finally finished: my blue willow inspired dining room

A few years ago, I inherited from my grandmother a collection of blue and white plates, some of which my grandfather had sent home from WWII to his mother. I have loved and treasured them in a cabinet for several years, but knew that the next time we owned a home, I wanted to decorate a room around displaying them. Well, we finally bought a house last summer, and all these months later, I’ve finally (mostly) finished our front/dining room.


It’s a weird space, because it’s the first room you enter after walking in the front door, and there’s a strange freestanding closet that awkwardly sits in the middle of the room, I’m guessing because there used to be more walls that were removed, but the closet had to stay for structural reasons. I think the weird closet contributed to this house being on the market as long as it was, because it was hard to picture how furniture would go and how the room would be used. For us, it’s more of our formal living area, because there’s a big den in the back of the house where we have our giant sectional and TV and all of the girls’ toys.





I made pillow covers (using this tutorial) in various blue and white prints to tie the plate wall into the sitting area, and I have plans to reupholster our couch and to recover the dining room chairs. I’m thinking solid colors for those, so let me know if you have ideas. The round table was a Christmas gift from my mother, who gave us her dining table after she heard me say I wanted a round table that expanded– this one has four leaves and can seat 12 with them all in place!


Another recent project, designed by me and executed entirely by my husband, was the remake of a thrift store end table.


The real showstopper of the room, though, is the plate wall.


In case you’d like to do a plate wall yourself, here are my plate wall tips: After asking some friends who had hung some plates, I settled on the metal spring plate hangers. I rolled out some extra wide wrapping paper on the floor and laid out the plates on top of it. Then, my husband and I traced around the plates, photographed the arrangement, removed the plates, and hung the paper on the wall. From there, we nailed hooks into the paper, and then ripped it down, leaving the hooks behind. I then referred to my photos to hang the plates on the hooks.




I love the way it turned out, and keep finding myself wandering into the dining room just to stare at the wall. It feels like something that belongs in the home of someone way cooler than we are.

the bufflogals’ new room

We’ve been in our new place a few months now, and it’s finally getting into a state where I’d be willing to show you guys what it looks like. I figured I’d start with the cutest room: Etta’s and Claire’s.

Here’s the before:

The walls and ceilings of every single room in the new house were beige. We had all of them painted!

And here’s the after:


If you’ve seen the girls’ room in our old house, there’s not a lot different in terms of actual stuff, but with light purple walls, the whole space feels so much lighter and more fun than the dark blue floral wallpaper in our old rental.


Here you see a prime example of my half-assed gallery wall methods. Some blogs will give you a tutorial for measuring and laying out a mathematically perfect gallery wall. I am not that girl. I just sort of eyeballed it. I think it turned out OK. The Vonnegut quote canvas is up a little high, but it has to be to keep little hands from grabbing at it when changing babies on the changing table.
My husband built the toy shelf, and the changing table was a dresser found by the curb in our neighborhood.


I made this origami lampshade, and it’s one of my favorite things in the room.

maybe the move isn’t quite a breakup

Image: Surgeons at work, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from salimfadhley’s photostream

I know I wrote before about how our upcoming move, back home after three years in another city we unexpectedly fell in love with, felt like a breakup. I was wrong.

It’s more like an amputation.

Apparently, without us realizing it, Charleston attached itself to our hearts. What started out with us scared and lonely ended up with us having made a home here. Our first home, or at least our first house to call our own.  Our big three years out on our own, us against this big bad medical residency, against loneliness, against fear, against sleep deprivation, thousands of miles from everyone we knew and loved. We grew here, and our hearts grew big enough to hold an entire city.  Now, that city must be amputated, as if it were a tumor that had grown in our hearts, rather than a miracle.

It’s painful. Continue reading “maybe the move isn’t quite a breakup”

buy our house!

Just putting this out there on the interwebs in case anyone knows anyone looking for an adorable house in Charleston, SC. Our 1948 2 bed/1 bath bungalow is just around the corner from one of the best restaurants in Charleston (the Glass Onion), is very close to a brand new Harris Teeter grocery store, is 4 miles from MUSC (where my husband bikes to work each day) and down town (where I work, a quick CARTA bus trip away), and is 15 minutes from Folly Beach.  We have loved this house and put a lot of work into it, and hope the next owners love it as much as we have.

living room
fireplace in living room
front window in living room.
"Formal" dining room. (Yes, we have a foosball table instead of a dining room table)
Eat-in kitchen with tons of storage.
New stainless ceramic-top stove, new pressed-tin backsplash.
New stainless fridge.
New stainless dishwasher.
Eating area in kitchen.
Bedroom #1.
Bedroom #1.
Bedroom #2.
Laundry/mud room.
Laundry/mud room.
Laundry/mud room.

Back of house.