Caitlin’s mastery of scale and the way she incorporated the loft’s century-old architectural elements, like the exposed brick and original hexagonal tile floor:
Caitlin McCarthy urban loft seating area
All the judges could agree that Caitlin’s design is approachable and deftly combines bargain finds with glamorous touches, like these Thomas O’Brien Hicks pendants that illuminate the hallway-turned-dining room: Hicks pendants
Off the dining room is the loft’s main bedroom. Doorless white walls give the loft a cohesive feel that helps the small spaces flow one into the next:
small urban bedroom
The jewelbox of a bedroom conceals a real gem: a boutique-worthy glass-doored closet:
illuminated closet in urban apartment
But that isn’t the loft’s only surprise — what looks like a built-in in the living room is actually…
apartment living room
a Murphy bed that cleverly tucks away when not in use. Genius!
murphy bed hidden in built-in cabinet
Judge Becky LaFranchi summed up this petite pied a terre best, “Caitlin’s design proves that small-space living can be both stylish and comfortable. It also feels very individualized, and not at all cookie-cutter, like you might expect a tiny space to be.” Brava, Caitlin, congrats on your win!

But Caitlin isn’t our only winner, HGTV fans chose the designers listed below as a stand-out in their category. Need a little design inspiration? Be sure to check ‘em out!

Best Outdoor Space: Mike Albert, Design Workshop, Inc.
Most Serene Retreat: Angela Rasmussen, House 2 Home Design & Build
Best Use of Color: Bria Hammel, Bria Hammel Interiors
Most Family-Friendly Space: Jordan Iverson, Iverson Signature Homes
Best Space for a Party: Katie Marvin, S&K Interiors
Best Kitchen: Katy Lyons, Jamestown Designer Kitchens
Most Dramatic Transformation: Lauren Levant Bland, Lauren Levant Interior
Most Unusual Space: Angela Rasmussen, House 2 Home Design & Build
Best Use of Pattern/Texture: Sadie Sanchez Johnson, Amanda Austin Interiors
Best Small Space: Caitlin McCarthy, Caitlin & Caitlin

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Let’s do this AA style: “Hello, my name is Camille and I’m addicted to buying old boxes.” (Well, and jewelry too but that’s another matter). Old boxes are a great decorative way to stash unattractive, everyday stuff in plain sight. For instance, I have a little cane-covered box filled with crafting essentials in my living room so if the crafting bug strikes while I’m watching TV, a project is within easy reach.

I particularly love old boxes with drawers so I couldn’t pass up this cutlery box (AKA silverware chest) at an estate sale recently for just 9 bucks. The box’s blond or maple finish was popular in the 50s and 60s so it’s safe to assume that it’s more than 50 years old. Personally, I’m not a big fan of mid-century blond finishes and this one was in particularly rough shape with lots of scratches, dings and a big water stain on the lid so refinishing it with a more traditional, darker stain was definitely on the menu. If the felt liner had been in better shape, I might have considered leaving it as-is but the fabric was dirty, picked and even worn through in places so I decided to re-line the box as well.

Here’s what I started with, it truly is massive, easily double the size of most dresser-top jewelry boxes:  Cutlery Box Before
And here is my new upcycled jewelry box, fully refinished and re-lined:
Silverware Chest That Has Been Turned Into a Jewelry Box
Read On To Learn How I Did It

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If you’ve been following along on my antiquing adventures then you know 2 things about me:
1) That I spend a fair amount of time at estate sales.
2) That I’m all about a serious bargain.

Enter this perfectly distressed, cane-backed French Provincial headboard that I recently found in an Oak Ridge, TN garage for… wait for it… just 10 bucks! I couldn’t believe the estate sellers had priced it SO low — especially considering how hot French antiques are right now. I vaulted over a pile of old lumber, pulled off the price tag and hot-footed it straight to the check-out table to pay before anyone else could lay claim.

