Tulsa Love: Retro Den Homestyling, Part 3

It’s been a while since I posted a home update.  Early in 2017, I hired the Ashleys of Retro Den to come in and help me perk up my living room.  If you need a refresher, check the before pictures and story here and check my first session of homework here.  I cringed a little bit looking back at some of those before pictures while crafting this blog post.  I love my update so much, I’d completely blacked out how bad the before was.

Couch Considerations

After I painted the fireplace and took the map off the hook, my next biggest task was picking out furniture.  I really wanted a tufted, beige and big couch.  Also with nailhead trim.  Like this one.

I was pretty set on that style.  And was working hard to get the almost $800 it would take to get that couch through my front door (delivery and assembly fees are nuts!).  The Ashleys were very patient with me, and offered up many additional suggestions via text and Pinterest for me to consider.   A considerable amount of time went into the discussions about this couch purchase.  Here are a few key points the Ashleys made to me (gently, I didn’t feel pressured or upset at these at all):

  1. Sprenk, you have a black-haired dog and want a fancy beige-ish couch.  We love Miley (and you) but know that she is not trained to stay off the furniture because you love her too much.
  2. Do you want the couch and beautiful coffee table from our store to be the only pieces of furniture in your room?  Because your budget is flat gone if you purchase this couch.  No rug.  No plants.  No gallery wall.
  3. Your Pinterest board tells us you really want something a little more simple than this couch you’re attracted to.  What about this one?  Let your table be the star of the show.

That Ikea couch was ordered later that night.  And after a morning of self-assembling, I had a place to sit!  (Had been couchless a few weeks while I made up my mind).



Coming together!

My living room was arranged this way for a week or so while we sorted out what kind of rug I should get.  The Ashleys recommended (and again were spot on) a jute rug.  I found one on sale at Overstock.com and ordered it!

Between the couch, rug and a few key plants scattered around the room, my budget was about spent.  I am so happy I decided to forego the fancy couch for a complete feel in this room.  We started to browse for two arm chairs that could go opposite the couch when fate stepped in.

My new roommate Michelle (the same one who convinced me to run the marathon this year) has amazingly complementary taste to mine and her couch and chair just polished off the look.  So, I’m home free for a while until I find the perfect set of chairs for my space.

I refuse to put any of the before pictures on this page because they are so horrible.  You can go back to one of the original posts to see them, or read about this project from the Ashleys point of view on their blog.

Up next for this room is the gallery wall project that’s taken a few months for my slow moving hiney to get together.  Another perk about the Ashelys is they let you take your time doing your homework :).  If you haven’t hired them yet to style a space in your home, what are you waiting for?



Tulsa Love:Joe Station Dog Park

(please read this in a slightly broken British accent.  You know, as if Miley were speaking out loud to you.)

It’s a blog takeover today!  And that’s right, I’m a British street dog.  There’s no real reason for it except when mama makes me talk to her and other people, it always comes out in a slightly broken British accent.  You know, as if an American were trying to speak proper British.  But I let her entertain us and others with it.

Usually when mama writes these blog posts, I’m lying right next to her in bed.  She’ll tell you it’s because there’s nowhere else to sit in the house (true, there’s only a bench at the kitchen table for now) but I know it’s really because she is the most comfortable there and loves to snuggle up with me.

I know on Tuesdays she writes about things she loves about Tulsa so I thought a great way to get me to the dog park during the beautiful weather this week would be to recommend I guest blog for her….and it worked!  We went to run and chase balls yesterday.

Joe Station Dog Park is really close to the house – I think mama would run us there if it was not past the busy interstate but otherwise it’s just a quick car trip from downtown.  There are plenty of tennis balls provided to play with, water buckets and in the summer I love to play in the kiddie pools.

Most of the time I’ll run around chasing any ball that’s being thrown.  Mama does a good job of throwing them for me but sometimes I get distracted by others throwing balls too.  Or other kinds of balls like soccer balls.  I always go after those.  Luckily I’ve never heard owners get mad at mom, even though she gets embarrassed about me.  I just perk my ears up and wag my tail at people and they don’t mind.

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I love it.  Mama loves it so I can get tired without messing up her run.  Come play with us sometime!

Tulsa Love: Retro Den Home Styling

Before I officially settled in Tulsa, my sister friend Katie toured me around her favorite places.  Places I hope to tour you around via the blog or if you ever come visit.  One of the first on her list was a vintage furniture store called Retro Den and we were heading there for a succulent planting event.  Not a lover of furniture, vintage or plants I was far from convinced this would be great, but open minded anyway.

Flash forward 2.5 years later and one of my big resolutions is keeping a pot of their succulents alive and I’ve hired these girls to style my living room.  Obviously I was so wrong about how I would feel about my experience in the store, and actually ended up planting several succulents alongside A. Daly that very day, and putting a sale hold on a gorgeous industrial cart that just screamed at me.  Good work Katie Carp.


One variation of couch location

Those succulents have since died (not their fault, mine.) but that cart table is now the center of this styling session for my living room.  Fast friendships grew out of the Ashleys too, as they’re both so personable, warm and funny and I spent a lot of my early down time days hanging around their shop or bringing them food in exchange for little shop gifts.

As much as I’d like to do a full makeover and update to my house, I think it’s more realistic financially to just update the actual furniture.  My whole time in Tulsa I’ve been working with a strange mix of pieces I acquired in Memphis or Austin or from my parents’ attic/basement.  I had all the pieces that I needed but it looked like a patchwork quilt of furniture, and a cluttered one at that.

