modern thrifter

modern thrifter

Thrifter & designer. Blogging about life in our MCM home & living on a budget. I also design things with my husband. You can see our work at The Mahoney Studio

[ MYSTERY PLANT ]

It’s been a few months since I brought home a snake plant, and I haven’t killed it yet. Even though they are supposedly idiot-proof, I still had doubts about my gardening skills. It seems to be thriving, giving me newfound confidence, which is probably more self-deception than reality. Nevertheless, when a friend offered me a clipping from one of her beautiful house plants, I gladly accepted. 

She couldn’t recall the name of the plant, and my google searches are leading no where. Does anyone recognize it? The leaves are about 3 to 4 inches in length, with beautiful reddish burgundy veins. The backsides of the leaves are all that same reddish color, too. 

I’m hoping that whatever it is, it’s a fast grower. I can’t wait to plant it in this teak plant stand that my aunt picked up in Denmark in the 60s. I just need to find a ceramic planter that fits it first.

Just in case this little guy doesn’t make it, which with my past record is entirely likely, I’d love to hear suggestions of other house plants that are tolerant of neglect and minimal light. 

Udate: You guys are fast! Thanks to a few folks on twitter and Facebook, I was able to find out that it’s a “prayer plant" and after reading the growing specifications, it seems to be well suited for our house. 

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[ RETREAT ]

As a very visual thinker, I’ve learned over the years—and especially since having kids—that I function far better if I have one area in my house that I can count on to be clean. No matter how loud, messy, and wild the rest of the house gets during the day, having my little spot keeps me from totally freaking out. 

Those of you with kids in school are probably familiar with the hurricane that rips through the house each morning, and making my bed has long been the first chore in the morning clean-up ritual. Even though I keep my bedroom really tidy (ahem…don’t look in the closets), I still felt like I needed a better place to retreat.

We had a chair and a nightstand sitting on the wall opposite of our bed, but I had been looking for a small desk for nearly a year. A few weeks ago I saw a craigslist ad for a $10 vintage desk, and even though it’s not my ideal piece of furniture, I couldn’t argue with the price. It is about 2” too wide for the space between the doors to our bathroom and closet, but it’s solid wood, so I’m going to have Patrick cut it down to fit.

I wish I could say it was teak or rosewood, or something sexy like that, unfortunately I think it’s a homemade project, crafted from much cheaper wood. But, I’ll say it again: $10. And it functions just like I need it to. Plus, it’s amazing what a few pretty accessories can add!

I picked up the brass Tensor desk lamp over a year ago at a garage sale for $3, and I’m so happy that it finally has a place. You might have seen the planter on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. I picked it up at the thrift store run by the local senior center for $1. 

I’m not much for houseplants, mostly because we get no sunlight and they always die, but I’ve heard these snake plants (aka mother-in-law tongue plants) are easy to grow. The kids obviously need a pet because when I brought it home they were arguing over who would get to dust its leaves and who would water it. 

We’re still planning to paint this wall black and do something different with the flooring. I get excited thinking about how that’s going to look, but right now we’re in the middle of some minor kitchen projects, so it will have to wait. 

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[ AFTERNOON DECK PROJECT ]
Our summer home improvement plans proved to be a bit to0 ambitious for our schedules. With the unusual (for us) amount of traveling we did, we weren’t left with a lot of time or money to complete the tasks on our list. Though summer is officially over, September had one last warm weekend to offer, so Patrick decided to take on a small exterior project. 

I don’t post very often about the outside of our house, mostly because it’s a giant mess of rotted wood, pine needles, and ivy. Two thirds of the big wrap-around deck needs to be replaced because the wood has started to rot, though we’ve had several contractor friends look at it to reassure us that it’s not going to come crashing down when we stand on it. 



The one section that is in decent shape is the boardwalk area that leads to the front door. The rest of the deck has been finished with Trex (or something similar) that was laid on top of old rotting wood, but this part is just plain old wood, of the non-rotted variety. It doesn’t get much direct sun, and with the heavy amount of rain we see, the wood has the typical gray coloring, but it also has dark gray/black areas (probably some sort of moss or mildew) that get really slimy and slippery when they’re wet. 

