The Cafe Corner [A Small Space DIY]

The Cafe Corner [A Small Space DIY] - offbeat + inspired

Moving from a big rental house to a small third floor apartment has been a bit of an adjustment. In a really good way! For starters, it dawned on me that although I’ve been patting myself on the back for the last 5 years on how responsibly I’ve avoided all manner of hoarding…I am, in fact, a hoarder. With all the extra space in our house rental, I didn’t even realize how much useless STUFF I had been hauling with me. Stuff I wouldn’t even know existed until it was time to move again, and I’d think,  ’Awww, someday I’m gonna want that!’ Girl, no. Someday you’re gonna admit that a tattered cardboard box is the only love that thing will ever see. Basically, this little apartment has helped me master the art of tossing boxes without opening them. A major space saver.

The Cafe Corner [A Small Space DIY] - offbeat + inspired

Another thing I’ve had to adjust to is that while not having a ton of storage space has been good for me, not having a ton of space in general makes organizing the necessities a bit of a challenge. We don’t have room for a dining room table anymore. I LOVE having people over for meals, so this conundrum has been on my mind for a few weeks. I decided that since the living room with 2 sofas and a big coffee table has the most seating right now, adding more seating and table space to that room would be my best bet. Sure, everyone won’t be able to sit together like we could at the big house, but we’d at least all be in the same room…which is more than I can say for the other ideas I’ve had (I’ll spare you the details).

The Cafe Corner [A Small Space DIY] - offbeat + inspired

This is where the “Cafe Corner” comes in. I’ve been drooling over cafe interiors for a long time now. Whenever I visit a new city, the good coffee houses are the first places I want to visit. I love how the styles can differ so much from place to place, yet they all share the common threads of cozy, comfortable and inspiring. With inviting nooks to set up camp and read, snooze, chat, drink, or whatever your busy self needs at the moment, it’s a breeding ground for relaxation and creativity — a vibe that can and should exist in a home. So I brought a little taste of my favorite cafe set-ups to the apartment by adding a wooden bar to one of the living room windows and brightening it up with some happy stools. Now there’s extra seating and eating space in the living room, AND I have myself a new work spot, breakfast nook, or a comfortable place to unwind while I enjoy my view of downtown Lexington with a hot cup of tea.

The Cafe Corner [A Small Space DIY] - offbeat + inspired

It’s hilarious how easy this was. It cost less than $200 (including the brand new stools) and took about 20 minutes to install. So if you have a little extra cash and about an hour of free time to do some shopping, here’s what you’ll need:

- One 12″ wide, 96″ long, 3/4″ thick wood panel/board. I found mine at Lowe’s and it was about $14 for the whole thing. I paid $1 for them to cut it in half for me so I had two 48″ long planks. I sandwiched them together to make a thicker table for the bar. If you want to just get a thicker piece of wood to begin with, do it! But it will probably be more expensive.

- Wood Glue

- Fourteen 1″ screws. I got the 6 x 1-Inch Coarse Thread

- Eight 9 x 3 screws. I got the 9 X 3-Inch Wood Screws

- Two mounting brackets. I got the Tour Eiffel Brackets from Anthropologie. (They’re GORGEOUS.)

- Pack of Sandpaper

- Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax

- Clean rags or a t-shirt

- Two stools. I got the Carlisle Metal Bar Stools in Yellow from Target. (Two for $99.99, which is INSANE for this quality and style. I’ve seen these going for $125+ per stool! Also, I’m pretty sure there’s a deal going until April 12 where if you purchase two sets of 2 (4 stools total), you get 30% off the second set.)

Tools needed: a power drill or Phillips head screwdriver and a tape measure or level.

*Tip: thrift or salvage the stools and wood to bring the total cost of this project down to about $40!

Instructions

1. Choose the prettiest side of your wood boards and designate that one as the top. Flip it over and apply wood glue all over the back while staying a good 2-3 inches away from the edges. If you come too close to the edges, when you sandwich the other wood board on top of it, glue will ooze from the sides and it’ll be a pain to clean up. Once the glue is applied, place the other board on top of it (ugly side down if there is one) and try to make the edges line up while the glue is still wet. Hold it there for a few minutes. If the edges aren’t perfect, it’s ok. You’ll sand it later.

