Thursday, July 30, 2015

Beige-apalooza and a blank canvas

One of the reasons I've been moving verrrrry slowly on decorating this house is that this entire house is a soul-sucking beige that I am not allowed to paint. I will admit that it is not the Worst Beige Ever (that beige is in the boys' bedroom), but still, it has a peachy undertone that I detest. I suppose I could repaint it a less offensive beige and my landlord probably wouldn't notice, but I refuse to paint more beige, and we have 20 foot ceilings.  Nester recommends that every house have a "lovely limitation" but this is not a limitation. It is a death knell of ugliness.

After moving all the furniture around, I have been staring at the blank wall behind the tv, waiting for inspiration.  I have all the frames from the gallery wall in the last house, but that wall had a hell of a lot of holes in it when we moved out, and this house is a rental.  I'd prefer to avoid damaging the wall that much.  Also, the room seems dark enough without adding 50 black frames to it.  Also, I'm taking a break from gallery walls for a few years.

One of the ways I am trying to overcome all the beige is to use lots of white and blue.  My brilliant idea is to make two large white and blue paintings and hang them partially behind the tv.  I will probably go with yet another splatter painting because I am a one trick pony.

Pretend there are two canvases up there. 
Supplies have been assembled, now I just need a two hour block of time.

Monday, July 27, 2015

tolix chairs: uncomfortable fail

One purchase I have been less than happy with is our tolix dining chairs.

These chairs are under three years old, and I was sooooo excited to buy them.  I saved up for them for a while, and a set of six weren't cheap.  I will admit that I like the industrial metal contrasted with a farmhouse table, and they are light and easy to clean.


They are uncomfortable.  I realize that millions of French bottoms sit in them daily, but I hate sitting in them for any length of time.  The kids don't like sitting in them either.  Every member of this family fights to sit in the three shield back chairs at the table.  Originally I just used the two shield back chairs at the head and foot of the table, but I brought in the third spare chair because the tolix chairs are just so terrible.

As my original post noted, I still wish I had gotten the white chairs instead of metal, and they scratch at the least provocation. Most irritating is that I got the gunmetal color instead of the white because I was afraid that the white would chip, and figured that the metal color would be impervious to chipping. HAHAHA.  Gunmetal is a painted on color, and lo and behold, I was right, the paint chips. Should have at least gotten the white I actually wanted.

We went on vacation at a VRBO house in Palm Springs last Christmas, and that house had a formal dining room with an Ethan Allen table and chair set.  It was supremely ugly  with 1980's fabric upholstered chairs. However, those ugly, frumpy chairs were SO CUSHY.  We sat in them for hours.  The Mister said "how come we don't have chairs like this?"  My answer: "these chairs were probably $550 apiece when they were new."

Since then I have been searching craigslist for a set of six chairs with upholstered seats that are easy to recover, for under $300.  I'm not the only who does this, right?  Every evening I sit down and search for a full size headboard, a set of dining chairs, a bench, and see what rugs have come up for sale. For six months, no chairs.

In any event, since I have six perfectly usable if uncomfortable tolix chairs, I figured perhaps the interim measure would be to make the tolix chairs more comfortable with cushions. I spent an inordinately long time looking for inexpensive cushions that would perfectly fit the 14x9 seat (that should have been my first clue that my generously sized bottom would find a 14x9 inch seat uncomfortable).  Pottery Barn used to carry tolix chairs and accessory cushions, but has apparently discontinued them.  These cushions are available on the Industry West website currently for $19, but I didn't like the "screw on" cushion.

I eventually gave in and just bought clearance cushions that did not remotely fit the dimensions of the chair.  

The Mister's verdict was "these cushions make the chairs marginally less awful.  No, wait, they don't." Two of three children said "eh, they are kind of better, I guess," and the third child said "I still hate these chairs."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

the reading nook: The Beast

When we moved in, the eat-in kitchen area housed our enormous round dining table, which was far too large for the space.   Forgive my non-white-balanced pictures.

When I started rearranging, I put the round table in the garage, and brought the large rectangular dining table into the adjacent family room space.  So the eat-in space sat sort of empty and lonely for a few weeks.

