Scarlett's Sensational Secondhand Space

Scarlett's Sensational Secondhand Space

Carrie McBride
Jan 12, 2010

Name: Scarlett
Age: due in January
Location: Silicon Valley, California

Most third (or fourth or fifth...) children are used to hand-me-downs from the very start, but when your mom pours her heart into making each thrifted, passed down or repurposed item beautiful and special for you there's nothing to complain about. Scarlett will be the newest addition to Jodi's family and the first girl. Her cozy, charismatic room is filled with feminine touches (many handmade by mom) without feeling the least bit frilly or frivolous.

Scarlett will be bouncing into this world (and this room!) any day now, but we're so pleased her mom, Jodi, had time to tell us more about how she put this beautiful room together and on a budget no less.

Where did you find inspiration for Scarlett's room? Flea markets, antique stores, and a love for ruffles!

What's your favorite element or piece? The green dresser, found in the dumpster of a thrift store! I loved the legs on it and the detail, so I sanded it, painted it, removed the casters, and changed the ended up being a $30 project. I've had it for 5 years and it's always waited to be used in a girl's room!

What would you call your biggest challenge? The budget was very limited... all of furniture but the crib was already in our home. By trying to be more resourceful, I found it a great challenge incorporating a dark cherry glider from the boys' room, a black lamp stand, a green dresser, a pine bench, and a white crib, but in the end, the hodge-podge gave me the "flea market" look I was looking for.

What do your friends say when they walk in the room? Cheery, creative, and crafty.

What's your proudest DIY project in the room? I would have to say the flannel/crocheted blanket (on the bench). The super soft flannel was on sale and the crocheted edging was too sweet to pass up. After finishing it, I thought, "I would have definitely struggled not buying this at a boutique for five-times the cost!" (it ended up costing less than $12 to make).

We know you were on a budget, but what was your biggest indulgence? There wasn't a lot to indulge on as most everything in the room was already in our home (or hand-made), but out of the purchases, I would say the crib bumper. I got in touch with a gal at Etsy (Kory's Kradle) to make it for me. I sent her the design I wanted and the fabric and she made it for an unbelievably low price. I had planned on making it myself, but I decided in the end to pay for someone more experienced to do it. I'm glad I did!

What's your best piece of decorating advice for other parents? Find one piece to work off of (for me it was two swatches of fabric), then let your imagination roll from there. Don't be afraid of color!

Money aside, do you have a dream resource? There wasn't a specific source although I do love Anthropologie. How I wish they would create a children's line - not that I can purchase anything from them, but at least be inspired by their genius and somehow attempt to replicate it!.

Can you tell us about some of your sources? All of the furniture (except for the crib) were items we already owned. The bumper was made by Brenda, the white curtains were inexpensive and bought at Target (as well as the turquoise pillow), I added the ruffles on the curtains. Most room accessories I already had around the house (except for the crocheted-dress mobile--I found those dresses at an antique store). Everything else was handmade from leftover fabric!

This will be your first girl, how did creating a room for her differ from your sons? Easier? Harder? More fun? There's a definite theme going on here... I have obviously gone as "girlie" as possible without using too much pink (although this room has it's fair share!). Creating this room was much more fun. I decided to just pick a fabric to base the room on. I was naturally drawn to the style of shabby chic--specifically vintage roses, but I am a fan of color, and shabby chic is very pastel. I also wanted this to grow with her and not be too babyish. The room took a bit longer to put together as I ended up making a lot of the items (including a revamped lamp that wears my great-grandmother's brooch)... I didn't sew when I had both of the boys, so I was limited in the creativity department on that end. With Scarlett's room, I learned that anything I envisioned, I could just make. It was very liberating!

Any tips for finding thrifted or used furniture or decor - where do you find your best stuff and what do you look for? Most of the furniture in our home is thrifted or a hand-me--down. I have painted or stained all of them. My husband and I have gotten very skilled at repairing, sanding, painting and distressing! My advice would be to find a piece of furniture online, at a store, or magazine for inspiration, and then look for a similar size at a thrift store. If you struggle in the vision department, don't worry, paint and new hardware change everything! Don't be afraid to purchase something that is beat up...if it has any potential at all, you can make it look great. We often use wood filler for holes, large gashes, scratches, etc. Also, don't be afraid of color (a repetitive suggestion, I suppose!). Dressers make great statement pieces--especially when painted a statement color.

Looking at what you've made we'd never guess you were relatively new to sewing, what would you say to encourage someone who's interested in learning to sew, but intimidated? Any great resources to share for beginners? It's funny you ask as it has taken years for me to get the guts to sew! I've always had ideas that I knew would be much more inexpensive to make if I just knew how to sew, not to mention, it is very disappointing when you envision something and can't find it anywhere. Finally, my friend, Melissa inspired me. She makes these very handy eco-friendly snack bags and sells them on Etsy. After buying a few of them, I decided I wanted some of my own. So I went to Wal-Mart, got the simplest machine and took the plunge. Once I overcame my fear of threading the bobbin, I have not stopped sewing! My advice would be to pull yourself together and do it--also, leave your machine set up, it will get much more use. Until we were able to convert our office into an office/ craft room, I had it set up in the garage. I also set a huge goal for myself. Having two boys under four, we have a lot of children's birthday parties to attend. I decided to hand-make a gift each time. I'm proud to say I have yet purchased a gift in a whole year--and the projects have been very simple--capes, banners, aprons, crayon wallets, and snack bags. By setting that challenge, I have gotten a little bit better at sewing... and of course, Scarlett's room and wardrobe has brought on a whole new set of sewing challenges...all with welcome arms (or hands for that matter)!

Thanks so much Jodi! We're looking forward to hearing the happy news of Scarlett's arrival soon! Readers, you can visit Jodi at her blog, The Bee Hive, and see more of her beautiful photography at Jodi Mockabee Photography.

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