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During our recent Friendapalooza (otherwise known as a glorious 4 day staycation!), you might have noticed that we dropped by the Randolph Street Market. (This was sandwiched between Do-Rite Donuts and a yummy lunch at Handlebar; yes, we absolutely indulged that day.) Our goal was to only browse and get those happy endorphins jumping, as they so naturally do during flea outings (I mean, right?) – but, damn! – Scott spotted an adorable, vintage Mid Century ottoman.

We’ve been promising ourselves to keep new things out of this home for now, but between this and our Baba Souk pillow, well, we haven’t been doing too good. We’re weak. We feed off each other and these homey-extras, and well, it’s a lose-lose if we’re spending a morning at the flea market. (But really, we’re both secretly thinking it’s a win-win.)

Scott negotiated the price tag down to thirty dollars, we happily brought it home, and while it looks nice from afar, it’s a different story up close. Luckily, there are no rips or tears in the naugahyde (we think it’s a pleather material, but we’re not 100% on this), but it was dirty. Filthy. The sewn seams were yellowed, the grain held years of grime, and the legs were dry and scratched.

Despite its surface condition, it really was in overall great shape – but it needed a good clean-up job. Not wanting to dive right into anything overly toxic, I started with a damp Magic Eraser – and, holy shmoly.

Scott followed that up with Simple Green (much nicer on the nose than, say, Purple Power!), brushing it into the creases, wiping it all up with warm water, and finally, buffing it with a soft cloth.

I took the legs, washed off any dirt with water, then soaked them with Feed-N-Wax – the same product we used on our velvety chair. We also took off the metal tips (they just popped right off), and Scott ran those through his usual Eagle One routine.

The original rubber tips on the legs had begun to rot (one of them had cracked off completely), so we picked up these nail-on glides from Home Depot as a replacement. After replacing the metal foot covers, we tapped them in (which is also what holds the metal in place), running into only one problem…

… One of the legs had a too-large opening, not allowing the glide to fit snug. As in, the hole was far too big for the tiny nail hole we needed. So, Scott remedied this by filling the hole with a barbecue skewer, although toothpicks could work, too. He just broke it off to the right length, tapped it in and “filled” the hole, allowing the glide to have something to grip onto.

And it worked! Also, you’ll see that all the rust was freed from the foot covers – but sadly, the Eagle One took away the faux-gold finish as well. We could always spray them gold down the road, but honestly, we we were just as fine with the clean, cool metal.

All said and done, we took less than 30 minutes restoring the ottoman back to health, with the majority of the time being spent waiting on the Feed-N-Wax to penetrate (the bottle instructions call for a 20 minute soak). Now, it’s white! The sewn seams are white! The legs are polished, nourished and (mostly) scratch-free!

You all know how small our living room is, so while we don’t have the extra space needed now, we’re confident we’ll have the space in the (hopefully near!) future. Regardless of the lacking space, I’m still scootching it up to the edge of the sofa and resting on it. Sometimes it’ll move to the empty wall space between our living room and kitchen (the former home of the painting table), but mostly it sort of just… floats. And that’s okay.

Is anyone else restoring vintage finds – especially as we head full force into flea and yard sale season (three cheers for that!)? Can we see?

  • Loren - May 9, 2013 - 8:38 AM

    Great job! I have a very similar foot stool I grabbed out of my neighbor’s trash a couple months ago. (It has several little tears in the fabric though).
    I keep meaning to give it a thorough cleaning but haven’t quite known where to start. I’ll definitely be coming back to this post!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - May 9, 2013 - 8:42 AM

    Great job on the clean up … it looks brand spankin’ new!ReplyCancel

  • You guys find the cutest stuff! It makes me want to drag Aaron to Chicago for some flea marketing-ing.

    We scored an awesome industrial, wheeled cart last time we visited KC. We’re not sure what it was used for, but it’s perfect in the fire house kitchen, which is seriously lacking counter space. It hangs out against the wall when I’m not using it.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 9, 2013 - 9:26 AM

    Loren, there are ways to patch the tears in the fabric – is it pleather/leather? Auto shops will usually have little kits to fix things like that – good luck!