Once I placed it in my guest room, I remembered one small detail about older headboards — they’re short. Often much, much shorter than modern headboards. So short, in fact, that the pillows dwarf my new French beauty:French Provincial Headboard Before Learn my designer trick for making this headboard much taller

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Antiquing is one of my favorite pasttimes but I especially love it in the spring when the sunny, warm weather encourages southerners within a few hours drive of east Tennessee to clean out their basements, barns and attics and set up shop in the tiny hamlet of Clinton, TN. Hundreds of antique dealers and just ordinary folks fill booths lining the streets for a day-long antiques fest where you can find everything from rusty old chicken feeders to antique French linens:
spring 2014 clinch river antiques festival

As you might imagine, an antiques show in the south will include a fair amount of primitive and country collectibles, like these wooden cheese boxes. Also known as pantry boxes, these round wooden containers were the Tupperware of their day. Filled with dry food items and stacked in a cool location, they protected goods from vermin and were a necessary fixture in every home to keep food fresh before refrigeration.  tower of antique cheese or pantry boxes

Another kitchen staple of yesteryear are butter molds. These plunger-and-cup style molds first gained popularity in 18th century Europe before catching on in America as well. The handcarved designs allowed homemakers and dairy farmers to imprint the molded butter with their farm’s logo, the family’s initials or just a decorative design.antique butter molds

But primitives weren’t the only pieces for sale. The rising popularity of mid-century Modern furniture guarantees them pride of place in many of the dealers’ booths and shops. This chartreuse yellow vinyl corner chair is one of a pair and had already sold by the time I discovered them:mid-century modern corner chair at Clinton TN antiques festival

Industrial items are another trendy collectible that I’ve noticed popping up at more antique shows. These two stage lamps were a steal at just $225 for the tall aluminum one and $89 for the smaller wooden one. industrial style stage lighting More Antiques That Caught My Eye

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If you saw Liz’s decorating trends post you know that she and I recently spent several (blissful!) days taking in all that’s new and notable in furniture, accessories, lighting, fabrics and more in High Point, NC at the world’s largest furniture industry trade show — or as I like to refer to it: Disney for Designers.

While I certainly enjoy checking out the trendiest fabrics and finishes, the highlight of each Market visit for me is spending a few hours strolling thru the Market’s Antique & Design Center. Here, 60+ premiere antique dealers showcase centuries-old European rarities, architectural salvage, mid-century pieces and funky vintage finds.

Antiques have always been a go-to for interior designers but with each passing Market, the collected-over-time look is being realistically reproduced by more and more manufacturers. Although most of the items I point out below are available to-the-trade-only, meaning you have to go through an interior designer or dealer to buy them (sorry!), they’re just a few of the trending antique styles that caught my eye. So, the good news is, if you love antiques, like I do, they’re super hot in the design world right now — whatever type of vintage items you prefer, display them proudly!

Vive la France: French-inspired antiques have been the design world’s darling for quite a while and they’re not ready to raise the white flag yet. I spied all the Louis (13-16) plus several Empire and Rococo gems at Market. Below is a reproduction Louis 16 (or XVI, if you prefer, AKA the same Louis who lost his head alongside Marie Antoinette) gilt settee from Eloquence. They’ve done a fantastic job replicating the handcarved details, even subtly distressing the gilt finish so this new piece looks as if it might have been found at Versailles:
antique french furniture from Eloquence

Aged to Perfection: Weathered finishes are also nothing new and I spied plenty of legitimately timeworn finishes, like the salvaged wooden pediment on the left at Design Legacy alongside new pieces, like the bistro chairs and zinc-topped table at Dovetail, that have been distressed to look like they’ve spent decades outdoors:
antiqued furniture at high point market

3 More Antique Trends to Watch

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Wow, that was some kind of crazy winter, right?! For those of you still suffering through the winter that just won’t die — my humblest apologies — but for those of us in warmer climes: Yay, spring’s here! And, for me, the arrival of spring means it’s time to head outside, scissors in hand, to find any early bloomers that I can bring inside to brighten things up.