We all liked sitting in the red chair, but the problem was that only one person could use the space at a time.  You couldn't sit and talk in there, unless your partner wanted to sit on a dining chair or the floor.  I scoured craigslist for a chair, but to no avail.

Target has a huge selection of attractive inexpensive slipper chairs, but I hate slipper chairs.  I need a chair I can curl up in with a good book.  You can't curl up in a slipper chair. I turned to Ikea and local consignment shops. I debated the Stocksund chair, for $349.  It is pretty comfy and has good curling up qualities.

Another front runner was this chair, also $349 at a local consignment shop:

But then craigslist stepped in for $45, and gave us The Beast.

This chair is enormous.  Like, huuuuge. I mentally refer to that chair as The Beast. But it was $45.  Would one of the $349 chairs look better, daintier, be a better fit for the space? Yes.  But this chair can sit one kid next to you with one kid on either arm of the chair.  This chair is also extremely comfy, and supports laying sideways, with your head on one arm and your feet dangling over the other side.  Plenty of curling up here.  Priorities, people.

I added a 5x8 rug from RugsUSA (at 70% off) to the space, and voila, cozy reading nook and conversational space.   

Monday, July 20, 2015

the living room and playroom

I haven't shown all the moving around of furniture that happened, except for the family room turned into the dining room.  The old dining room is now the playroom, and the formal living room has stayed the living room, but it lost the bookshelves and gained a sofa.

The living room originally looked like this, with one sofa, a pair of chairs and a bunch of bookshelves:

After moving the bookshelves into the back dining room, we moved the second sofa and the tv back into the living room.

I think it probably looked better from a decorating standpoint the first way.  But I like the function better this way, so here it stays.  For a while, anyways.  I'd like to hang two large art pieces behind the tv, but I haven't had time to make them yet.

Before, the dining room was perfectly adequate, if boring.  We never used it as a dining room.  It served mostly as a repository for mail.  Imagine a seven foot table completely covered in mail.  

Now it is a playroom.  

It gets a lot more use this way.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

that beeping fridge, again

Since moving into this house, our upright freezer in the garage has broken down twice.  The repairs have been unsatisfactory, to say the least, since it keeps breaking. You probably don't recall, but we originally bought an inexpensive upright freezer because our fridge with bottom freezer, which works perfectly well as a fridge and freezer, won't stop beeping.  The freezer seal is .000000000000000000000000001 centimeters off the door and trips the non-shut-off-able alarm. Which goes off every 10 seconds.  All day long.  And I want to kill someone.

Since the upright freezer keeps breaking down, and we have now lost two full freezer loads of food (angry!!), we have been using the beeping freezer.  The beeping freezer works fine as a freezer.  It keeps food frozen.  It is difficult to access the food in the beeping freezer, because we have taped it shut to stop the door from beeping.  In case you were wondering, taping your freezer door shut is a successful deterrent to eating ice cream. Or anything else in the freezer.  "Can you make that broccoli and lemon dish tomorrow?"  "Really? I'll have to untape the the freezer. Wouldn't you prefer some bread and butter instead?"

I've spent $300 on repairing the freezer so far.  So far the cycle has been plug in the freezer, it breaks two weeks later, wait three weeks for a repair appointment, wait another few weeks for whatever part it needs, get it fixed, it breaks again two weeks later, lather rinse repeat.  I am currently in the "two week waiting for it to break again" cycle--I'm not putting more food in it until two weeks has passed.  I have some water bottles and a loaf of bread in it so that I can tell if it is defrosting, but having thrown out two Costco runs twice now, I'm being cautious.

I could buy a new fridge, which means I could get rid of the garage freezer and free up space in the garage.  But I don't WANT to buy a new fridge. Plus, the fridge and beeping freezer perform their fridge and freezerly functions just fine.  If it would just STOP THE  BEEPING.   Kenmore and Sears, how I hate you and your terrible appliances.

What's the minimalist/frugal living answer here?  Do I spend a lot of money replacing two appliances with one appliance that works, thereby freeing up room and give myself peace and respite from the world's most annoying beeping?  Or do I keep the beeping fridge because it works just fine as a fridge, even if it requires spending about $10 a month on tape and is slowly depriving me of my sanity?

(The answer is I am probably going to buy a new fridge after Christmas, for boring money reasons, but that still means six months of living with this damn beeping.)