Friday, May 31, 2013

the boys' room moodboards

After we put up the castle in Princess's bedroom, Greg got a sad face and asked "why haven't you decorated our room?"  Ouch.

Currently, the boys' room is....hmm, lets call it adequate. Functional.  Some curtains are up for privacy, everything is unpacked, some pictures are hung....but its boring.

I am not looking to revamp the entire room.  I plan on buying either new bedding OR new curtains, but not both.  I am using the art we already have and throwing up some paint.  The room is just a bit too small to comfortably accommodate two twin beds, so we will buy a low loft bunk bed around Christmas, but for the moment, the boys are in their vintage spindle beds.  (I can't find a picture of the L-shaped low loft bed I want to buy, so just pretend that another bed is tucked under the loft in the moodboards, ok?) Not including the bunk bed, I plan on spending less than $150 in this room.

This teal version is my favorite.

In this teal version, we already have the map, the orange lamp, and the bolster pillow.  The yellow and white stripe curtains are already hanging in the room. I would put some aqua paint on the wall with the map.  (Or maybe the ceiling?)  Lastly, instead of the two overscale pictures of the boys, I would blow up two pictures of our vacation in Costa Rica, since the boys love going there. So, this is a pretty easy switcheroo--just pull out the bedding and the pictures.

It occurs to me that instead of the map, this enormous art from Ikea might fit in with this room. Or it could be too much photography.  (Also, budget-buster.)

The boys have requested Iron Man, Batman, Spiderman or Wolverine to make an appearance in the room. not really wanting this.  I could do this.  But eh.

So, this would switch out the yellow striped curtains from the above moodboard, and swap in curtains made from $8/yard superhero fabric.  I would keep the current navy blue bedding, the overscale photography, the map, and I have a white lamp I can sacrifice to the cause with spraypaint.  I'd get the boys each a monogrammed pillow, and put up some green paint on the map wall.

I don't hate the superhero option, but meh, I feel like the navy makes that room really dark, as would the curtains.  And their room has been navy for two years and I would like something lighter.  I haven't put it to a vote yet, but I'm betting this is the one the boys would vote for.

Lastly, we have the madras curtain option.  I love madras.  I appear to be alone in that love, as every time I have posted about it on the blog I have been met with deafening silence, but whatever.  Madras represent!

Here we are keeping the navy bedding, overscale photos, orange lamps and the map.  I'd add madras curtains made from this (backordered) inexpensive madras fabric, and add a monogrammed pillow.  WALLAH.

I am kind of really digging the madras option.

As always, I change my mind every ten minutes, so nothing you see here is permanent. Your thoughts?  You too are madly in love with the madras?  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dotswold wallpaper dilemma

I would really like to wallpaper our downstairs bathroom in a fabulous colorful wallpaper like chiang mai dragon or zebras, but even our small bathroom would cost over a thousand dollars in that kind of wallpaper.  (Snort.)  So I have explored other options.

For years I have loved Anthropologie's Dotswold wallpaper.  Sadly, it was discontinued a few months ago, and I figured that I would never get my hands on any.  However, it has reappeared on Anthropologie's website a few times since being discontinued.  I checked the other day, and it was back again.  But only two rolls! I bought them.

I would love to use the wallpaper in our downstairs bathroom.  The bathroom is not large, but fully covering all the walls would be five rolls of wallpaper.  With the two rolls I have, I could do one full wall and paint the other three, OR I could wallpaper the ceiling and paint all the walls.

I love how the wallpaper juxtaposes red, pink and purple.  Regardless of whether I paper one wall or the ceiling, the other walls would painted a pale pink, and I would paint the vanity a bright glossy red.  The shower and the light fixture are very shiny 80s brass, which are staying for the moment.  I'd also probably keep the mirror that is currently in the space, but paint it gold.  Or red.  (In case you are wondering about how red and pink would look together, check out Cassie's awesome pink dining room with a red ceiling!)

Alternatively, two rolls is enough paper to fully wallpaper the possible office nook.  In that case I would paper all the walls, paint the cabinets glossy red, paint my filing cabinet pale pink, and bring in a white desk.

