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Philadelphia Interior Design: 1/2 Bath

26 Nov

One of the things that keeps me up at night is the state of our environment.  I find myself in a constant internal battle over what products to use, am I recycling enough, could I do more?  I’ve learned that I may not be able to change it on my own but the little steps I take to improve myself can help in a big way, especially if those around me take notice and (quite frankly) give a damn.

So it is with great pride that I present one of my recent interior design projects which incorporates up-cycled items and low voc paint.  The great thing about this project is we turned an unused mudroom into a 1/2 bath, no old bathroom demo.  And my heart is glad 🙂

If you live in Philadelphia you must get over to Philadelphia Salvage located in Mt Airy. Need an extra push to get over there?  Thursday nights are ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ whiskey and beer while you shop.  What more could you ask for?!

We cut the wood for the shelving from a 4ft piece of wood reclaimed from a 150 yr old barn (purchased at Philadelphia Salvage).  We did the math, the tree probably started growing in the 1600’s.  Like whoa.  We created the brackets using some plumbing pipe, floor flange and cap.  Vintage bottles and milk glass vase purchased at Phantastic Phinds (great home consignment store in Flourtown).

I also found these metal baskets at Philly Salvage and they fit perfectly in the reused sink cabinet’s side shelves.  There’s not much space in this bath so instead of a hand towel bar we used one of the metal baskets to hold fabric napkins for drying hands.  Bonus, wash them and use them over and over!

We left the exposed brick on one wall to add to the industrial/reclaimed feel.  The bathroom door was salvaged from previous renovations in the house.  A few coats of paint and some genius DIY barn door hardware and it works great.

We finished it off with a coat of low voc paint in a soft gray and some homemade curtains.  I thought the black and white vertical pattern would help draw the eye up, hence making the small room feel larger.

All hardware is oil rubbed bronze.  Flooring is a Dal Tile porcelain tile in a concrete gray.

I’m so excited this project is completed and that it came together so well!


The Staging Chick

“Be the change you want to see in the world” -Gandhi

Need an interior designer in Philadelphia?  Email

Local business love

12 Oct

In my last post I told you how I would be embarking on an eco journey throughout the next few month of blogging.  While this post is not part of that series it is consistent with going green and buying local!  Oh and bonus, this company sells all natural soaps and candles.

There are so many things to love about Wilson’s Soap Co. which is based out of Philadelphia.  I think the best place to start is with a little history of this company that began out of a failed attempt at starting a  BioDiesel plant.   Yep, they were working toward a better planet from the start.

When their plan to start the plant soured they took all the collected cooking oils and decided to use them for soap making.  Nothing is wasted.  What came of this is amazing all natural soaps and candles that will leave your skin feeling silky smooth and your home smelling fresh.  All chemical free.

When I received my box of soaps and candles I was so geeked about the packaging.  Presentation…check.  The soaps are wrapped in a simple natural looking wrapper that looks like something you would see in the good ol’ days.  The packaging by the way, also all natural and biodegradable.  There may be hope for my carbon footprint after all!  The candles come in a very simple mason jar but have so much character.

The soaps come in a variety of scents including basil, clove, lemongrass and lavender.  All scents are from natural plant based oils.  My favorites include the basil and lavender.  When I first used this soap I was surprised that it lathers up just as well as any (inferior) commercial soap.  After one use I could tell a difference in my skin.  It felt softer and moisturized.  Apparently this is a result of natural soap makers leaving the glycerin in the soap unlike commercial soap producers that remove it.  This is a huge bonus for me because I hate using lotion.

The candles I received were the Anise and Orange scents.  LOVE.  I lit the orange after I cleaned my house just to add a little more fresh.

All in all (as if it weren’t obvious) I am a huge fan of Wilson’s Soap Co. and I plan on using their soaps over and over.  I might even be kind enough to pass them along to friends for holiday gifts (yep, they make great stocking stuffers)!  Want all natural silky soft skin too?  Head over to their website Wilson’s Soap Co. and place your order.  It can’t get any easier than that!



The Staging Chick

Me-go-eco part 1: natural soy candles

5 Oct

Two weekends ago ‘Staging Husband’ and I took Mr. Kona for a stroll down Main Street Manayunk where we discovered they were having an eco arts fair, how exciting!  I absolutely love all natural products.  Just being surrounded by them made me feel healthier!

