Masthead header


I’m officially in the painting-home-stretch, and all of your time-sensitive portraits are now patiently in waiting under your trees! This year, the holiday season has felt… different. It’s been a little less panicked, a little more jolly, and all of the Vargos are feeling more festive than usual. Perhaps it’s because this is our first Christmas in this home with baseboards? Yes, that must be it. (Ha!)

Although The Pet Shop is winding down for the year, if you’re still searching for the perfect gift for the pet people in your lives, I’m here with a friendly reminder that we’re also in the home stretch for holiday shipping! Our gift certificates are a fun and interactive way for the giftee to take part in the creative process while also supporting our non-profit animal rescue partners – and wouldn’t you know, this is absolutely your chance to win the award for Best Gift Giver 2014. (Or treat yourself to a 2015 pre-order, and find yourself first in line after the holiday haze. And while we’re at it, let’s save puppies!)

Bonus: All orders placed through Friday, December 19th will receive a free upgrade to Priority USPS Shipping.*

To ensure a timely December 24th delivery, order today!

*Gift certificate orders placed by Friday, December 19th within the United States should make the holiday cut according to USPS Priority Mail Guidelines. Orders placed after Friday, December 19th cannot be guaranteed for delivery by Tuesday, December 24th but will still be happily received + shipped as usual. Thank you all for another incredible year of support!



Now that the weather is cold and wet, Scott and I were determined to give our entryway a solution to stash drippy shoes and hide extra dog supplies within reach of the front door (such as towels and scarves). We wanted things to stay simple and tidy, and most importantly, we wanted to spend as little as possible. Enter Skar, take 2!

You might remember our Ikea-hacked Skar from its past life in my studio of yore, and while it worked well in that space, we wanted to beef it up a bit for the entry. (And to be quite honest, Scott wasn’t feeling my lion head pulls, and I was up for a change!) Our entry has remained mostly bare, so we quite literally shopped from a few still-unpacked belongings and set up the same small rug from our condo‘s foyer, re-hung our favorite mantra and gave Skar another mini makeover:


This unit is no longer sold at Ikea, but the BISSA is pretty comparable! In our case, we wanted the Skar to hold up over time, so we made a few more enhancements to the guts of the furniture, too. Because it’s made almost entirely from particleboard, we bought $5 of doormat-esque material from Home Depot (which equated to about 1 yard), cut it down to size for the lower two bins, and used small Velcro tabs to keep it in place.

skar-entry-update-04 skar-entry-update-05

For the top bin, Scott used leftover strips of plywood to create a ledge for stashing our keys, lip balm and less-than-attractive items. You know we had to give it a teeny burst of color – all in good fun!


Here, you can see that creating this ledge helps to raise the bottom by an extra six inches or so, which has made it much easier to reach in and grab what we need:


We both agreed that the same brassy Schoolhouse pulls from my pink Varde would look great in our entry, but sadly, they were no longer available! I found a pretty good replacement in these Siro pulls, and although these aren’t actually brass, well, you could’ve fooled us:

skar-entry-update-08 skar-entry-update-09

We toyed with the idea of adding a few more small art pieces alongside the above print (remember that old entry wall that kept growing and growing?), but it’s so much harder for us to put up art – or make decisions in general, really – in this home! We’re absolutely over thinking everything, yes, but this entryway feels too good being open and bright, and so while I tried to keep tradition by displaying a renovation photo in every room – entry included – it wasn’t working. Instead, Scott suggested we hang our archway snapshot above our living room light switch. He was right!

skar-entry-update-11 RENOVATION-07

Amidst the kitchen brainstorming (another update coming soon!), it feels nice to make two small and easy updates, and we are loving these renovation photos to remind us of how far we’ve come. Back then, a shoe bin would’ve made us laugh, and now? Well, hooray for shoe bins!

  • Karen @ year of serendipity - December 16, 2014 - 7:10 AM

    Great organization! But I’m really dieing over the reno photo- so adorable!!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - December 16, 2014 - 8:51 AM

    Aw that reno picture is so adorable!!!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - December 16, 2014 - 10:13 AM

    I agree with everyone else that the reno photo stole the show today – too cute! I’ve been over thinking everything in my house also. I held off on making a lot of purchases for our home for nearly 2 years while we took time to pay off debt and decide whether we wanted to stay where we were long term or move to another part of town, but I gained a new appreciation for empty walls and open space. I still love art, but I find myself being more strategic about where I put it/how much… Same thing with furniture also. Not necessarily a bad thing though, right?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 16, 2014 - 10:44 AM

      Definitely not a bad thing! We keep telling ourselves that we’re on a mission to make more mindful decisions this time around. It can feel frustrating at times, but it’s also sort of freeing to NOT buy if it’s not necessary.ReplyCancel

  • Jill - December 16, 2014 - 3:54 PM

    Soooo welcoming!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - December 16, 2014 - 5:15 PM

    Love it! I’ve been eyeing something like this for the entry too, because we don’t have much space but its so helpful to have a dedicated spot.ReplyCancel

