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We’ve Moved!

10 Feb

We’ve moved the Red Chair Market blog to a new address. Visit us here for all the latest posts!

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Where to Hang Your Curtains

4 Jun

Hanging curtains can be scary, and not just because of the risk of toppling off the ladder enveloped in fabric. Draperies can make a huge difference in the appearance of a room, but to get the most out of your efforts you need to hang them in the right place.

Where to hang curtains

Pro Tip

Heather Harkovich of Heather Scott Home and Design gave us some good guidelines. Apparently, many of us are kind of miserly when it comes to draperies, hanging them too close to the window, hampering the view and making your windows look small and inconsequential. To avoid this tragic mistake, follow Heather’s advice:

  • The curtain rod should be hung at least 6″ above the top of the window, preferably 12″
  • Same with the width, the rods should extend 6-12″ beyond the molding
  • Place your brackets far enough out that the curtains clear the molding

See more details and suggestions on Heather’s blog.  Now get hanging!  And don’t forget to ask someone to hold the ladder.

See more Pro Tips; and be sure to connect with us so you don’t miss anything!

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Red Chair Market connects buyers and sellers of quality, unique furniture in Austin, TX and the surrounding metro area.  Keep up with us as we expand to other Texas cities soon! 

Shop now for great finds on new, used, vintage and antique furniture.  

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Make your Artwork Pop with Color Blocks

19 Feb

Did you know that the famous Vermeer painting The Girl with the Pearl Earring is only 18″x15″?  And that the average house size is almost 2500 square feet? That can be a lot of wall space to fill, and you certainly don’t want your TGWTPE drowning in a sea of plaster on your 10″ tall wall. Nor do most of us want to invest in the Guernica just to fill space (among other reasons, it’s not the happiest painting in the world). So we turned to Austin interior designer Robin Callan of Room Fu Interiors who inspired this week’s tip.

Pro Tip


Pop! This simple blue background makes the piece stand out and also fills up space.

To make a small piece of artwork fill up more space visually, paint a color block behind it to give it an extra frame.  This serves to both fill up the wall, and emphasize the artwork through the strategic use of color.  In this example Room Fu was asked to spice up a long, boring entry hall without investing in a lot of new items.  By painting a coordinating block behind the artwork, it reads as a much bigger piece and adds some much-needed interest to the hallway (see the original post here).  To pick a shade, try pulling a tertiary color out of the piece you’re highlighting to give it depth.  Fortunately, paint is cheap, so you can afford to make a mistake or two before you get it right.  Room Fu’s example here is bold, but you could also consider just a shade or two lighter or darker than the wall color for a more subtle accent.  The more ambitious could even consider trying to frame the block with molding, although you’d have to be careful not to get too busy.

Below are a few other examples from the world wide web; doing wonders for a plain mirror, a small clock and a tiny portrait (click on the images for the original posts). So dig out that tiny priceless (or not so priceless) piece from the attic, grab a paintbrush and go to town.

Color block behind art

The tiny clock takes up the whole wall now.

Color block behind mirror

Same great color as Room Fu’s example, perking up a plain mirror.

Austin Clear Your Clutter Day: Start Fresh for Free

22 Jan
messy tupperware drawer

Totally not my drawer, I swear. Also totally not a pumpkin seed on the floor….

Did you know that there are people who will come to your home and organize your stuff? Not just make it look nicer like our friends the professional stagers and interior designers do, but actually organize it?  Who aren’t related to you and pass no judgement? Well there are!  I imagine it’s like having a fairy godmother (or father) float down from Container Store Heaven and sift through all those mismatched tupperware lids and categorize your socks by season. Dreamy!

Not only do these wonderful people exist, but they have an association, and the Association puts on the Clear Your Clutter Day in Austin every year.  It’s a day dedicated to cleaning and curating, giving you the perfect excuse to go through the closet and excavate your spouse’s grubby old sweatshirts or find a new home for that bedroom furniture that no longer has a bedroom to live in.

get organized month

It’s National Get Organized Month!

The folks at NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) have set up a dropoff location in Austin for this Saturday, January 26th from 10-2.  They’ll accept all sorts of things including paper to be shredded, clothing, household items and even some home remodeling items.

I had a chance to talk to Jennifer Lava, the Marketing Director for the Association and she gave me the rundown on some of the organizations that will on-site on Saturday.  (You can learn more here about how your donations will be used to improve the community.)

  • Habitat for Humanity -Home remodeling/repair items like working appliances, fixtures, bricks, and clean lumber
  • Dress for Success – Women’s gently used career clothing and accessories accessories, especially professional handbags & shoes, and new toiletries & cosmetics
  • AGE – Mobility equipment; shower chairs, seated walkers, wheelchairs, etc.
  • Settlement Home – Small furniture and household items, plus teenage girls’ clothing and accessories

You can also bring up to three boxes of papers to be shredded, old or broken electronics equipment and any other non-toxic item that may have missed the bulky pickup.