I saw a lot of great locally made products and even learned a few things.  I was so inspired by what I saw that I’ve decided to do a series called me-go-eco where I’ll explore all natural products, try my hand at making art with salvaged material and maybe even go vegan for a bit.

Among the many eco products I saw were hand made all natural candles.  Although some of this series will be an experiment I’ve been using all natural soy candles for some time now.  In fact I refuse to buy anything but.  Why you ask?  My main concern is the chemicals released from the paraffin candles.  Some of these chemicals are bad for the environment and could be harmful to you as well.

The way I see it candles are a way to make your home feel fresh and clean.  When I use soy or beeswax based candles I don’t worry that they are releasing chemicals into my home.  Not only are they better for the environment (many going so far as to use recycled materials) they burn longer and produce less soot!

Here’s a list of some of my favorites:

Yankee Beanswax: Over the Moon (great summer scent)

Yankee Beanswax: Spice Spice Baby (great for fall)

Rittenhouse Candle and Soap: Lavender and Sweet Basil (great for spring)

Wilson’s Soap Co: Basil (great year round)

Give one of them a try and let me know what you think!  Next up ‘Me-go-eco part 2: natural handmade soaps’.

Thanks for reading 🙂


The Staging Chick

Green cleaning: shower spray

21 Jun

I’ve slowly but surely been fading out all chemical products from our home.  I was never much of a cleaning product user to begin with.  I was immediately turned off by bleach sprays  when I began having serious headaches after using them.  Don’t get me wrong, I keep our house very clean, I just have to put a little more thought into it.  Most of my cleaning is done with natural products found in the kitchen, vinegar and baking soda to name a few.  Since we’ve moved into our new home we’ve been having trouble keeping the grout and caulk in our tub free of mold.  ‘SSH’ keeps regrouting and recaulking to no avail.  We squeegee and now I’ve added this shower spray to our daily regimen.  It seems to be workings, smells great and is all natural!  I’m pretty sure our tile, grout and whatever they used behind it needs to be replaced so I don’t know that our problem will be solved anytime soon.  This just seems to keep it at bay.  Here’s the recipe:

Solvent free shower spray:

2 cups water

1 cup vinegar

2 lemons (no seeds)

*Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and keep in shower.  Spray daily to keep mold and soap scum away.

Hope this helps!  What are your natural cleaning recipes?  I’d love to have some new dirt weapons in my cleaning arsenal!  Email


The Staging Chick

Fresh from the garden: Salsa

16 Jun

Our jalapeno plants have sprouted some really great peppers in the past couple of weeks.  Actually they’re huge (that’s them in the pic)!  I am so excited because that means it’s time for fresh salsa! 

 I started making salsa from scratch a couple of years ago.  I tried recipe after recipe but I never found one that really hit the spot.  I finally decided to play around with the ingredients and created this salsa recipe.  It’s just how I like it.  I’m not a huge fan of cilantro so I only call for a pinch but you can adjust it to your taste.  You can play with this to make it as hot or mild as you like.  Just leave the seeds in the jalapeno for very hot salsa (my personal favorite) or remove them for a milder taste.  I learned from making this that there are no rules. 

You may need to make it a few times to get the taste you prefer but making it is half the fun!  The flavor builds after it is refrigerated for a few hours.  Here’s the recipe (double up for parties):

The staging chick’s secret salsa recipe

  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 scallion
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • pinch of cilantro
  • 3 vine tomatoes
  • pinch of cummin powder
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red wine vinaigrette
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • pepper
  • pinch of sugar

Dice the garlic and jalapeno.  Quarter the tomatoes and add all ingredients to a food processor or blender.  refrigerate and serve with your favorite chips (I heart multigrain tortilla chips). 

Tip: Cover chicken breasts with this salsa and jack cheese in a baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake until cooked through.  OMG amazing.  Trust me.

***What I’m listening to: ‘Home’-Jack Johnson

Love you guys!

The Staging Chick

Visit our company website for Philadelphia Home Staging

Fresh from the ‘secret’ garden

11 Jun

The weather in Philadelphia (with the exception of Wednesday) has been incredible this week.  Not too hot, not too cold.  I love to open the doors, turn up the music and make some great fresh food! 