  • Monika - December 18, 2014 - 1:11 PM

    Ah yes, plaster walls…design hell (or purgatory depending on your perspective) for art lovers. I know exactly what you mean. Hanging stuff ain’t easy with plaster but you seem to always pull it off well. Nice job (again…as usual) ;)ReplyCancel

  • Annie - January 22, 2015 - 11:05 AM

    Love the reno! Can you please tell me what color your walls (the grey), trim (the white), and door (the blue) are? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 22, 2015 - 11:17 AM

      Thanks, Annie! The walls are Behr’s Sterling (at 75%), trim is Behr Ultra Pure White and the doors are Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue, color matched to Sherwin Williams.ReplyCancel


Last week, Scott stumbled across an ad for a Mid-century Modern warehouse sale way south on Western Ave. We woke up bright and early Saturday morning, assuming there’d be a big long line around the building, only to arrive 5 minutes after opening and find that we were two of, oh, maybe six people! Better safe than sorry, because we totally scored. Here’s what came home with us:

ONE. An authentic Milo chair! Technically, two Milo chairs, as they were a set – no splits. (Funny how when you want a pair of chairs, they don’t exist, and when you only want one? Pairs of chairs abound!) It pains us to see them separated*, but we knew that this guy would be the coziest, sweetest chair for our funny little nook – once and for all! It’s fine as-is for now, but the foam in the frame could be replaced, and so we’ll ultimately upholster down the road. But – those adorable legs! The teeny castors! The fluffy cushions!


TWO. This fabric! The warehouse was stuffed with rolls of vintage fabric and leather, and not exactly being an expert at the sewing machine, I restrained myself from grabbing more. We both gravitated towards this super thick roll with a navy and cream graphic pattern, and in my excitement, I screamed, couldn’t you just see this on the Milo chair?! I don’t think there’s enough of it (there’s about 5 yards at most), but seriously, wouldn’t a super punchy fabric be too much on this chair? I mean this in the best way, you know.

warehouse-finds-03 warehouse-finds-04

THREE. These sconces! They could use a little Nevr-Dull, but the patina is pretty charming, too. We’ll set these aside until we start on the bedroom, which at this point, feels like a pipe dream. We’ll get there eventually!


Prices were fair and negotiable, and although we didn’t score ourselves a hutch or island, we’re over the moon with our finds. That said – from here on out! – we’re all eyes for the kitchen only. Kitch-en! Kitch-en!

*In Chicago and interested in the other Milo chair? Send us an email, and let’s talk.

**Update! We’ve received a lot of emails on the chair, and we have a taker! Thank you to everyone who got in touch!

  • Alli - December 12, 2014 - 8:11 AM

    No idea how much fabric is actually required to upholster things, but the navy/cream would be amazing along the back and sides of the chair with maybe solid navy cushions. I’d also feel a little bit safer about that. Do the cushions with some hard-wearing navy, so it gets the most wear, but by doing the back/sides you get bang for you buck out of the amazing vintage fabric.ReplyCancel

    • carswell - December 12, 2014 - 12:45 PM

      I would prefer to see it go the other way – with a solid on the sides/back and the pattern on the seat and back cushions. It’s a subjective thing.

      That said – the navy/cream pattern is to die for.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey d. - December 12, 2014 - 9:16 AM

    Like Alli, I was going to suggest a matching or contrasting fabric for the seat of the chair. I’d like to see the back cushion in the fab pattern, but you could save a bit of fabric by doing the side panels on the back cushion in the same coordinating fabric you do the seat in. No idea whether there would be enough of the fab fabric to even do the outsides of the chair or if you could find the same navy in the same weight of fabric.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 12, 2014 - 9:18 AM

      These are great suggestions – thank you! Something to consider. We’ll have to look at a few photos of similar upholstery to see if we can get on board with that look.ReplyCancel

      • Dusa - December 12, 2014 - 11:26 AM

        I immediately thought the opposite: seat and back pad in the print, and the outer shell in a solid navy. Are the cushions reversible?ReplyCancel

        • Kim - December 12, 2014 - 11:38 AM

          The cushions are reversible, and I like this idea too!ReplyCancel

  • Lucas - December 12, 2014 - 9:21 AM

    Kim: Can you give us any more information on the MCM sale? I looked it up when you posted it on IG but couldn’t make it. Is it a retailer? Are they open regularly? Etc, etc.
    Thanks! I’m in hot pursuit of a credenza!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 12, 2014 - 9:27 AM

      Hi Lucas, I think it was a one-off, sadly. Scott found it via this Facebook group:

      It seems that it was just a group of vintage sellers that wanted to unload a bunch of stuff, but if it makes you feel any better, there weren’t really any credenzas – mostly chairs, fabric and small tables.

      A great place to check for a credenza would be searching That’s where we picked up my desk and we’ve been checking that site a few times a week for something in the kitchen as well!ReplyCancel

    • Angela - December 12, 2014 - 9:31 AM

      I found this spot while searching for some Christmas gifts. It’s not right around the corner but if you find yourself on a trip to Wisconsin, it looks like it might be a good place to check out for some MCM pieces.