First to flower in my backyard is hellebore  (a.k.a. lenten rose). Their heavy, droopy blooms on short stems are best displayed in a vase with a small opening. Here, I have them in what looks like an expensive Wedgwood vase but it’s actually an old Avon bottle that I found at an estate sale for the irresistible price of … wait for it … 10 cents!: Spring Hellebores in an Old Blue Vase

Joining the hellebore in their winter-banishing crusade are tiny, delicate crocus placed in an antique salt shaker:
Spring Flowers on a Bedroom Nightstand

The cardinals that have reigned unchallenged in my backyard this winter have been joined by a variety of other birds, including robins. I love the idea of using bird’s nests as a spring decoration but would never want to deprive some poor bird of their handmade home so I simply DIY-ed my own bird’s nest complete with tiny robin’s eggs. You can make one too while watching your favorite show. Get crafting with my step-by-step instructions>> How to Make a DIY Bird's Nest for Spring

You can make your nest any size you like — even big enough to act as an Easter basket: Handmade Bird's Nest as an Easter Basket

This is also the perfect time of year to force a branch to bloom indoors. Good candidates for this include fothergilla, witch hazel, Bradford pear, cherry, quince, redbud, lilac and my favorite: forsythia. Here’s what the forsythia branches in my backyard looked like when I cut them; the buds were just beginning to swell: Forsythia Branches Just Breaking Into Bud

And here they are just 1 week later, adding a happy shot of color to my living room:Cut Forced Forsythia as a Spring Arrangement

 Are you as ready for warmer weather as I am? How will you spring-up your rooms?

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You know how you can live with something and think it’s great for years then one day you look at it and decide that it has to go — stat?! Well, that was me and the shower curtain in my guest bath. When I originally bought the Waverly “Norfolk Rose” shower curtain in 2007, I was going for a cozy cottage look and it fit the bill perfectly. Fast forward to 2014 and — while my taste is still traditional — my color preference has shifted to grays and blues and I like my patterns a little more graphic. Thus, the hunt for a new shower curtain commenced.

Here’s a peek of my guest bathroom before:
Cottage-Style Bathroom Before Makeover
See how I updated for less than $25

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Wooden bowls may be all the rage now but as a girl who grew up in the South with a world-class biscuit maker for a Mama, dough bowls — as we refer to them – are just part of the kitchen landscape. My mom has several, all family hand-me-downs and all round, not the oblong, trencher-style that you find when searching the term, “dough bowl” online.

To be honest, the only biscuits I’ve personally made came out of a can — but — I couldn’t pass up buying this bowl when my mom and I found it at a thrift store for just $1. The wood was stained, scratched and missing all of its original finish but for just a buck, I couldn’t really complain:unfinished wood bowl before

My initial idea was to refinish the bowl as I would any other old, wooden item by first sanding the wood then coating it with oil-based stain and polyurethane but, after a bit of research, I decided to restore the bowl the same way chefs keep their cutting boards looking new – and voila, much bettter, don’t you think?Refinished Wood Bowl Filled With Citrus

3 Steps to a New Bowl

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With less than a week left till Christmas, I’m betting that you —  like me – are spending a fair amount of time wrapping gifts. Which, to be honest, I don’t mind. Wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things about the holidays; I like to come up with new ways to package them each year.

Here are a few of my gift wrap ideas from 2012 with links to instructions below:
Wrapped Holiday Gift Ideas
* Left and bottom right: Easy doily gift wrap plus how to make a yarn pom-pom
and upper right: Menswear-inspired ribbon rose plus how to make a chalkboard gift tag

This year, I decided to shake things up a bit and use fabric trim instead of traditional ribbon for smaller gifts: Fabric Trim Instead of Ribbon as Christmas Gift Wrap

And cover reusible containers, like this mailing tube, in fabric for pretty packages that can be reused by the recipient as year-round decorative storage:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap*The fabric is HGTV Home’s “Ring Around Peacock” in turquoise – available at your local JoAnn store.

Here’s another view, I just added a wired bow to one of the mailing tube’s plastic caps to finish off the wrap:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap

Ready to make your own no-sew fabric gift wrap? It’s easy and your friends and family will thank you for the cute container they can use again and again. Get crafting with all my tips and complete step-by-step instructions>>

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Okay, first, I should come clean and confess that while I love all things crafty, sewing has never been my forte. My mom is a whiz and has tried to instruct me in the ways of the force many times (I even took Home Ec in high school and made an almost wearable drawstring-waist skirt) but all the math and measuring — ugh — too hard!

But, recently our friends at HGTV Home offered up their on-trend fabric from JoAnn if we wanted to do some holiday crafts and, of course, we jumped at the chance even though some of us, like me, are decidedly sewing challenged. 