    Heather, that sounds awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble Abode - May 9, 2013 - 9:39 AM

    Awesome find! Love the simple fixes to spruce it up, too. Gotta love a quick but dramatic change.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - May 9, 2013 - 9:45 AM

    I’m so jealous of your find! You did an amazing job fixing it up, and it looks great with the yellow chair! You’ve inspired me to try my hand at restoring old furniture.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 9, 2013 - 10:02 AM

    Amanda – amen!

    Jessica, you can do it!ReplyCancel

  • Alexis - May 9, 2013 - 10:35 AM

    That looks gorgeous! I would never think to use a magic eraser on the leather, wow!!!
    I just restored a Lane side table for my friend, it was a curbside find and terribly damaged. Sanding, oiling, and waxing revived it and it turned out amazing. I took pics but have yet to update my blog with them.
    As always, inspired by your projects :)

  • Emma - May 9, 2013 - 10:34 PM

    Lovely! I’ve got a green one that I plan on reupholstering. (I’ve had it for …ehem 8 months). Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Helen - May 11, 2013 - 12:47 AM

    Wow! Just wow!ReplyCancel

  • Sadie - May 16, 2013 - 1:53 PM

    My grandma had an ottoman like that, only it was blue. Now I’m wondering whatever happened to it. Thanks for sparking a memory. Clearwater ArchitectReplyCancel

  • Brian - May 16, 2013 - 7:38 PM

    Wow, it looks wonderful all refreshed!

    Hey, good idea on the bbq skewer/toothpick… ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Jill - May 20, 2013 - 3:04 PM

    LOVE IT!ReplyCancel


First, a big congrats to Eileen Marie, the winner of last week’s Baba Souk giveaway!

Having the Do It Yourself crew on Monday was fun (understatement of the year, possibly), and Scott and I have been talking about it non-stop since then, hoping they could just come again, fluff our pillows every day, fill our home with fresh buds and switch things up to keep things interesting around here (okay, now I must sound crazy).

But a perk of their visit (as if their visit alone wasn’t enough!) was what they left behind – fruit for weeks (there’s no lack of vitamin C in this home!), pretty jars, vases and our first pretty fruit bowl; because believe it or not, until now, we’d been piling our produce on the counter or in a makeshift pasta dish (for real, we’ve had buy fruit bowl on our list for, hmm, years?). And left behind in those vases? The flowers!

We’ve split them up throughout the home – on the console and in the studio – and hey, how do you like our “grocery list”? That was my best attempt at having to write something on the chalkboard (I was put on the spot and panicked!) for the shoot. Way to go, Kim, for narrowing it down to the lowest common denominator.

Now, to see what that grocery list would bring home if either of us went solo to the store and each brought back our own versions of people food.

  • Jacki - May 8, 2013 - 8:16 AM

    Okay, I actually think your grocery list is adorable. And my cat thinks flowers and people food ARE cat food so it made me chuckle :) Gorgeous flowers, too!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 8, 2013 - 9:26 AM

    Ha, Jacki, at one point, Maddie ran up to the flowers during the shoot, hacked off a few petals with her teeth, then ran away as fast as she could!ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - May 8, 2013 - 12:15 PM

    Those flowers make my heart melt. I wish fresh flowers were more of a priority around here!

    p.s. your grocery list!!!! hahahahaha!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 8, 2013 - 12:43 PM

    Julia, they’re rarely a priority around here, too! We’re soaking in every minute with them…ReplyCancel

  • Jill - May 8, 2013 - 1:45 PM

    Haha! Love this! I kind of feel the same way this week after N’s party, except not in the fancy-pants, excited about a photo-shoot kind of way. ;) Just happy that I’m in love w/ our house again after a fresh scrub and rearranging of small bits, and I also bought fresh flowers for N’s party after 2 years (last time was for E’s 30th and the time before that, our 5th anniversary)! And they just made me so gosh darn happy, I need to buy them at least once a year now, by golly!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 8, 2013 - 2:03 PM