  • AP - December 12, 2014 - 10:32 AM

    Ok, as a Chicago native who grew up a lot further south off Western Ave, it bugs me that a transplant would emphasize 15th and Western as being *way* south. That’s not even a mile and half south of Madison, and at MOST five miles south of the northernmost part of Logan Square.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ hurricane sandwich and the casita - December 12, 2014 - 11:32 AM

    I love this so much! The comments about about contrasting fabrics for the inside/outside of the chair remind me of a pic in the restoration hardware catalog that i fell in love with and immediately pinned. someday.

  • Ryan - December 12, 2014 - 4:10 PM

    If there really is 5 yards of the fabric, it might be enough for that chair. Especially if you use a solid for the piping. Chairs usually take 5-8 yards of 55″ wide fabric. Charts like this help give you an idea of how much fabric might be required. Of course matching the pattern may mean you need more than if it was a solid.

    I was about to embark on the epic process of reupholstering my couch and 2 arm chairs but was waylaid by an elderly dog that has taken to chewing on the chairs! luckily they were both slated to be recovered anyway. I’m just afraid to redo them and have my hard work undone.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 16, 2014 - 1:18 PM

      I had meant to circle back around and thank you for that link! And good point about the print vs. a solid fabric. Our upholsterer said this chair could take up to 8 yds. Looks like this vintage fabric is out if we want to do the WHOLE thing, so we will see!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - December 12, 2014 - 4:26 PM

    I vote for doing a little pattern-mixing when you upholster the chair: That great navy and white fabric mixed with another navy and white print (small-scale print? large scale stripes?) and/or using some of the fabric for cushions on your sofa–I think this print would look great with your carpet.ReplyCancel

  • Kara - December 14, 2014 - 1:17 AM

    Agreed with many of the above… Pattern fabric for the chair, navy for the cushions. Cool print!ReplyCancel

  • Kara - December 14, 2014 - 1:19 AM

    Or, you could always keep the chair yellow and use the print on the cushions. I’m partial to my Swedish heritage, so I love blue and yellow together. It would also be much cheaper!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - December 15, 2014 - 7:12 AM

    Oh, how I wish we had events like this near us!! Love your scores! =)ReplyCancel

  • Karen @ year of serendipity - December 16, 2014 - 6:39 AM

    Awesome finds!!ReplyCancel

  • kristin - December 16, 2014 - 10:39 AM

    i LOVE that fabric. i have been looking for the perfect fabric for a vintage danish chair i have and now i am green with envy! while i love the navy and cream against the yellow, i think you should reupholster the chair in the fabric and accent that corner with the marigold color. and now, i really want to know where i could get a few yards of that fabric for myself!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - January 9, 2015 - 8:52 AM

    Although that fabric is GORGEOUS, I’m going to play the devil’s advocate and say that I wouldn’t do such a bold pattern on that chair. That chair has such amazing shape and lines and they would get lost in a strong pattern like that.

    I also think that particular pattern is going to be very hard to align with the top, arm rest sections of the chair. If it’s done right, it looks great, but even if it’s off a little bit, it will be very obvious.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 9, 2015 - 4:02 PM

      Thanks, Kathy! We love our upholsterer SO much, and they’ve always done such a fabulous job (they’re very meticulous), so we’re not too worried about that. But we are on the fence because, as you’ve said, the lines of this chair is so beautiful that it’s a statement in itself! Hmm. What to do, what to do.ReplyCancel

  • Maggie @Maggie Overby Studios - January 9, 2015 - 3:57 PM

    Love the fabric, love the chair and so jealous of you visit to the a MCM warehouse sale. Love the idea of mixing pattern and solids on this chair. I scored some vintage fabric for $1 a yard from an upholster which I also used on a MCM chair. My fabric (as yours appears to be)was equally nice but opposite on each side. Rather than mix fabrics I chose to create contrast using both sides of the fabric, with a dark cording to break it up this could be fabulous on your chair.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 9, 2015 - 4:01 PM

      Oh, that sounds awesome! Do you have a link?

      Sadly, there’s not nearly enough of this fabric to make that happen. Womp.ReplyCancel

      • Maggie @Maggie Overby Studios - January 10, 2015 - 2:57 AM

        Hunted down the photos but let me add the disclaimer that this was my very first upholstery project ever so the photos are not great and they were not really meant for public consumption.

        I think your fabric has a lot more contrast so the different sides would be more apparent.

        I have to admit I love the yellow that is already on it too.ReplyCancel

        • Kim - January 10, 2015 - 8:23 AM

          That’s so fun! Love how you contrasted both sides of the vintage fabric. Ugh, how I’m wishing we had more of the fabric so we could just cover the whole chair in pattern. I normally wouldn’t lean that way, but it would really make a statement.

          Thank you so much for sharing, Maggie!ReplyCancel