So, now I had yards of beautiful fabric and no way to magic it into a viable project. Enter fusible web, which is seriously one of the greatest inventions of all time. All you need is a hot iron to permanently join 2 pieces of fabric — no sewing machine required. It’s fabric magic which helps you create easy ornaments as cute as this:

No-Sew Fabric Christmas Ornament as a Gift Topper *This fabric is HGTV Home’s “Ring Around Peacock” in turquoise — available at your local JoAnn store.

I’m in full-on handmade-gift-fabrication mode right now so I decided to use my ornaments as colorful gift toppers. The recipients can then hang them on their trees:Handmade Fabric Ornament on White Christmas Tree *This fabric is HGTV Home’s “Jigsaw” in turquoise — available at your local JoAnn store.

 Or use them to top another gift:No-Sew Fabric Christmas Ornament as a Gift Topper*This fabric is HGTV Home’s “Turtle Shell” in turquoise — available at your local JoAnn store.

Ready to make your own no-sew fabric ornaments? Our free printable templates make it a snap. Get crafting with all my tips and complete step-by-step instructions>>

Fabric Ornaments and Printable Templates

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When I heard that a rustic-meets-elegant table setting was part of the plan for our holiday party, the first project that popped into my mind was DIY mercury glass votives. I love the timeworn look of the mirrored finish and have been wanting to try out a little trick I know for recreating it with just 2 materials: looking glass spray paint and a spray bottle filled with water. Yep, that’s it, this project is as simple as that – just 2 materials and 2 steps you repeat a few times till you’re happy with the mirrored finish.

But the finished votives don’t look super simple — their subtle mercury glass interiors lend an elegant sparkle to our holiday table:Easy to Make Mercury Glass Votives

Ready to make your own? Get crafting with all my tips and complete step-by-step instructions>>

We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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So, as you’ve probably heard by now, we’re throwing a holiday party — and not just any holiday party — a crafty holiday party where we’ll make the decorations, drinks and nibbles then show you guys how we pulled it off.

Our event space has a massive stone fireplace flanked by shelves so I decided to finally tackle a project I’d been planning for a while and cover a few of my coffee table books in leather. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m *all* about antiques and naturally wanted my leather books to look like they’d been around for a few decades so I originally planned on covering them in leather from an old bomber jacket. After unsuccessfully scouring thrift stores for the perfect piece of vintage leather, I decided to just purchase new leather then age it myself using the same tricks I use for distressing furniture.

And, voila, they turned out great — and the process was actually easier than I thought it would be. So easy, in fact, that I may have to make a few of these expensive-looking antique tomes to hand out as handmade holiday gifts: Leather-Wrapped Books

Want to make your own antique look-alike leather books to add a timeworn touch to your home or as a cool handmade gift? Get crafting with all my tips and complete step-by-step instructions>>


We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s
Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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If you saw my previous post, you know that outfitting my sister’s beach house with accessories with lots of coastal charm for small $$ was a must. Searching estate sales, flea markets and yard sales for beachy accessories that fit our budget wasn’t exactly easy — but it sure was fun! Here are a few more of  our favorite thrifty finds:

Any Avon fans out there — recognize the green glass fish? Yep, that’s right, it’s actually an old Avon bottle which once held foaming bath oil. The bubble bath is long gone but the little jadeite koi’s charm remains — and for just $1 at a TN flea market? Wrap it up; I’ll take it! Beach House Bathroom Vanity Sink Area

Birdhouses are great — and not just for sheltering birds. We put this one, shaped like a lighthouse, to work as a bookend in our closet-turned-built-in bookcase. Like our other beachy bric-a-brac, this birdhouse has a storied past. My mom bought it at a prison. Yep, a prison — the Maine State Prison in Thomaston. Unique in the nation, the prisoners here are taught real-world skills in upholstery, woodworking and garment making. The money raised by this ingenious program goes toward reimbursing the state for the prisoner’s room and board as well as paying victims’ restitution and prisoners’ child support. Although you can’t shop their store online, you can check out the prisoners’ handiwork and if you’re ever in Maine, drop by.Tight Shot of a Beach House Bookcase

I love zoological prints. They’ve been trending for quite a while … and, as with anything trendy, they can be expensive. Luckily, it’s the internet to the rescue — several sites offer printable scans of public domain prints for free — yes, FREE! Vintage Printable and Graphics Fairy are two of my faves. Just print the images onto a high-quality paper (aka not standard printer paper), add a mat, then pop them into a frame. Beach House Bathroom Framed Vintage Print