Or....I could paint the bathroom a bright color and hang all my Italian ceramics. (Post coming soon.) Or....I could go with a completely different wallpaper and do all four walls. (Post on that coming soon too.)  (I need more powder rooms, I have too many ideas for just one.)

What are your thoughts on only putting wallpaper on one wall? Or on the ceiling?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Floods: Moving the washing machine

One of my future projects for next year was going to be moving the washing machine from the back hallway into the garage.  However, since my washing machine has now twice flooded my family room, I moved that time frame up to last week.

When we moved in, our washing machine and dryer resided in a small closet in the back hallway off the family room.  (I'm sorry this picture is blurry, but also, both my cameras broke. Actually, you probably would not believe the list of things that broke over a ten day period this month. I kept looking around for Candid Camera, because there is no way this many things could break one after the other.)

This is right next to the door into the garage, and only a few feet from the front door.

Since the washer and dryer were in a small, narrow hallway between a bathroom and the garage door, all of our prodigious amount of dirty laundry tended to accumulate in our front foyer.  Open our front door, and hello, ten loads of laundry. 

Luckily, the washer and dryer closet was on the other side of the garage wall. I had a plumber open the other side of the wall and flip the plumbing around.  The washer and dryer then moved out to the garage. Since we had the wall open and the plumbing was moving around anyways, I had the plumber install a rough-in for a future utility sink, which will go next to the washer next year.



I am so happy that our dirty laundry is no longer in piles in our foyer.

This leaves me with a deep, empty closet in the back hallway.

Once I get the holes patched up and the trim reattached, we are going to turn this space into a little office area.  Its already wired for electric, and its fairly deep, so it will hold a small desk and chair.

Come back tomorrow and see my design dilemma--I found two rolls of beautiful wallpaper, and I can't decide if I should use it in the office nook, where I have enough for the whole space, or do I put it on only one wall in the bathroom you can see off to the left.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

3 years coming up, circus tents, and Sophia Loren

So! I just realized that in a week or so I am coming up on Three Years Of Blogging!  Three years of me gazing at my navel and telling you about it.  I do not anticipate having a party or anything but I will open up the floor to questions, if you want to ask them.  


Here is a thing that I find...weird.  At least, I can honestly say that on the East Coast, I have never seen or even heard of this.  Here is a view from my backyard.

Is the circus in town, you ask?  No, my friend, that is not the circus.  That is an enormous tent put on top of the house behind us and clothes-pinned till the tent follows the lines of the house.  For exterminating.  I do not know if they will do this circus-tent-treatment while all your stuff is still inside the house (the house behind us just sold, so its empty), but.....still, gross.  Chemicals/pesticides in the carpets your children will be rolling on! Chemicals/pesticides on EVERY SINGLE HORIZONTAL SURFACE inside your house! Does this not freak you out??

Fascinating! But still, weird.

I will admit that over the past few weeks in my house I have been killing mosquitoes the size of my head (eek), so....maybe they are onto something.

I have been hankering for this Ikea Sophia Loren knockoff poster for a while, so I bought it today and hung it up in a Ribba frame at the top of the stairs.  

I am beginning to think of the large Ikea Ribba frames the way I think of Old Navy clothing--cheap and stylish pieces of crap that will fall apart three minutes after you get it home.  I no longer shop at Old Navy and I may stop buying these frames for the same reason.

I do like the poster, though. I like that the model is curvy and appears to have not-slim thighs.  She fits in with the Botero that is hanging a few feet away in the bathroom. (My children refer to that painting as "the naked butt painting.")

Tangentially related anecdote: the very first piece of "art" the Mister and I bought was a Kandinsky print that we had professionally framed.  It hung over the fireplace in our condo, and we were very proud of ourselves and our grown-up purchase.  When we put the condo up for sale, a buyer came in to look around and made a comment about "that art from Ikea."  Pardon?  "That", she pointed at the pride of my heart, "the Ikea art." Sniffing haughtily, I told her it was not "Ikea art, you philistine, its a KANDINSKY." (Although yes, the kind of Kandinsky you pay $24.99 for

That woman did not buy our condo.

But I have to admit that Ikea has decent taste in art.  (Sophia Loren may not be so thrilled with them.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

castle for a Princess: wall decal headboard

Princess finally has her castle.