2. Take 10 of your 1″ screws and screw them into the boards in 2 rows of 5. Try to space them evenly because their purpose is simply to reinforce the wood glue. Once all the screws are in, you can flip the whole thing over and set it aside.

3. Set the stools up next to the window and sit on one to figure out a comfortable table height. Then mark the wall or trim where your first bracket will go with pencil.

4. Mount one of the brackets with 4 of the long screws, making sure the bracket is as straight as possible.

5. Take your wood board and rest one end of it on your mounted bracket. Use a tape measure to figure out where the other bracket should be mounted so that the table is completely level. You can also place a level on the table to figure this out. Mark where the other bracket should go with a pencil, set the table aside and mount the second bracket with 4 more long screws.

6. Lay the table on the brackets and make sure it’s centered and pushed back towards the wall/window as far as it can go. Have someone hold it tight while you use your remaining 1″ screws to secure the table to the brackets.

7. Sand down any rough corners or overlapping edges with coarse grit sand paper and then smooth the whole thing over with a fine grit paper. Wipe it down so it’s ready for wax.

8. At this point you can stain or paint the table however you want, but I loved the grain and knots on the wood I used, so I just applied a coat of Annie Sloan Soft Wax. For this, I took a clean rag, scooped out a little wax and rubbed it over the bare wood in circular motions until the whole thing was evenly coated. Be sure to smooth out any thick spots of wax. I focused on the top and sides of the table. (Basically anywhere that might suffer from spills.) Let it harden for about half an hour, then you can smooth it with fine grit sandpaper and apply another coat for extra protection. You can also skip coat 2 and just decorate and enjoy your new Cafe Corner! I was impatient, so I only applied one coat, but two is probably best.

The Cafe Corner [A Small Space DIY] - offbeat + inspired

The Cafe Corner [A Small Space DIY] - offbeat + inspired

Do you think you’ll give this project a try? What are some small-space living conundrums you’re having? Let’s discuss!

The Cafe Corner [A Small Space DIY] - offbeat + inspired

Coffee + Cardamom Zeppole

Coffee + Cardamom Zeppole - offbeat + inspired-4

In an effort to expand my cooking repertoire, I’ve been experimenting with new dishes, techniques and recipes. I don’t often make desserts, so I figured that would be a great (and tasty) area in which to step up my culinary game. The latest sweet treat? Italian fried doughnuts, also called zeppole. Yup – deep-fried, buttery, sweet dough covered in sugar. What’s not to love?

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“Wistring” Spiced Mocha Buttermilk Pancakes

Wistring Spiced Mocha Buttermilk Pancakes - offbeat + inspired

These are the in-between days. It’s not hot, it’s not cold, it’s not dry, it’s not wet. One day it’s uncomfortably warm and the next it’s snowing. I’m never quite sure how to deal with this little window of not-still-winter-not-yet-spring, but my tendency has been to dive head first into skirts, sandals and barbecue planning — which of course lands me in a fit of frustration. Not fun. I’ve decided it’s time for me to start treating these in-betweens like their own special season. I’ll call it “Wistring”.

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Fashion For Your Face + A Giveaway [Featuring Rowley Eyewear] (Giveaway Ended!)

Fashion For Your Face + A Giveaway [Featuring Rowley Eyewear] - offbeat + inspired

Frames: No. 99 in “Tortoise” [Mr. Powers by Rowley Eyewear], Lip Color: Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in “Temper” (dupe for MAC Lipglass in “Caqui”, discontinued)

 

All the girls in my family wear glasses. Except me. I’m not sure why I lucked out with the decent set of eyeballs, but being a daughter of 1 and sister of 2 ocularly challenged females, I’m familiar with the frustrations of finding stylish and affordable frames. Since glasses have been on my fashion radar for the past few years, I’ve realized that even though their sight-improving abilities are essential — as a pure accessory, I’m obsessed.

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Upcycled TV Tray

Upcycled TV Tray 3 - offbeat + inspired

I absolutely love garage sale, secondhand and “side of the road” shopping. There’s something about transforming what many see as junk into beautiful and functional decor. Even items that appear simple or drab can be remade into a one of a kind piece.