Getting crafty with items we already have is another way we save money while filling the beach house with accessories we love. My sister and I bought this wood-framed mirror at an estate sale thinking it would be a good fit for the hall bath. Unfortunately, it was too small. Then my 18-year-old nephew scored this great boat cleat for only 50 cents which inspired us to cover the mirror’s frame in rope then “tie it off” to the cleat. Want to make your own? Get my step-by-step instructions.Beach House Rope-Covered Mirror

MORE BEACH HOUSE MAKEOVERS:
Budget Beach Cottage: Nautical Knick-Knacks
Budget Beach Cottage: Bedside Table Before and After
Budget Beach Cottage: Make a Nautical Rope Mirror
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Built-In Bookcase
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Kitchen
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Living Room
Adventures in Antiquing: Easy Beachy Candle Update

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Halloween may still be months away but that doesn’t mean I can’t tempt you with a few of the devilishly delicious treats we’re cooking up now. Our entertaining pros are busy whipping up both sweet and savory party snacks your Halloween guests won’t be able to resist!

Here’s a small sampling; I’ll share the actual recipes when we get closer to All Hallows Eve. In the meantime, check out our Halloween feature for more spooky inspiration: HGTV.com's Halloween Party Recipes

MORE HALLOWEEN IDEAS:
Halloween Sneak Peek: Outdoor Decorating Ideas
Halloween Sneak Peek: Kids’ Costumes
4 Halloween Crafts to Make Now
Halloween Cut-Outs: Spook Up Your Yard
Crafty Indoor Halloween Decorations
Free! Halloween Printables
Home Survival Skills: Prepare Your Home for Halloween
How to Make a Fall Felt Leaf Wreath

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Halloween may officially be more than 3 months away but here at the HGTV offices (or in my cube, at least) the countdown to All Hallows Eve has begun. Our talented designers have been hard at work coming up with fresh ideas for all things Halloween — from party food and games to kids’ costumes, pumpkins and, of course, spooktacular indoor and outdoor decorations.

I know that Halloween die-hards like to get a head start on outdoor decorations, in particular, so I thought I’d share a sneak peek of a few of the projects we’re currently working on. No links yet, but be on the lookout for our new Halloween feature in early September:  Outdoor Halloween Decorating Ideas

MORE HALLOWEEN IDEAS:
Halloween Sneak Peek: Kids’ Costumes
4 Halloween Crafts to Make Now
Halloween Cut-Outs: Spook Up Your Yard
Crafty Indoor Halloween Decorations
Free! Halloween Printables
Home Survival Skills: Prepare Your Home for Halloween
How to Make a Fall Felt Leaf Wreath

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Once we’d tackled the painting and major carpentry projects (here and here) at my sister’s beach cottage, it was time to start decorating – my favorite part! As is true in any home, it’s the accessories that bring a look together and give your rooms personality — and — it will come as a shock to no one who’s read my Adventures in Antiquing posts that my favorite place to shop for accessories is at estate sales, flea markets and garage sales. Not only are the prices (WAY!) cheaper but I find the coolest stuff plus bits and pieces that I can upcycle into something new. And when you’re starting from scratch to fill a 3 bed/2 bath beach house — inexpensive and cool are your best friends.

Exhibit A: This sculptural, vintage whiskey decanter. Made as a promotional item in 1972 by Jim Beam to commemorate Key West’s 150th anniversary, the decanter’s colorful, kitschy subject and hand-painted details lured me over while the $10 price tag sealed the deal and earned it pride of place on the corner of the beach house’s bar. The fish on top actually lifts off to reveal the bottle’s opening. The decanter is empty but the rich smell of 40-year-old bourbon remains.  Beach House Bar Area

How cute is this little alarm clock?! Not very practical, but then who wants to be woken up when you’re on vacation anyway? My sister picked up this little cutie at an estate sale for just $4. Paired with a few shells we found (for free!) and a $2 ginger jar lamp that I covered in rope, this table has the coastal cottage look down pat.  Beach Cottage Bedside Table