    Jill, you should buy them more than once a year! Maybe we need to start slow and work our way up though. We’re just as bad about not putting fresh flowers in the home!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Lynn - May 8, 2013 - 9:33 PM

    I do a halfway decent job of making sure we’ve got some fresh blooms in the house but those beauties put my Costco bouquets to shame!!ReplyCancel

  • I agree with Jacki. I think the list is super cute. I can’t wait to see more images for your shoot! :)ReplyCancel


Somehow, someway, through some lucky stroke of chance, our home was taken over yesterday by a crew sent from Better Homes and Gardens Do It Yourself magazine! When we were first contacted several weeks ago by (the wonderful, adorable, and super sweet) Brenda from Meredith Corp., we were asked if we’d be interested in a home feature (yes!), and if so, can they come over and shoot our home (yes!)?

Scott and I focused on remaining calm, promising each other to keep our hopes down in the off-chance we were nixed from the drawing board. We already have so much going on (hello, new-to-us future home – hopefully sooner than later!), so we played it way down, you know, no big deal if it doesn’t work out.


It did work out, and they did come, and it was pinch-us fun, exhausting and such an incredible, happy way to celebrate our home! Photo gear spilled into the building’s common hallway, lights lined our entry, and computer stations were moved from one spot to the other as we all propped, styled and tip-toed over cables, cords and kitties in this little space.

Of course what you don’t see through the lens is what’s behind the lens – flowers, photo sheets, fruit bowls, lint rollers, coffee and chaos on every surface. And yes, I actually enjoyed this chaos, as it brought back memories (aw, I could get misty-eyed) of my days as a photo assistant. Brenda not only toasted the day by wearing a cat-printed blouse, but I’m sure she humored me by asking for my suggestions and not getting all weird when I wanted to help. I switched out of my portrait outfit only 30 minutes into the day, switching into a comfy tee and climbing up stools to find stashed away art, digging up old cigar boxes and fussing over pillows.

All the while, the girls cozied up to their favorite nesting spots – making sure to re-coat every surface with their fuzzy fur. They awoke only when it was time to put on their best kitty smiles, shmoozing the camera and surely wondering what all the fuss was about. (And don’t worry, Jackie Boy made his way into a handful of photos, too – here’s hoping making he makes that cut!)

At the end of the day, we gathered around for a drink and a cheers, and I didn’t give the crew a choice but to snap an instant photo with us. We’ll be adding this one to the memory box, definitely.

It’s too soon to know when our feature will be published in Do It Yourself, but you’ll hear us screaming when it runs (and you know we’ll share it with you, too!). As we continue to look forward to our still-uncertain-home-future, we couldn’t be happier to know that we were able to honor this home in such a sweet way.

Thank you to the awesome crew that shared their day with us – hugs to Brenda (stylist and columnist), Warren and Dustin (photo team)!

PS: Today is the last day for a chance to scoop some loot from Baba Souk!

  • zandi - May 7, 2013 - 11:07 AM

    omg, that is SO exciting!! congrats!!!ReplyCancel

  • Ashly - May 7, 2013 - 11:09 AM

    I love how chill your cats seem in the photos! My cats would be hissing and spitting at everything!

    Also: Congrats! This is awesome!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 7, 2013 - 11:17 AM

      Ashly, have no fear! Little Miss Maddie made sure to throw out a few hisses throughout the day. It was Libby who remained calm and unfazed!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole T. - May 7, 2013 - 11:13 AM

    OMG! I’m excited!!!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - May 7, 2013 - 11:26 AM

    LOVED the sneak peek!! And I look forward to seeing your smiling faces show up at my door – if only in print form ;)

    Congrats again!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom - May 7, 2013 - 1:33 PM

    This is too cool! And, it sounds like a lot of fun, I can’t wait to see the photos when they come out!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah K - May 7, 2013 - 1:35 PM

    WOW! How exciting! And SUCH a great way to honor all the hard work you’ve put into this home! Congratulations!!