This deserves better than the garage!

So that’s great for the sweatshirts and all, but what about that homeless bedroom set?  If you’re not quite ready to part with it for free, or can’t move it because your brother-in-law needs his truck for the monster truck rally, then of course you’ll turn to Red Chair Market.  And to help celebrate Clear Your Clutter day, we’re offering free listings for the whole weekend!  Just enter coupon code CYCD13 at checkout, any time Friday through Sunday.

Here are the details again, we’ll see you on Saturday!

Saturday, January 26, 2013, 10:00am – 2:00pm

East Parking Lots of Bethany United Methodist Church
10010 Anderson Mill Road, Austin, TX 78750 (near 183)

(Note: one carload per family) 

Thanksgiving: The Forgotten Holiday

19 Nov
Turkey lights

Yes, Virginia, there are turkey lights.

Well, not really.  But it does seem like with the growing marketability of Halloween (the average person spent over $70 on Halloween costumes and decorations in 2011), and all-consuming Christmas frenzy, Thanksgiving kind of gets lost in the middle.  I went to Lowes to buy (among other things) a chrysanthemum, and they didn’t have any!  Five million ginormous Christmas bl0w-ups, Christmas trees already and ten thousand different kind of lights, but no chrysanthemums.  What is this world coming to?

I really love holidays so it’s hard to pick a favorite, but Thanksgiving is really up there.  We’ve always been a “more the merrier” family, and my father has for years had a “pre-Thanksgiving” party the Sunday before (going on as I write!) and entertains 30 or 40 people.  When I moved to Austin I started inviting all the orphans over to my house. It started out as a mostly-singleton event, but has evolved over the years to include the now-married former singletons and offspring, the now-moved-to-Austin parents of said singletons and of course Mr. Handsome and the kids.

Painting leaves

The Divine Miss L, working like a pro with her mask on (safety first!)

So back to my original complaint.  There aren’t very good Thanksgiving decorations.  Sure, there are some reddish/orangish/brownish things to be found, but has anyone noticed there aren’t any Thanksgiving lights?  Not that I’m saying I want to decorate with glow-in-the-dark turkeys or anything, but a tasteful garland with some golden lights would be nice.  Yes, I could make one (and maybe I will next year) but this year this little business venture has kept me pretty busy, so I had to think small.

Given my recent enamorment (is that a word?) with spray-paint, and the fact that we had some metallic paint laying around**,  I figured we’d paint something. We had the kids around this weekend, so I conscripted The Divine Miss L to help.  We went around the yard and picked up leaves, then painted them with gold, copper and bronze spray paint.  We got out my grandmother’s 80 year-old damask napkins and I taught L how to iron (score!) and then we tied them up with a simple brown ribbon and tucked the leaves in them.  I think they turned out pretty nifty!  And it was easy.

Napkins with leaf decorations

The left is a hackberry leaf with a wild onion seedhead, the right is a maple leaf with ligustrum berries. All found in the backyard!

We experimented with a few centerpieces as well, but I’m not sure we’re quite there yet.  I always lean toward tall ones, and then am annoyed with myself as I have to move them in order to see my dinner companions.  But here are a few tries.

Not quite there yet. The first one is my attempt at “artsy”, which I never quite get right. The second is too tall. We’ll keep at it.

For some ideas from more accomplished decorators,  check out Camille Styles, and our new favorite blog, Curbly.

However you decide to decorate (or not), enjoy a Thanksgiving filled with great food and good friends.

** Why we have gold spray paint.

Stepson #2, Mr. Enthusiasm, is obsessed with weaponry, as most 10 year-old boys are.  I don’t like it, but it seems inevitable and hopefully temporary.  He convinced his father to make  him a gun out of wood, which Daddy did a little too capably.  Painted black, it looked scarily real.  I told him that he couldn’t take it in to the front yard unless we painted the tip orange to minimize the chance he’s confused with a very small, non-stop talking gangsta.  He was horrified that I would consider defacing his prize possession, so we were at a standoff. We were saved by shiny gold spray paint.  I agreed that it would be very hard to confuse this gilded hunk of wood with a real gun, and he thought a gold gun was the coolest thing ever.  Thank you Mr. Bond.

Before and After: Transforming More Than Just Space

12 Oct

I have just recently learned to understand and appreciate real estate staging.  Yes, I realize that’s not the same as coming to appreciate my own mortality (which I don’t), but it was an eye-opener just the same.

We listed our rental house over the summer and our realtor suggested we have it staged.  I was skeptical, but Nora is always right, so I said sure.  I was even more skeptical when all this random furniture showed up in the garage.  However, the transformation was amazing. A bid was put on it almost immediately, and at the closing the buyers mentioned that the staging was a big part of the appeal.


The “before”.