My muse


Our basil mushroomed in the past week.  When I say mushroomed I mean these were the biggest basil leaves I’ve ever seen!  Everytime I walked by it I thought ahhh pesto.  So I made sure to pick up some pine nuts last weekend when the hubby and I hit up Whole Foods

Not only was (is) this pesto amazing but it is sooo green!  We’ve been using it on everything this week. 


 Here’s my recipe:

  • 2 cups packed basil
  • 2/3 cup ex virg olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbl chopped garlic
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Add the basil first and get it all chopped up.  Slowly add oil and all other ingredients.

Can you smell it....

Delicious!  We used it on our Portobello sandwiches with fresh smoked buffalo mozzarella and roma tomatoes on a kaiser roll.  Yeah, it melts in your mouth.  I love using ingredients from our garden. 

Our jalapenos are ready for picking so stay tuned for my fresh salsa recipe!  Trust me…it’s gooood. 


The Staging Chick

Trash to treasure and so much more

3 Jun

Although I’ve been exceptionally busy these days with staging chick duties and all things staging I’ve been fortunate enough to find a little time for my secret life.  Yesterday was a beautiful/insanely-hot-day-especially-for-someone-that- currently-does-not-have-ac but none the less, beautiful.  I decided to use the little down time I had to paint this old planter.

My husband, ‘the secret staging husband’, had a big part in the idea for this project.  So big props to ‘the secret staging husband’, I think I’m wearing off on him!  I already had a strawberry plant living in this container that I didn’t want to disturb.  So in order to spray the pot I covered the plant and soil with a plastic bag (a trash bag will do), cleaned off all the dirt and sprayed away.   I used Rustoleum in jade green gloss.  I did about three coats and used almost 3/4 of the can of paint.  Total cost for this project: $3.75.  Not too shabby considering a container this size can run up to $15.  I think I’ll do a few more maybe some blue some green to add a little more color to the back yard.

While this project was drying I headed over to Produce Junction in Bryn Mawr.  I got some awesome plants for a really great price.  If you’re in the Philadelphia area I highly recommend heading over there.  You’ll be glad you did.  Here’s some shots of some of the plants I snagged up.

To round up the day we threw some yummy chili lime marinated chicken kabobs on the grill.  I threw in some brown rice and edemame salad (left over from memorial day)….yummmm.  Had some great friends and ‘secret staging husband’s’ mamma over to watch the Flyers win game three of the Stanley Cup series.  Doesn’t get much better than that!


‘The Staging Chick’

*What I’m listening to: nothing.  my speakers aren’t working on the computer…blah 😦

Garden planter how to

18 May

A couple weeks ago I shared my adventure in gardening (how does your garden grow).  When we started our backyard garden for tomatoes, green peppers and jalapeno I had to use cinder blocks to block off an area for the dirt.  That just wasn’t doing it for me aesthetically so this weekend we trucked over to home depot for supplies to build a planter. 

My husband is very handy so didn’t go in with a plan.  All I knew was that I wanted something plain and simple, preferably wood.  I had some concerns about what type of wood to use for our organic vegetable garden.  Is pressure treated ok, what other types of wood can you use outside, will it rot?  After wandering through the lumber department we came across a fine home depot employee that informed us that they no longer use chemicals (arsenic) to treat the wood. 

Comedic side note: the home depot employee in the midst of telling us that they no longer put arsenic in the wood said “you wouldn’t have known the chemicals were in there anyway, I’ve been eating it for years and I’m fine!” Not sure what he was eating; arsenic or pressure treated wood????

Getting back on track here is a list of supplies you will need to build a simple planter.  We were able to use our existing fence as the back “wall” of our planter so we only needed a piece of wood for the front and two sides.  Our measurements were 8×3.  

  • (2) 8ft 1×10
  • (4) 2″ metal brackets (used to keep the inside corners square)
  • (1) box decking screws
  • Total cost: $37.00

My husband was sweet enough to do all the building for me.  He had to make a few cuts to the wood then attach the brackets in each corner.  It’s a pretty simple process if you have the right tools (home depot will cut the wood for you if you have the measurements on hand).  The final result is this awesome planter.  I tried spraying it down and rubbing dirt on it to make it look a little worn, but I guess that will happen over time. 