I am absolutely in love with this ship’s model — my first and best Craigslist find (just $5!!). The ship’s prow was a bit battered (the previous owner’s son liked to “sail” the ship into the wall) and a few bits were missing but luckily the seller had kept them so my dad was able to make it ship-shape again. Surrounding the ship are zoological fish illustrations I printed (for free!) from this site then just popped into dark-stained frames.  Beach House Living Room With Ship Model, Candles and Shells

And when I can’t find exactly what I want – I make it. Yard/estate sales are a great place to buy candles. Sometimes they’re in pristine condition, sometimes, not so much. For candles that are dented, scratched or just plain ugly — cover them up. Learn more about this under $10 project and get my instructions here.Beach House Twine-Wrapped Candles

It’s taken 3 years of DIYing over family vacations but the beach house is slowly coming together. What do you think of our improvements?

MORE BEACH HOUSE MAKEOVERS:
Budget Beach Cottage: Bedside Table Before and After
Budget Beach Cottage: Make a Nautical Rope Mirror
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Built-In Bookcase
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Kitchen
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Living Room
Adventures in Antiquing: Easy Beachy Candle Update

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Even as the rest of the country is gearing up for July 4th celebrations, we’re hard at work on original recipes, crafts and decorating ideas for the fall and winter holidays. To be honest, we’re pretty much always working on holiday content around here but early summer is when the pace really picks up.

I don’t want to give away too many surprises but thought you’d like a sample of the (many!) Halloween treats we have in store. From mommy-and-me costumes (seriously, how cute is the milk and cookie!) to budget-friendly costumes you can make out of felt and a hoodie (like a rampaging dinosaur) to professional-quality Halloween makeup tricks — we’ve got you covered.

Here’s a sneak peek of the costume-y goodness headed your way and be on the lookout for our new Halloween feature in early September! HGTV Halloween Costume Sneak Peek

MORE HALLOWEEN IDEAS:
4 Halloween Crafts to Make Now
Halloween Cut-Outs: Spook Up Your Yard
Crafty Indoor Halloween Decorations
Free! Halloween Printables
Home Survival Skills: Prepare Your Home for Halloween
How to Make a Fall Felt Leaf Wreath

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If you’re a pet parent, like me, you know that you can never have enough storage. Leashes, food, treats, grooming supplies and most importantly — toys — take up a lot of space. My older pup, Madeline, long ago lost interest in stuffed animals but my 3-year-old Schnoodle, Sophie, believes a girl can never have too much stuff.

Initially, I spent big money in pet stores on adorable, interactive toys she would toss up in the air a few times then happily destroy. After several months of this, I stumbled across a big box of 25-cent stuffed animals at a yard sale and haven’t paid retail since. After a thorough cleaning in the washer (hot water with a few drops of bleach) and extended tumble in the dryer, Sophie’s second-hand victims (um…toys) are good as new.

To store her stash, I bought a large wicker trunk, painted it black, added a bronze crest I found (where else) at an estate sale, slid it under a table in the living room and used it to keep Sophie’s toys within easy reach. For years the trunk worked fine but this spring my ability to find bargain toys exceeded Sophie’s ability to destroy them. Luckily, I already had a thrifted basket on-hand that, with a little makeover, would be perfect for containing the overflow: 
Dog-Toy-Storage-Basket-Makeover-Before

The basket was too tall to slide under the side table so removing the handle was the first step and I wanted to give it an antique look (I envisioned an old fishing creel) so it would better blend in. Here’s how I did it:
Dog-Toy-Storage-Basket-Makeover-Step-by-StepSteps: 1-cut ties holding handle in place  2-remove handle  3-thoroughly coat basket with spray stain (I used 2 coats) 4-choose an embellishment, I decided to repurpose an old belt  5-cut off excess leather at the top and bottom  6-attach belt to top of basket using super glue then clamp in place  7-flip basket over and glue a thin piece of wood to the bottom (I just snapped the end off a wood shim)  8-secure belt to wood with thumbtacks or nailhead trim  9-add felt pads to the basket’s bottom to protect your floor

And, voila, my once-plain basket now looks like it belongs in a house filled with antiques:
Dog-Toy-Storage-Basket-Makeover-Before-and-After

Best of all: the easy-to-access toy basket gets the Sophie Seal of Approval. Buh-bye little buffalo, looks like the bell has tolled for thee:
Sophie With a New Stuffed Dog Toy