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A Giveaway (actually 2!) With Katie Dean Jewelry

 

I’ve been overdosing on Instagram lately. Seriously. Just when I start to wonder if it’s gone to unhealthy extremes, I stumble across a beautiful feed that turns into a new kindred-spirit sister-friend and all my faith in Instagramming as a permanent (necessary) fixture in life is renewed. I met Katie Dean of Katie Dean Jewelry this way only a few short months ago. She left some lovely comments on my pictures, and when I browsed her feed and checked out her shop, I fell in love. She’s sweet as can be, stunningly gorgeous, uber talented and stylish, and has made quite a name for herself in the jewelry world. Her pieces have been worn by all kinds of celebrities and have popped up in shows like Parenthood and Glee! [I passed out a little when I saw them in Parenthood. Tad bit obsessed with that show.] Basically, GO GIRL!!

Katie’s style is such a perfect mix of bold and understated. She creates adorable, on-trend statement pieces as well as chic, delicate basics that you’ll want to live in. I’ve completely fallen for the Wrap Arrow Mid-Ring and the Light As A Feather Earrings as dailies, and when I want to go more playful or edgy, the Wise Warrior Necklace and the Forever & Always Bracelets have become true favorites. [All pictured in this post!]

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Spiced Bourbon Coffee

Spiced Bourbon Coffee - offbeat + inspired-6

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” 
-Edith Sitwell

In the fall when temperatures start to drop, I find myself looking forward to winter. There’s something romantic, serene and comforting about the season that forces me into hibernation. Outdoor activities give way to quiet evenings at home, and lively summer barbecues turn to intimate dinners. The first few snowfalls cover everything with a brilliant white blanket, and holiday festivities help me avoid the impending cabin fever.

Eventually, the enjoyment of winter fades away and is replaced by an eager anticipation of spring. It’s this time of year that I’m weary of the cold. The occasional sunlight teases as it warms me through my kitchen window – spring must be coming! And then I walk outside, only to turn back in my house to don a few more layers of clothing.

When everything in me craves the warmer season to come, it’s easy to forget the joys of winter. This year, however, I’m trying to be more intentional, taking advantage of what this season has to offer. Spring will come. But meanwhile, there’s still time for admiring snow-laden trees, bundling up under a cozy blanket and quietly sipping on Spiced Bourbon Coffee by the fire.

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Banana-Rum Scones

Banana-Rum Scones - offbeat + inspired-5

Years ago over one of my winter breaks in college, my mom and I spent a week together in New Hampshire. While some of my friends traveled to warmer climates, I opted for snowy mountains. I had the chance to snowboard, my mom and I snowshoed and we soaked in the beauty of the outdoors. To top it all off, we made sure to enjoy incredible food.

While wandering around the local area, we came across a quaint little bakery selling freshly baked muffins, scones and other pastries. The scones they had there remain the best ones I have ever tasted in my life. Maybe it was the beautiful evergreen trees layered with sparkling flakes and the blanket of crunching snow under my feet that made a warm scone and a cup of coffee taste so amazing. Or maybe those flaky, buttery treats were special because they were a culinary discovery I shared with my mom. Whatever it was, that experience turned me into a scone lover.

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Clean Eating | Broiled Grapefruit with Yogurt + Cinnamon

Broiled Grapefruit with Yogurt + Cinnamon - offbeat + inspired-9

I don’t mind the cold and snow during the beginning of winter, but around this time of year I start to get antsy. My love for cuddling up with comfort food in front of the fireplace gives way to a desire to eat on a restaurant patio, run along the riverfront path or head over to the neighbor’s for drinks and laughs around their fire pit.

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Exciting News!! A Fashion Illustration Collaboration With Copic Marker

Copic Fashion Design Wallet Illustrations by Tiffany (@tifforelie) of offbeat + inspired

I’ve been waiting for MONTHS to share this with you guys, and I’m so so so excited to finally let the cat out of the bag. I was approached this past fall by Copic Marker, the creators of my absolute favorite fashion illustration tools. They asked me to design a few pieces for them to use on the packaging of a brand new product that they would be launching in 2014: the Sketch 24pc Fashion Design Wallet. This is a convenient little pouch that includes 24 beautiful sketch marker colors, perfect for fashion designers and illustrators. Needless to say, I freaked out (and I’m still freaking out), said yes and have been (not so patiently) anticipating the release ever since. So without further ado: introducing the brand new Copic Fashion Design Wallet starring 2 fancy gals!

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