Oh and the plants are doing very well!  I added a mint plant (in a pot) this weekend that I’m very excited about.  Fresh mojitos anyone?  Until next time my friends.


Design for the designer: how does your garden grow?

3 May

Springtime in the city

Well this past weekend Philadelphia left spring in her dust and sprinted right into summer.  My car thermometer peaked at 98 on Saturday accompanied by a streak of humidity that makes rain form in your mouth when you breathe.  Now let’s slow down so I can first say I am not complaining about the weather.  My paradise on earth is 90 and sunny, so I was as happy as a pig in…well you know 🙂  Not only was the weather dreamy, I was productive!  I know I told you the ‘design for the designer’ series was focusing on our master bedroom but we’ve taken a detour due to the gift of good weather.  So today my friends you will see my adventures in gardening.

Let me start off by saying if you are a home seller or realtor looking for staging tips don’t stop reading here.  Curb appeal is one of the key factors in home staging.  So stick around and I’ll show you how to create a peaceful oasis in your own backyard.  For those of you that are experienced gardeners you may find the post trivial.  I am a complete novice gardener.  But I am sure you will get a kick out of the joy I take from the simplest gardening accomplishments.

My main goal was to have a garden that not only looks great but functions great as well.  By functioning I mean produces something of use to us.  I don’t want a lazy garden here people!  For the ‘food’ garden I chose roma tomatoes, green bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, Italian parsley, basil and strawberries.  I will admit, I did not start these plants from seeds.  I’m an amateur remember!  I had already decided on a nice sunny spot in the rear of our yard to carve out for the garden.  After kicking the soil around and getting it good and turned I added my compost which I may add was perfectly cooked.  Yes, I have a compost “bin” that I constructed out of chicken wire.  It’s been sitting for almost four months now so I had enough to go around.  A quick note about composting, it’s so easy and honestly it doesn’t smell like I thought it would!  With all the composting and recycling we do in our house our trash is down to ONE bag a week.  Seriously, give it a try.

Veggie Garden

Before putting the plants in the ground I had to get them spaced out correctly.  I felt a little silly busting out the tape measure but I guess that’s the best way to get it right.  I followed the planting directions to a “t” and they were in!  I feel so accomplished, seriously.  I put the roma tomatoes and peppers in the ground while the parsley, basil and strawberries were better suited for some large pots I had laying around.



As I sit here writing I am wondering how this took Friday and Saturday to complete.  I think I’ve downplayed the work that went into this garden.  Not to mention 3 hours Friday and 3 hours Saturday that were spent weeding the yard.  Only to find out the WHOLE yard was weeds.  Once that was done I spread out some grass seed.  Now it’s a waiting game.


It’s such a nice feeling to be able to relax on our new patio and watch our little veggie plants.  I just hope I can keep them alive.  Unfortunately for my husband I think I’ve caught the ‘urban gardening’ bug.  I already asked if we could get a couple chickens for eggs.  C’mon who doesn’t want fresh free eggs?  Ha, stay tuned for that post!  Until next time my friends and as always thank you for reading.

Roma tomatoes

Tomatoes and peppers

Design for the designer gets comfy cozy

13 Apr

I recently picked up this amazing duvet cover at West Elm in Philly.  I went for the white but there are several other colors to choose from.  I just love the pin-tuck detail, it adds a feminine touch.  It’s just so inviting with all its fresh fluffiness!  Not only does it look gorgeous it is made with 100% organic cotton so you can sleep well knowing you aren’t rolling around in chemicals and dyes.

I’ll share an actual picture of the duvet on our bed when I decide to make it 🙂  I’m just holding out until I have all the bedding put together before I show off the final product.

This duvet cover will run you $79.00-$120.00 and they also have a comforter in the same style for those of you that don’t have a duvet.  If your budget is tight you can steel this look for less from the Better Homes and Gardens collection at Walmart, pricing ranging from $50-$70.00.

If you have any questions about interior design or home staging email  Make sure to check back and see our bedroom design progress!

More posts from this series:

A fresh start

DIY framed photos