We used this sticker from Blik.  The hardest part was getting it level and centered over the bed (math!), but the actual sticking it on the wall was pretty easy with two people. (This would be really difficult by yourself.)  I love the amount of color and detail in the decal.  It just looks so fantastic in person.  Princess is quite happy with it.

Princess's room is nearing completion.  (You can see the wall opposite the bed here.)

 All that remains is a window treatment and one more piece of art for the wall next to the door.

Edited to add: linking up to Emily Clark's kids rooms party.

Monday, May 20, 2013

hipster teepee

I've seen a ton of teepee tutorials on Pinterest lately, and thought that would make a really fun place for the kids to play.  Apparently, so does everyone else.

Yes, its the same fabric as the curtains on the window behind it.  That supply is never-ending (read how last year I accidentally bought 37 yards of this fabric here).  I thought I would use up a whole bunch...and I did....but don't worry, despite hanging that fabric on four windows and making a teepee out it, I still have enough left over to build two more teepees, if I wanted to.  

I will say that this project was kind of a PITA, and took a lot more cursing than I had anticipated. I'm not going to give a tutorial, since this thing was made on a wing and a prayer and I expect it to last about a week and a half.  You can google teepee tutorials, pretty much all them start with get a bunch of poles and drill a hole a few inches down from the top and tie them all together.  This was the hardest part, as I found it difficult to hold them all in place and tie them up.  The Mister helped but it was still difficult.  

At first I used strips of fabric and a hot glue gun, weaving the strips in and out of the top. 

After ten minutes of that the Mister and I were all oh hell with this and we went straight to the pneumatic staple gun, which went much faster.  Instead of small stripes I took an enormous twelve foot pieces of fabric and started stapling the fabric to the interior of the poles.  To get the fabric to drape evenly around the frame I started to fold and tuck the fabric under in triangles, sort of like wrapping a present or upholstering a bench.    That description made no sense, did it? And I took no pictures, either.  Well, trust me, this is hardly the sturdiest edifice so you probably shouldn't follow my lead here.  

To make a door I staples one end of a strip of fabric to the pole on the side of the opening, and stitched one of Princess's hairband to the other side.  I screwed a cup hook into the pole on the other side, and voila, the inhabitant of the teepee can close the door from prying eyes. 

Despite its less-than-stellar construction, the kids love it. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Master Bedroom (In Progress)

The master bedroom is finally unpacked and put away, for the most part.

Our Malm 3-drawer dressers that we were using as nightstands were wayyyyy too big for the space, so we replaced them with Ikea Rast tables. Sadly, I already had a pair of Rasts, but they did not survive the Big Purge (*gnashing teeth*), but whatever.  I have been stalking craigslist for a pair of nightstands, but I wanted something simple with clean lines, like a midcentury nightstand.  I find craigslist here to be terrible--put the word "midcentury" on your craigslist ad and charge $1000!  I didn't want to put out that kind of money for new or vintage.  So Rast it is.

I painted the Rast drawerfronts with some of the leftover paint from the baseboards (Dunn Edwards in Whisper semigloss), and added the hardware that I took off the last pair of Rasts I owned. I have not gotten around to staining the outer case of the Rast, but I am liking the lightness of the unfinished wood and may keep it that way.

There isn't much in the room--just the bed, nightstands and a new craigslist dresser.  (Our old dresser was painted purple and put in Princess's bedroom.)

You can see that the wall behind the dresser does not go all the way to the ceiling.  I do not like that.  Behind that wall is the master bathroom area.  Don't worry, the potty has its own little room with a door, but really, the entire space is very inefficiently utilized. (No pictures, that space is still home to piles of unpacked but homeless stuff.)  I have big plans to redo that entire space, add an upstairs laundry room and build better closets.....but like everything else it will have to wait till we save up some pennies.  Until then, weird half wall and shiny brass mirrored doors will be staying.

I have plans for this room (new flooring, roman shades, new furniture, light fixture, knocking down walls in the bathroom, etc), but for the moment, I'm loving how spacious and uncluttered this space is.  I love the navy blue walls, and how well the duvet works with the navy.  Living large, peeps.

