Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Color! Part 2

Mark this day in your calendar.  I think I may have conquered the window treatment domestic demons.  I mean I hope I have.  I went to JCP last night and they had a wide range of choices.  I had to immediatlely sidestep the displays that were just over the top with the scarves and the tassles, etc.  But I actually ended up falling in love with something more formal than I thought I wanted.

Pretty gorgeous eh?  Look at that color compliment with the paint swatch!

I actually picked one panel of this and then a panel of a simpler embroidered sheer - but this won out very quickly when we held it up to the window.  I almost hate to move furniture back in that will block it!  (a new furniture layout plan is definitely in my future here)  I bought some beautiful rods in a bronze finish with clip rings to give a little extra length and height to the curtains....I can't wait to hang them!  Combining this with the bamboo roman shades in pecan (not quite this, but close)...

...will kind of make the formal curtains a little more casual (I hope). I have to order a custom size for the windows though...no off the shelf on these shades...so back to JCP I go.

As promised, here is the room in progress.  Green-Green go away (4 coats of primer to cover this Ralph Lauren texture paint)...see how the new bathroom flows right off this and how great it will look to match the chair rail color?

New color on the wall!  Beautiful soft sage....trim still to do.  The pictures don't really do it justice...the color is MUCH softer now.

I bought some seat covers from Surefit that I thought would work (once I add a little batting to puff up the cushions a bit) on our old red tapestry desk chairs...but too green...and they so don't go with the beautiful new drapes, so I'm going to go for the cream plain finish.

And yes, my messy paint job did include getting some drops on the floor, which I will be cleaning and sanding - but the floors are in terrible shape and would have needed a total re-finish anyway, so no harm done.  Since this room is so bloody cold all winter, we're going for wall-to-wall carpet, not hardwood.  This will make it the only room thus far in the house with carpet, and that is the next step.

Choosing the perfect floor covering.  Wish me luck.

Monday, March 22, 2010


We've had a lot on our plates in recent weeks and sometimes life just gets in the way of home projects. But this weekend, with lovely weather outside, I opened all the windows wide and broke out the primer and the paint and got to work.  It took about 5 hours on Saturday and 4 coats of primer and then another 3 hours and 2 coats of paint, but the room looks pretty good.  By Sunday afternoon I had lost patience (which equates to losing finesse) and decided not to start working on the trim.  That is for a day when I feel like paying attention to straight lines and edges.

The color is a success.

After we had purchased it, I was skeptical that I had made the right decision...perhaps we should have gone with a paler color...but it looks beautiful. And when the trim is refreshed (it is already white, but needs some TLC) it will really pop.  Plus adding the crown molding will make a huge difference as well.

I thought we had selected a carpet color that would work, but again, I'm questioning  my original choice.  I think I need to sort out a window treatment and get the fabric samples in the house along with the carpet samples.  The carpet sample process is such a hassle since both HD and Lowes require a $25/board deposit and then the sample colors are about 2 inches by 3 inches....hardly enough to see if you really like the color and pattern.

Other ideas I'm still playing with include the closet.  I had Closet Maid online do two designs for us.  I input some rough measurements and then some idea of what kind of storage I needed.  Within 24 hours I had two options in place along with a complete list of components for each.  Pretty cool. 

We decided it might be best to contact a closet professional for installation help.  If the quote is too high, we can always use the equipment list to get it ourselves.  I've pretty much given up on my idea of the high-end closet doors though.  I'm thinking new paint and new hardware and the existing doors will be fine.  Although we have to determine why they scrape against one another at top...I'm thinking a rogue screw that's not all the way in is the problem.

So, this week (before I leave for another business and personal trip), I hope to stop in at a local JCP and check in with the window treatment folks to educate myself.  If the deal is good enough, I'll even buy it there instead of moving on to the less expensive Target options.

Stay tuned.  (wall color images will come in next post)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Before & After: The Dining Room(s)

Until we moved to the Yellow Cottage we had never before had a dining room.  And now...we had two (sort of).  The configuration of our kitchen meant there was a small dining room size space that sat at the juncture of the kitchen proper and the dining room.  What would we do with two??

Here we are in one of the first holidays in our new home.  You can see that the walls were cream with some lettered stenciling at the top.  Also, over opposing doorways was a full-length shelf that we (as is our want) immediately filled with books.  The curtains were k-mart specials and the artowork was whatever we had that could hang on nails already in place.  The table and chairs were the DIY set we bought, assembled and polyeuthaned ourselves the year we got married.  Needless to say...everything needed to change.

First, the paint scheme.  We removed the shelves, painted a fresh, but similar, rich cream on the walls, and then the WOW factor came from the antique ruby and white chair rail we added on the lower half.