MORE ADVENTURES IN ANTIQUING:
Adventures in Antiquing: Clinch River Spring Antiques Fair
Adventures in Antiquing: Charleston Antiques Show Part 1
Adventures in Antiquing: Charleston Antiques Show Part 2
Adventures in Antiquing: (Easy!) Beachy Candle Makeover
Adventures in Antiquing: Repurposed Wooden Tray
Adventures in Antiquing: Crushing On Carrara Marble
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Toolbox Turned Magazine Caddy
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Clock Repurposed as a Frame
Adventures in Antiquing: Classical Busts
Adventures in Antiquing: Vintage Avon Bottle
Adventures in Antiquing: Salvaged Molding As Holiday Decor

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When it comes to making over a beach house on the cheap, my family doesn’t just get our hands dirty knocking down kitchen walls and turning a tiny closet into a beachy bookcase, we’re also all-in when it comes to filling the beach house with one-of-a-kind furnishings.

My 18-year-old nephew scored this solid cherry bedside table for a song at an estate sale last fall. It was quite literally falling apart so he used his charisma and law-school-bound negotiating skills to get the seller to throw it in (for free!) with the rest of our haul. After my dad replaced missing bits and stabilized it, this once shabby little nightstand was ready for a chic makeover:
Beachy Rustic Nightstand Before and After

My sister and I decided to paint it black but re-stain the top to match an antique chest-on-chest on the bedroom’s opposite wall. Even though the finish was pretty scuffed up, more sanding was necessary to provide “tooth” for the paint while an orbital sander made short work of completely stripping the top so it could be stained. Because I planned to distress the paint to highlight details and allow the cherry wood to show thru, one coat of black paint was all I needed:
Sanding and Painting Rustic Nightstand

Once the paint had fully dried, I used sand paper to give the table a time-worn, distressed look. The key to distressing is to concentrate sanding on areas that would have naturally seen the most wear, like any raised details, corners and along edges. Next, I brushed the top with an oil-based stain, then used a cotton rag to wipe the same stain over the remainder of the nightstand. The stain soaked into the distressed areas to create a more realistic time-worn look.
Sanding and Staining Rustic Nightstand

For less than $20 in materials, this little table (that was once destined for the trash) provides handy bedside storage and adds just the right cottage touch to the master bedroom. Finished Cottage-Style Nightstand*Three years later, the beach house is still a work in progress; keep checking back for more thrifty transformations.

MORE BEACH HOUSE MAKEOVERS:
Budget Beach Cottage: Make a Nautical Rope Mirror
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Built-In Bookcase
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Kitchen
Budget Beach Cottage Before and After: Living Room
Adventures in Antiquing: Easy Beachy Candle Update

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Father’s Day is this Sunday — are you armed with a gift for dad? No? Well then, we’ve got you covered — from his favorite recipes (hot beer cheese and homemade pretzels — yum!) to fun, free printables and handmade gift ideas like this easier-than-it-looks dresser-top leather valet; whip up a surprise for your dad just in time for Father’s Day celebrations.

Handmade Men's Leather Valet for Father's DayReady to make your own? Get the complete step-by-step instructions>>

Not only is this monogrammed leather valet easy to craft, you probably have most of the materials on hand like an old frame, some batting or foam and a spare bit of leather – this is a great project for upcycling a past-its-prime jacket or purse. The steps are simple, just disassemble the frame then use the backing as a template to cut out a small piece of leather and batting. Place the leather, suede side up, on top of the batting and secure it in the frame with strong tape.Step by Step images for making a leather dresser-top valet for Father's Day

I used an old trick from college printmaking classes to create removable registration marks on painter’s tape that would help me find the tray’s center before placing the adhesive stencils (these things are awesome, btw, you can find them with the glass-etching supplies at your local craft store). Fill in the stencils with a permanent marker and voila — a handy catch-all for dad to keep his keys, change, watch and anything else he needs to grab on his way out the door.Using a Sharpie to Monogram Leather

Crafting this handy DIY gift for dad is easy — but be sure to check out my complete step-by-step instructions for a materials list and lots of helpful tips first>>

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  • As seen on HGTV's "Property Brothers At Home"