Oh! One last sneakity peek at the hallway looking into the bedroom, painted fresh white and with black trim:

I cannot wait to paint all the doors and the banister black.

Have a lovely weekend, peeps.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

cluttered or zen: frames vs corkboard

I've been contemplating my decorating style lately.  I'd say that my style in previous houses could be described as....hmm, lets go with "maximalist" instead of the perhaps more accurate "cluttered", shall we? I think my taste may be changing.  Since painting this house a nice fresh white....I don't want to put any holes in the walls.  I don't want to cram too much furniture into my rooms.  I want to keep this clean, spacious vibe that we have going on.

This has kind of put a damper on a few projects I have been planning for years. For the longest time I have wanted this gallery of pictures, but now I feel like it might be too much.  (But I still love this picture! Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. I cant decide.)

image via Rachel Hazelton Interior Design   

In our last house I put up a gallery wall around the tv, comprised mostly of the children's art.

Princess, who created the majority of the art hung in that wall, keeps asking me when I am going to put up all her framed art in our new house.  I have, in truth, been procrastinating on that particular project.  Not because I don't want her art on the walls, but because there is SO MUCH OF IT.  Like, a hundred million gazillion pictures.  Princess creates in a week more art than Peter and Greg have created in the last two years.

Not only is Princess prolific, but I LOVE her artwork--she has fabulous composition and use of color.  The kids really enjoy having their artwork displayed prominently, so it is also important to me that we have a special place specifically for their artwork.

I am contemplating putting up a large corkboard over the half bookshelves in the family room.

When I say "large corkboard" I am thinking of taking up the entire upper space with a framed corkboard, painted the same white as the wall.  Like this picture from HGTV Magazine, which I took in Barnes and Noble and cannot find online.

This white framed corkboard seems very minimalist, and I notice that there are only about a dozen very vibrant pictures on the wall.  I am afraid that we will have 400 very vibrant pictures on our corkboard, which might give it a different feel than this picture.

My fear is that regardless of whether I put up one enormous corkboard with 400 pictures, or a couple dozen framed pictures in a gallery wall, that space will look maximalist cluttered.  Since I want the kids to have a display space for their artwork (not relegated to the garage, and there are no "out of the way" corners to be had here), this is pretty much the spot.

- allows for frequent and easy rotation of new artwork.
- would be good for Princess's massive collection of 5x5 pieces of paper she brings home from school
-  I'd have to build it, since I don't have anything that size.
- May get overloaded and look more clutter-y.

- I have an enormous number of black frames (I pick them up whenever I see them on sale under $5.)
- I do not have any 5x5 frames for Princess's 5x5 pieces that come home from school.
- Would look more like an intentional gallery wall and presumably less clutter-y than the corkboard.

Discuss, please.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

instruction booklets, new buffet

A sign that you have too much Ikea furniture in your house? Your children start drawing instruction booklets.


I bought a buffet off craigslist for the dining room.  I'll paint it a pretty color....eventually.  I can't seem to make up my mind on a color.  (Probably navy blue. When I get a free moment. Which means the mirror also needs to be painted a different color. )

I like the buffet in the corner, and the spacious feeling of the blank wall on the left, without a bookshelf wall.

Which has me thinking maybe I skip the bookshelf wall on the left and just hang an enormous blown-up photo of the Italy picture, assuming I can get the picture blown up (that picture is giving me issues).

This back-ing and forth-ing probably means I should just live with it as is for a while before making any decisions.

Friday, May 10, 2013

bookcase possibilities: Billy vs. Vittsjo

Before moving in I posted a mood board for the dining room:

Unfortunately, when I put the console in the dining room it emphasized how leggy all the furniture in the dining room is. All the furniture is going to get up and walk away:

So that console moved into the playroom behind the sofa.  All that remains is the dining table and chairs.  (Also, the orange trellis curtains are not in that room, and blowing up the picture of Italy is giving me problems, and pretty much nothing from that mood board worked out.)

On the left I am thinking of putting a wall of bookcases.  Ikea is the obvious choice--I already have two currently unused white Billy bookcases out in the garage, so two more would be the inexpensive way to cover the wall.  I am picturing something like this fabulous wall of bookshelves that Centsational Girl built:

image via Centsational Girl
The other option is the Vittsjo open shelves.  Three units would fit comfortably in the space, and it can be painted a bright color.  I am thinking of something along these lines:

image via BHG

(Interestingly enough, Centsational Girl also used the Vittsjo in another project.)