Patrick decided to see how much he could improve the area with the supplies that we had on hand. He spent a couple of hours sanding the section in front of the door, and then finished it off with a couple of coats of varnish that was leftover from finishing the door at our last house. 

The weather didn’t cooperate long enough for him to finish the last little section that goes up to the road, but since it’s a pretty basic project, if we get another few days of dry weather this fall, he can easily complete it.

For my part of the project, I finally planted a hosta in a $4 planter that I purchased at an estate sale last winter. It looks pretty wimpy right now, but I have high hopes that it will thrive. The deck was built around one of the many douglas fir trees on our property, but this particular one was not very healthy so we had it removed when we first moved in. The stump drives me crazy, but I’m hoping that the hosta wil grow big enough to hide it a little. 



Yes, that tree is frighteningly close to the house, but it’s obviously been that way since the house was built forty years ago, since they built the roof around it. We plan to take it down in the next couple of years because it makes us a little nervous, but it is really expensive to have trees this big removed, especially when they’re this close to the house and we’re on a the side of a hill with minimal access and no “drop zone.” Actually, I’d love to hear recommendations for local tree services, does anyone have one they can share?

[ AFTERNOON DECK PROJECT ]

Our summer home improvement plans proved to be a bit to0 ambitious for our schedules. With the unusual (for us) amount of traveling we did, we weren’t left with a lot of time or money to complete the tasks on our list. Though summer is officially over, September had one last warm weekend to offer, so Patrick decided to take on a small exterior project. 

I don’t post very often about the outside of our house, mostly because it’s a giant mess of rotted wood, pine needles, and ivy. Two thirds of the big wrap-around deck needs to be replaced because the wood has started to rot, though we’ve had several contractor friends look at it to reassure us that it’s not going to come crashing down when we stand on it. 

The one section that is in decent shape is the boardwalk area that leads to the front door. The rest of the deck has been finished with Trex (or something similar) that was laid on top of old rotting wood, but this part is just plain old wood, of the non-rotted variety. It doesn’t get much direct sun, and with the heavy amount of rain we see, the wood has the typical gray coloring, but it also has dark gray/black areas (probably some sort of moss or mildew) that get really slimy and slippery when they’re wet. 

Patrick decided to see how much he could improve the area with the supplies that we had on hand. He spent a couple of hours sanding the section in front of the door, and then finished it off with a couple of coats of varnish that was leftover from finishing the door at our last house

The weather didn’t cooperate long enough for him to finish the last little section that goes up to the road, but since it’s a pretty basic project, if we get another few days of dry weather this fall, he can easily complete it.

For my part of the project, I finally planted a hosta in a $4 planter that I purchased at an estate sale last winter. It looks pretty wimpy right now, but I have high hopes that it will thrive. The deck was built around one of the many douglas fir trees on our property, but this particular one was not very healthy so we had it removed when we first moved in. The stump drives me crazy, but I’m hoping that the hosta wil grow big enough to hide it a little. 

Yes, that tree is frighteningly close to the house, but it’s obviously been that way since the house was built forty years ago, since they built the roof around it. We plan to take it down in the next couple of years because it makes us a little nervous, but it is really expensive to have trees this big removed, especially when they’re this close to the house and we’re on a the side of a hill with minimal access and no “drop zone.” Actually, I’d love to hear recommendations for local tree services, does anyone have one they can share?

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[ PATRICK’S DAY JOB ]

I’ve mentioned before that Patrick and I are both graphic designers, but I wanted to share this behind the scenes video of one aspect of Patrick’s job as Art Director for our church.

So what does this have to do with thrifting? One of the “posters” in the video is an image of a barren tree. That tree is actually a bonsai tree that was purchased for the shoot. It had all of its leaves trimmed off, so we have adopted the tree, and are currently nursing it back to health with what little sunshine we can provide it. I found a great container at Deseret Industries for $2 to transplant it into, we just need to figure out some drainage first. 

Also, I just wanted to share my husband’s hard work. If you want to see more of his design, you can visit our other site The Mahoney.

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