So given what these miracle-workers can do with a suburban tract home, it’s not surprising that they can pull something special off when it’s for a really good cause.  The Austin chapter of the IAHSP recently swooped  in and transformed a cottage for some 17- and 18-year old girls who are living at the Settlement Home.

If you’ve found Red Chair Market, you likely understand how profoundly one’s physical environment can affect mental and emotional health.  For many of us, finding that fabulous chair to fill an empty corner or the perfect shade of chartreuse for the powder room can bring us a warm glow for weeks. For the young women at the Settlement Home, who have all been through some serious traumas in their young lives, just having a safe place to live is a blessing.  But to have it designed with thought and care in to a truly “pretty” space is another step in their own transformation in to trusting and productive adults.

Here are a few pictures before and after.  I spoke to the President of the Association, Richard Kline, and he described why the association chose the project and the reaction from the girls during the “big reveal”.


After the transformation.

“These young women have worked very hard to reach this stage in their development. We wanted to do what we could to brighten their environment – and they were thrilled with the results. There were very few dry eyes in the room.”

The Settlement Home has done amazing work supporting young women in difficult family situations.  I encourage you to visit their site and learn more about them.  And if you’re selling a home, or even just need a professional eye for a quick update, find a local stager to help you recreate your own space.
P. S. Shop AND support the Settlement Home at the annual Charity Garage Sale.  Get tickets to the Preview Party for first dibs!

Things Not to Put in Your Carryon

14 Sep

As I’ve warned before, we may occasionally veer off in to food here. Beautiful spaces should be accented by wonderful tastes, that’s how I justify it.

I love fall food, probably because it’s more loaded with calories than skimpy summer stuff. Salad’s good and all, but how can it compare to something hearty and yummy like a good spicy chili or thick cassoulet?

Oh how he fussed about wearing this tuxedo, but he looks so handsome!

I’m sharing a recipe inspired by my father, an avid cook and gardener.  We were recently up in Colorado and he sent us home with one of these white scalloped squashes (which, incidentally, will get your carryon searched at the airport).  He had stuffed a few of them at home, so I decided to give it a try myself.  I didn’t have a whole lot of ingredients on hand and was loath to go to the grocery store for the 900th time that week, so I made do with what I had.  It turned out great – even the kids liked it.

Stuffed Scalloped Squash

Dad scooped out the flesh before he baked it, but otherwise the process was the same.

First, bake the squash at 350 for about 40 minutes to soften it up.  Then make a thin slice off the top (the more rounded side).  Scoop out the flesh with a melon-baller and chop it up.  While the squash is cooking, saute some onion and garlic, and steam some wild rice.  Then combine it all, season with salt and pepper, toss in some fresh chopped parsley and Parmesan and stuff the filling back in to the squash.  Sprinkle on some bread crumbs and put it back in the oven for 20 or so minutes.

Yum! And pretty healthy too.

Voila! My dad put some sausage in his, which would have been yummy if we’d had some.  I would think this technique could work pretty well with other squashes too, I’m going to try some tiny pumpkins later on this fall.

Have a great stuffed-squash recipe?  Share it with us, and I’ll pass it on to Dad too!

P.S. Here is a picture of Dad’s yard.  See more here.

In full bloom.

Reduce, Recycle, Re-use

6 Jul


Look around your house.  Do you need all that stuff?  Probably not.  At the risk of sounding too hippie, we really all do acquire too much these days, and it’s often tempting to buy something because it’s cheap and not because we LOVE it.  Imagine how charming your house would look if everything in it was something you loved.  No, maybe it wouldn’t be Architectural Digest material, but it would reflect your personality and style. Take a critical look at a room or two and see if you can skim off anything.


Floral Sofa

There are a couple of great refurbished pieces on the site right now.  So take some inspiration from a few of these pieces below and consider having your less-than-loved items refinished.  A coat of paint? New fabric?  If that doesn’t quite do it, take a look on Red Chair Market and see if you can find something with good “bones” that could be freshened up.


Moving things around is the cheapest way to get a boost.  If it’s in the budget, considering hiring an interior designer to come over and give you his or her unbiased eye.  If not, get some of your more stylish friends to come over, ply them with wine and let them go to town.  The important thing is to keep an open mind; let your designer or your friends go crazy.

You can always move it all back.

Handy Style Glossary

18 Apr

Nice, but what do I ask for in the furniture store?

In trying to come up with the “style” selections for Red Chair Market, I struggled deciding which ones to include.  I’m guessing most of us aren’t really completely sure what characterizes Mission vs. Arts and Crafts (Here’s an answer, in case you’re wondering  So I picked the ones I though were the most common, but in my research I found a pretty good listing and description of the most common decorating styles.

Here’s your chance for feedback; check out the categories we have listed on Red Chair Market  and let us know if we got it right.  What’s missing?  What’s redundant?  We’d love your feedback.