In a Smith & Noble catalog I fell in love with this floral fabric and ordered a balloon shade.  I have to say my measuring issues did come out a bit here...I should have gone wider and also allowed for a deeper return considering the amount of room the fabric in a balloon shade needs....but the floral is so gorgeous, I still love it. (Notice my painted radiator...I had to make it fade into the wall....but someday I've promised my hubby to get it sand blasted and returned to it's metallic splendor...)

But what...what, what..I wondered should we do about furniture?  I was lost..and then, I saw a pottery barn catalog. (And notice the pictures below also show the added crown molding....our first experience with mitered corners and all I can say is good thing we had extra materials).

Since that time we purchased a pretty area rug from Home Depot and have added some of Kip's incredible original artwork and photography, a mirror over the buffet that I found at Pier One, and two small tables in the corner...(I'll add some of those detail shots AFTER I clean out that room that is currently housing all of my home office storage).

I love how this room turned out.  As I look at it now, it has gathered a little too much clutter, so some editing will be coming to this space in the near future....but otherwise, no radical changes.

A future post will show you are OTHER dining space which went through a stutter step of improvements but is now in pretty good shape.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Slow Start to Home Office Project

Life has been complicated of late.  But we've slowly emptied the home office...unfortunately it has filled our dining room.  (I'll post a before-after on the DR soon...it was a pre-blog project).  As you can see, we've left just enough room to slide by. While we did rid ourselves of some items as we emptied the room, I'm hopeful to cut it down even more before putting it back in.

Part of the pile here under the window is Freecycle items, and as soon as the snow finishes melting (so people can get to the door safely), I will offer them up to new homes.

And have you noticed Kip's dirty little secret.  Count the guitar cases below. They hide away in our closet and get rare usage.  You've gotta love a man who is tone deaf but loves music so much that he buys and messes around with 5 guitars.  If I could draw a straight line like he paints with watercolors, I'd never do anything but work on my art.  But he's a renaissance man and always trying new things.

And so the prep work begins.  My least favorite activity...the slow and deliberate work of patching, cleaning, sanding, etc. But I've learned the hard way that it's the best way to get to the end result.

My idea of removing the molding was easier said than done.  But the good news is, the crown molding we have selected will actually install OVER this, so my chipping days are over.

And since my desk had hidden this eyesore for the past several years, I had actually forgotten this radiator was there, cut into the wall and surrounded by layered wallpaper.

So, the new plan is to build a frame with a grill front to surround it, allow the heat to come through, but to leave the eyesore hidden.  Kip swears he can handle that project (and I promise to help).

We also looked at many many many carpet samples.  Nothing thrills me, but I'm pretty happy with one sample, so hoping the thrill will come with installation. (Pattern on left (diamonds are very subtle) and the color is called "Carefree"...we'll see.

Tomorrow begins another long week...work, school, and a family memorial service for a sweet cousin.  I found some solace in sanding, spackling, cleaning, and even the ineffective chipping of the molding.  I think patching, painting, and even picking carpeting is the best thing I could focus on in my "down" time.

Monday, March 1, 2010


When I began this year-long (or maybe longer?) project I don't think I really thought about the upheaval. We have a very small house and while it is not an "open concept" per se, it is certainly not easy to close off portions either.  So since we have begun the real purging of the home office in earnest, pieces of this room are now scattered to (a) upstairs guest bedroom (Kip's computer, desk, printer and odd accessories); (b) living room (the antique school desk and my desklamp...look good, they may have to stay there); (c) basement (area rug and assorted items); (d) dining room (adjacent to the home office this room is bearing the brunt of the packed up and moved out boxes and sundries.

The end result: chaos scattered through the house, clutter in every room, disorder in my brain.  While I'm not a clean freak, I am a neat freak.  There can be cobwebs in corners, dust on the furniture and crumbs on the carpet, but god help me (and Kip) if there are clothes not put away, kitchen counters and sink not cleaned up, papers out of place, and clutter run amok.  Dirt, I can handle.  Disorder (in my line of sight) is out of the question.

So, I had to work late tonight and I'm thinking I should go home and NOT turn on any lights and head immediately to our bedroom, which is relatively unscathed (thus far) from the outward-spreading clutter.

I think of all the blogs I've been reading about 6-12 month kitchen remodels, additions, and projects and it makes my skin crawl and my head ache.  How can any of you stand it? 

Later this week, I'll get my head on straight and begin to think step-by-step again.  As I make progress all of the anxieties around disorder typically fall away, so that will be the goal...some forward progress.
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