My day job as a Realtor®-Salesperson in SOMa, NJ in addition to managing the weekly publication of this blog is hectic, as is mothering three children, so incorporating manageable, doable DIY is an important creative outlet for me.

Taking on a fun project that makes my children happy, such as a magnetic chalkboard wall, or adds beauty, like my kitchen chairs refinished in Annie Sloane paint, or adds a cool statement piece, such as my outdoor bar cart, gives me such a sense of accomplishment.  Especially when I get great results and only spent a few dollars.

Not everything goes perfectly and mistakes are made. It’s all documented here.

Four Chairs and a Pot of Annie Sloan Paint

When we bought our first home, my parents gave us their kitchen table, a dark-wood, colonial type.I grew up with that table, just like my kids are – hours of homework, family meals,arts and craft projects, telephone chats with my girlfriends, coffee conversations with my nana and aunties – it even saw my mother’s friends enjoy their smokes. (It was 1

A pot of Annie Sloan paint in "Pure White".

A pot of Annie Sloan paint in “Pure White”.

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A Ballet Barre as Installation Art, A Young Ballerino Finds His Special Place

Natural Elements Meets Industrial Design

If you’re Linda Beck of South Orange NJ, you’re at home in natural environs where the simplest of scavenger hunts can turn up the most wondrous of objects. Like endless searches for skeletal treasures, find remnants of a wild life lived in Virginia’s foothills. Or when frequent visits to the local duck pond at Flood’s Hill seal a lifelong friendship with the ancient snapping turtle who holds court there.

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An Outdoor Bar Cart for Your Fine Lawn Party and Boozy Needs

GOAL: Makeover a rusty mid-century modern three-tiered shelving unit on two wheels into an elegant outdoor bar cart for my stone patio.

On our last moving run from our South Orange house house to our Maplewood house, we thought we finally got everything. We were wrong – my husband forgot my grandmother’s mid-century modern metal bar cart. And it’s not like you can go back after closing and say,

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Magnetic Chalkboard Wall

GOAL: Create a large chalkboard wall to display the loads of artwork created by my three kids – all at the same time.

Admittedly, this is gonna be a difficult and somewhat time-consuming project. It will take at least an entire weekend. If you’re like us, you have pile of artwork created by your kids and no place to hang it. Well, actually I have come up with other ways to showcase their works (i.e.

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How to Paint a Bistro Set in Bright Yellow and Blue

GOAL: To paint a bistro set that is peeling and chipping and turn it into a fun and colorful addition to my kid’s outdoor play area.

My kids love playing outdoors and feeding them where they play in the great doors makes clean up 10X easier! Who cares about crumbs?!? I found a metal bistro set for eight dollars at a local estate sale.

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FOUNDER & LEAD CONTENT STRATEGIST I live in a gorgeous 1895 Victorian otherwise know as No.139, with my husband Gary McDaniel, who is a frequent foodie contributor to this blog, and our three kids. While only four other families have called this place home, some of them made really bad choices that altered it’s classic design. And there was a cheapo flipper in the mix too. Now, we’re cleaning up their messes. This blog is a creative outlet for the love of home design and art, doable DIY, indulging in good eats, and throwing a good party. While I write many of our articles, I’m not the only voice. Tradespersons, small business owners, or our good neighbors with special talents will share what they’ve learned through posts, photography, and video. Think about it. Who better to give you advice on landscape design, a well-stocked bar, or how to hire (and fire) the right contractor for your home reno than those who do it for a living or simply a passion to give voice to their hobby? My day (and weekend) job as a REALTOR®-Salesperson for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Maplewood, NJ, gives me a unique opportunity to peek inside homes. Whether a it’s a sparkling or still-in-the-rough kind of diamond – all are dream worthy. I manage my real estate biz through my brand, INHABIT SOMa by Carla Labianca.

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