    And be sure to let us know when it’s coming out — I’ll definitely have to pick up a copy!!ReplyCancel

  • Marti - May 7, 2013 - 1:37 PM

    That’s great – congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • Giuli - May 7, 2013 - 3:38 PM

    I’m SOOO excited for you guys! Your place deserves all the accolades. Lots of blood, sweat, tears and laughs have been put into making your place a home. Go Team Kim and Scott!!! Congrats!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 7, 2013 - 3:41 PM

    Giuli, haha, your comment expresses how we feel! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Susan @ Jubilee Furniture - May 7, 2013 - 3:44 PM

    What a lovely honor and one well deserved! Congratulations, Kim and Scott!ReplyCancel

  • renee - May 7, 2013 - 3:48 PM

    Nice job Vargo(s)! Excited to see the mag next year!ReplyCancel

  • Julia @cuckoo4design - May 7, 2013 - 3:52 PM

    WOW, congratulations! Good for you!
    Love all the snapshots with the kitties in it!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - May 7, 2013 - 3:55 PM

    So thrilled for you guys! You totally deserve it! :)ReplyCancel

  • kelly - May 7, 2013 - 9:49 PM

    Congratulations! This is so exciting!! So proud of you xoxoReplyCancel

  • Kaitlin - May 7, 2013 - 10:05 PM

    Amazing and well deserved! Congrats!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Lynn - May 7, 2013 - 10:23 PM

    Woooooo! Congrats Slices!! So exciting. As a side note, I love the “instant photo” at the end … was that a self-snap (if so that dude has mad skills! SIX peeps … I can barely manage to get myself and my plus one when I take those)?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 8, 2013 - 8:36 AM

    Thank you!

    Amy, can you believe it was a self-snap? We were so amazed that all 6 sets of eyes were in the photo. I suppose that’s why he’s a photographer, ha!ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - May 8, 2013 - 10:30 AM

    No Way! That is so exciting and SO well deserved. Your home is one of my most favorites of all time. Can’t wait to snag a copy (or two) of that issue!ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - May 8, 2013 - 1:51 PM

    Sorry I’m late to this post but hooray! I got chills when you wrote about honoring your place, for reals, what a good way to put it! Too perfect! And what fun, you deserve this recognition more than anyone! MWAAAAAAAAAA!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 8, 2013 - 2:02 PM

    Awww, thanks, Jill! You gave ME chills!ReplyCancel

  • Shelby @ Sweetness in Starlight - May 8, 2013 - 2:20 PM

    Ahh that’s so exciting. Ironically I work for Meredith (in their digital department), and this is one of my favorite publications we have. I can’t wait to see how your shoot turns out. They picked the perfect apartment to photograph!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Marlene @ Jade and Fern - May 8, 2013 - 7:48 PM

    How cool! You guys deserve it. :)ReplyCancel

  • Henna | HENNA BLOSSOM BLOG - May 8, 2013 - 9:57 PM

    AHhhhhhh!!! OMIGOSH!!! AHHHHHH! Seriously guys….so cool. :) Exciting stuuuuffff. AHHHHHhhhh. :) Sorry, I’m not the most articulate when I’m excited. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 9, 2013 - 8:01 AM

    Thanks so much, everyone!

    Henna, I’m the same way, ha!ReplyCancel

  • blair @ the fox and she - May 9, 2013 - 4:18 PM

    This is so totally awesome! I can’t wait to see it when it comes out! And lucky for you they left all those gorgeous flowers behind :)ReplyCancel

  • Nina - May 10, 2013 - 6:13 AM

    How am I just reading this post?! Great behind the scenes shots. Congrats on the shoot. Definitely well deserved. Glad the kitties were so generous in sharing their home ;) Go YBH!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie - May 10, 2013 - 11:59 AM

    You guys are the coolest… seriously!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - May 30, 2013 - 11:07 AM

    eep! so fun and exciting!!ReplyCancel