I had a little bit of money saved up, and I started selling pieces off. (The LetGo app and Facebook groups are a great place for this).  Soon I’d sold off all my living room furniture except my precious cart table and that brought about a proper theme for this Christmas (last year’s snow ski, this year furniture).  I asked for a couch, and that was it.  Santa generously pulled through with some couch cash and a suggestion to get a designer to go with it.  The Ashleys!


Couch and designer for Christmas

Before we even started our session, the As began gathering intel.  There were forms to fill out, Pinterest boards to make, screenshots to share.  This was surprising to me but shouldn’t have been.  I do the same thing to people when they start working out with me.  Why are you doing this?  What do you want to accomplish?  What are you willing to do?  Not do?  What’s your budget?


In my own attempt at designing my living room, I wanted it to center around travel and books.  I don’t have a television so wanted art on the walls to inspire chatter about places I’ve been or places to go.  Books on the shelves could be topics of chatter too.  The cart needed to stay.  I love the bookcases and the length of the room.  The mantle is overwhelming.  I want a gallery wall and a cozy country feel.  I want the room to feel open, calming, warm, inviting and friendly.  I want a tufted or nailhead trimmed sofa and cozy reading chairs, maybe a reading nook.  And a gallery wall.  My budget is about the price of the sofas I’m looking at.

We scheduled the consult for a Thursday morning at 9am.  Normally this is late in the day for me, but I was feeling under the weather and barely out of bed when they arrived offering coffee, bright yellow tulips and friendly chit chat.

First, we took a tour of my house.  In their styling sessions, the As will use pieces you already have in your home (especially if your budget is as small as mine) to “shop your space” and I knew they were probably looking around for those things.  But I was also beaming with excitement as they complimented other parts about my home.  I loved this house when I first toured it, and still do, but there’s something about being reminded why you fell in love with something in the first place, especially after it’s flaws start to come through (cabinet doors that don’t shut, painted shut windows, loosey goose doorknobs, shower knobs that don’t let the bath faucet on).  It’s important to say that these were genuine compliments; I don’t feel like they were fluffing me up to love them more.

The tile in my kitchen, the modern and old mix of furniture in my bedroom, the light from my windows, my quirky little bathroom sink.  They brought so much appreciation for my own home back to me, and I’m going to hold onto that forever.

Then it was down to business.  The living room.  The mantle.  Without hesitation, the first thing to go was the Christmas decor.  Since it is mid-January, I reluctantly complied.  They both agreed, based on the photos I submitted, that my big map could stay (yay!) but needed to just rest on the mantle instead of hang.  They cleared off the rest of it while I just stood back and watched.  Then we went hunting for things again, this time to the garage.  They spotted a metal basket and two old milk jugs from my parents’ basement that I loved when I saw them down there and had carted around through three living spaces.  My favorite part of the day (after the house loving of course) was watching them carefully wash and prepare these vintage jugs for use in my current living room.


The day-of before


Packing away Christmas

They brought them in and toodled around with the perfect placement.  I’m still just standing back watching, amazed at what’s happening before me.  They worked so well in sync together, checking in with me and my vision, but also just knowing my vision well enough to decide things together.

Besides being under the weather I think they could tell I was overwhelmed and were so kind in listening to my mini-panic about clearing off the mantle.  Last fall I’d spent a little over $100 on lanterns and candlesticks and big books to try to fill it out, and they just took them off.   It’s frustrating to feel like you tried on your own, and couldn’t find the look you wanted, but then such a relief to finally get the mantle under control (this is why you hire the As!).


Too soon our styling session was over and the cheery girls left me to bask in my delightfully arranged living room (still just with a cart in it but simplified), but not without homework.  I had five main tasks for the next month before we come tighter again.

  1. Buy a couch
  2. Paint the fireplace white
  3. Get a snake plant and some philodendron
  4. Only buy white things, and no more new pieces
  5. Look for a jute rug

I was a little nervous about being left to these devices on my own but the girls were supportive in answering questions I had (what kind of paint? where do I buy those plants?) and even pinned examples of it all to our shared Pinterest board.

The couch is ordered, the fireplace is painted and the plants are happy in their new home!  I can’t wait to share an updated post with you once the couch is in its place, but this one was meant more to focus on these delightful girls and their very-worth-it service.  If you’d like to read more about this service, check out this link.  At the very least, even if you’re not into furniture, vintage or plants, swing by their shop near 12 and Harvard to say hi.  You won’t be sorry.



Tulsa Tuesdays

One year ago this week I had moved everything into my house in Tulsa and was spending my last week in Austin as a guest in a friend’s home.  August 9th will mark one full year in Tulsa already – time is just whooshing by.

Even before I moved I’d found my favorites after several trips visiting:

  • Pizza: Andolini’s
  • Park: Guthrie Green
  • Hike: Turkey Mountain
  • Coffee: Foolish Things

But I’m thinking it’s time to bust out of the routine rut and try exploring some new places.  I did this in Memphis and Austin as I was on my way out, and while I have no plans to leave Tulsa, I do want to explore its people, places and things to do a little more than I have been.

Introducing………..Tulsa Tuesdays (can’t help it with the alliteration).  Each week I’ll write about a new Tulsa event, place, restaurant or business I explore sometime the week before.  This week I’ve got nothin’ for ya except to tell you about the new plan!  Here’s to exploring new things in your town 🙂

Exploring T-Town

Exploring T-Town