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A Place To Paint

You may remember when we bid a tearful goodbye to our aquarium not too long ago. Ever since I’ve known Scott, he’s had a tank of varying sizes, which is why you can imagine my shock when he admitted he’d been having second thoughts. As much as we loved our fish, there was no avoiding the hours (and hours) the hubs spent each week to keep them healthy, clean, and happy. Heck, it was the show piece of our main living area, after all. And for memory’s sake:

After our Discus found a new home (thank you, Craig), we found ourselves with a bit of, um, space. The freestanding tank measured in at not quite 2 feet deep, 4 feet tall, and over 3 feet wide. Holy cow. That’s a whole lot of space we weren’t used to having. My usual self would jump at the chance to fill the empty void, but Scott and I decided to hold out and wait for something that felt just right. I resisted the urge to hop in the car and drive off to Ikea for a cheap thrill, so in the meantime, the bare bones space was a nesting spot for our DIY foot stool and extra floor pillows.

A few weeks ago, we found something. On accident. Initially, the hubs and I were perusing the aisles at Target for some patio lighting (oh, how we’ve fallen behind on our back porch duties!). We came home not with a string of lights, candles, or lanterns, rather, we stuffed the back of our trusty Corolla with a table. Found in a large, flat box – hidden amongt the dust bunnies and very obviously neglected – we trusted the tiny photo on one of the cardboard flaps, crossed our fingers, and excitedly allen wrenched our find in under 30 minutes.

It was (and is), in our minds, perfection. The smooth, black finish fit right in with our bold coffee and side tables, and the counter height stance plays off our kitchen bar. Not to mention you’d think the width and shallow depth were made especially for that wall. Our existing bar stools can be pulled up and used when we have four for dinner, as opposed to crunching around one side of the counter-prep-space-bar in a straight line (since the overhang only allows for leg room on one side). Of course, potlucks will be much more effiecient with the extra surface area, which means more dips, casseroles, and kabobs for all.

We even decided to keep the ol’ footstool in what we thought would be it’s temporary perch. We instantly fell for the way the sweet, mustard color in the Ikea fabric (more on that here) compliments our most recent thrifty find, Stanley. And we couldn’t be happier with our flanking gold-toned curtains and soft aqua walls against the sturdy, black table.

Pink peonies from our local farmer’s market pack a sweet punch, especially when set atop this fun, graphic runner from CB2 (the land of all that is simple, chic, and playful).

But perhaps you’re wondering about that post title up there? Until now, my pet paintings have been created while being hunched over the kitchen counter. While I can’t complain (the big, bare countertop is super spacious), I will say that my back has felt better days. Now, I simply pull the table away from the wall (and with no harm to the hardwood floor since we tacked rubber sliders on each leg), pull up a bar stool, and use the wall as my chair back and the stool as a place to prop my toes. A drop cloth covers the table top, and I’m set to go with my tackle box of paints, a bowl of clean water, assorted pet photos, and some fresh “canvas” wood panels. I’m in my zone, and it’s heavenly.

Who knew that Target would be our saving grace? Oh, who am I kidding. Target always wins. The price was right, the assembly was a snap, and this do-it-all table effortlessly transitioned into the Vargo abode. There’s been no dented corners, no scuffs on the surface, and no scratched up legs. For the deal of the century, I’d say we did good on all counts. So, who’s in for a dinner party? Maybe now we can whip out those wedding gift napkins, wine glasses, and dessert dishes in style.

But now we need to know. How many of you have picked up that perfect-for-you piece recently? Or maybe you’ve found a gem in the alley and made it your own? (You know how we love a good before and after). Let’s hear it.

  • Cath - July 9, 2010 - 8:51 AM

    Great spot for a console table – love it! And how great that you’re able to put it to good use. Multi-function is key in Chicago homes, don’t you think?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 9, 2010 - 11:59 AM

      Cath, you’re right. Every piece has to do double duty, or it’s out of the question in homes of this size!

      Danielle, the clock was a Christmas gift from the parents. It came from CB2. Unfortunately, they don’t sell it anymore, but they still have an equally cute collection: http://www.cb2.com/clocks/accessories/1ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - July 9, 2010 - 9:27 AM

    Perfect find! And yes, Target does always win. I have to ask though, where did you find that adorable clock?ReplyCancel

  • Danielle L. - July 9, 2010 - 12:06 PM

    what a great find! i love how you two utilize every inch of space in your home. a big help for small apartment dwellers like us. :) My gem? i was recently given this gorgeous Crate& Barrel buffet table. absolutely free! it’s small enough to fit in my tiny dining room &is great for hidden storage, an overall great pieceReplyCancel

  • Kalli - July 9, 2010 - 3:25 PM

    love that you’re taking the time to paint, Kim, you’re so good at it!

    It really helps to focus if you have a specific place carved out in the home to do art projects. I spend twice as much time in our office/studio than my own bedroom, so I want to work on making it prettier in here.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 9, 2010 - 4:09 PM

      Aw, thanks Kalli! And you’re right about separating art space from the rest of the home. I’ve found the handful of paintings I’ve already done at the new table make me feel more “official.” It’s my own little office (right in the middle of the big room, but still).ReplyCancel

  • Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog - July 10, 2010 - 5:40 PM

    Someone is a master at styling! I’m sorry the fish had to go, but I’m loving this new “office!!”ReplyCancel

  • Jacquelin Seybert - July 12, 2010 - 10:05 AM

    LOVE THIS! We also have a fish tank featured in our living room. I don’t think my hubby will ever give it up so instead of a buffet, we have a fish tank :)ReplyCancel

  • Kristina - November 20, 2010 - 8:33 PM

    Oh my goodness, your bench needs to meet my chair! http://myheartbehaves.com/2010/08/23/desk-chair

    I just ran across your blog today. Me loves! We’re new to Chicago, so it’s super fun finding other Chi-town bloggers.

    Cheers!
    Kristina w/ My Heart BehavesReplyCancel

  • Sara Grace - April 15, 2012 - 4:35 PM

    You’re wonderful at styling!ReplyCancel

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