I love the yellow shelving look--so bright! So cheerful! But....the Billy wall is less than half the price of the Vittsjo, seeing as I already have a few in the garage.

Do you like the open shelving like the Vittsjo, or do you prefer being able to customize the back of the Billy with a pretty paper or paint color?  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

the eat-in area

Right off our kitchen is our family room.  At the end nearest the kitchen is the area we use as our casual eat-in dining space.  (We have a formal dining room on the other side of the kitchen.)

When we bought the house, this family room/dining space was painted a hideously ugly dark sage green, with a tuscan-style-ish chandelier.

Since the formal dining room lacked a light fixture, we moved the tuscan wrought iron ugliness to the formal dining room, and installed a sputnik style chandelier in the eat-in area.  We painted the walls and ceiling Dunn Edwards Whisper.  We also hung our splatter painting that the kids made last year for Mother's Day.

Remember the round table that we couldn't seem to get rid of in the Big Purge?  Lucky for us that no one else wanted it.  It is beat up, but it is the perfect size and shape for this space.  And since it is so dinged I do not particularly care if the kids bang it up even more.  (Lying, I kind of do care, but I have realistic expectations that it will be banged up worse by the time we are done with it.)

We also added the trailer park pleather chairs. They are wipeable and comfy and they swivel. (Children have already done the spin-around-so-fast-you-fly-off-and-get-hurt thing.)  The tolix chairs are in the formal dining room.

It is not in my budget right now to buy a rug for the dining space, but since we were afraid of the floors getting scratched, we added tennis balls to the feet.  I'll be honest, although I like the look of a rug under a dining table, my kids put way too much food on the floor for a rug to be practical for us.  Our last place was carpeted in the dining area and I hated vacuuming that area every. single. night. So I'm perfectly happy with plain wood floors and tennis balls.

Lastly, I hung our Ikea Stockholm Blad blue curtains from our previous dining room.  I hung the curtains two inches below the ceiling, which means that they are currently floodwaters at about six inches above the floor.  I have plans to lengthen them with some navy fabric, but haven't gotten to it yet.

My crappy pictures do not do this room justice--I'm totally in love with this space. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

sneak peeks at the Master bedroom and Princess room

I have a gazillion little things to share with you, but I also have really terrible photographs. My camera is having some issues (like the autofocus won't work and the camera just shuts off by itself intermittently and won't take pictures, etc), so please bear with me while I learn how to manually focus my camera (and shut it off and on four hundred times to try and get it to take pictures again).  

What should we look at first?  How about some pictures of my master bedroom.  Remember the beautiful beige it was before?

We painted it Benjamin Moore's Evening Sky, which I am completely in love with.

You might recall that I was concerned that the window embrasure took up too much wall space so that I would not be able to hang my headboard, so I had the drywall guy build in part of the window seat, so that the wall ends right at the window, instead of a foot outside. 

Because I have never been to design school and spatial orientation is not my thing I did not realize that this would block the view of the window and make it look closed in and El Stupido.  Whatever, live and learn, its my stupid mistake and I'm stuck with it for a while.  I can always demo the part we just built but since I just paid for it I will live with it for now.  

Its still a nice window seat.

I especially love the view of my room from the hallway. 

I could swear that I had taken a picture of the hallway as it looks today--all painted white with black trim--but apparently not.  

I have not yet gotten the master bedroom under control (piles and piles and piles of things and the nightside tables are too big so one moved downstairs and nothing is put away), but I pulled out one of the old duvets that I ripped apart (sigh) and I think it looks super awesomely lovely in this space. 

There's also this going on in the Princess's room:

I LOVE how this dresser came out.  I painted it with Benjamin Moore's Your Majesty, which seemed fitting for a princess's dresser.  

I'm not sure if the rug is staying--there's kind of a lot going on in that room and it may be one pattern too many.  I hope to put up the castle decal next weekend.  I also have some fun butterflies for the canopy, although they have yet to show up in the sea of unpacked boxes.  

Little by little, folks.