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Mar 30, 2012

my scientific method for picking paint color

The time has come to pick paint colors for the basement family room as well as the laundry room. It should come as no surprise that I'm going with a neutral in the family room. Since the walls are mostly covered by the board and batten there will be just a small section of the wall that needs paint on top. I actually have paint left over from when I painted the entire house when we moved in. I'll be using one of my favorite colors,  Benjamin Moore's Brandy Creme. The color will run up into the hallway upstairs where I have a special project planned. More on that later! The laundry room has no windows so I am going with something light and airy, Behr's Breaker.
Benjamin Moore Brandy Creme
Behr Breaker
I took a couple different paints to come to this decision so I thought I'd share how I do it. First up, I bought some foam core. Then I purchased the little sample bottles for each type of paint. Since I had most of the neutrals I didn't have to actually buy those this time. I painted small patches of paint onto the outer corners of the foam core, making sure to label them! I put the paint on the edges so that I can hold it up against door frames, window frames, etc to see the paint against the white moldings.

Then I wait. I wait for a sunny day, a rainy day, nighttime, every scenario you can possibly imagine. I carry the board around to different rooms to make sure I like it in natural light, artificial light and everything in between. It is basically my very own Flat Stanley. Obviously my kids have also gotten hold of my artwork and added some of their own. 

This method has served me well and I have never put up a color and regretted it. So far. This is the first time I am painting a space with basically no windows so I'm hoping my record holds up.

Mar 29, 2012

we are getting somewhere

As things speed along downstairs I thought I'd give a quick update. Board and batten is up, lights are working, outlets are in, plumbing is connected, in other words, we are almost there. The washer and dryer still have to be hooked up, the baseboard heat needs to be installed, one more doorway has to be removed, and two more recessed lights need to be added in the hallway. After that it is mostly painting, flooring and finishing the woodwork, which includes the built ins we are creating out of some IKEA Hemnes pieces.

Here's the latest...

Mar 28, 2012

{recycled} vase

The other day my sister handed me a candlestick that she didn't know what to do with anymore. She had bought it as part of a pair but one broke. It was hard to find a candle that fit into the center section and looked awkward on its own. I told her I'd see what I could do with it, she know I love a challenge!

I looked at it for a couple seconds, flipped it over and saw the hollow bottom. A vase! That's right, the candlestick sits solidly when turned upside down. It is tall and has a great shape. 

I bought some painters tape, found some paint samples I had purchased trying to figure out color for my new laundry room, and got to work. 

First I taped stripes from top to bottom. This was probably the longest part of the whole project. I had to make sure the stripes lined up all the way around. Those black dots you see are me trying to figure out if I wanted to use a permanent marker to make flowers. I went with the stripes. Once the tape was on I applied two coats of paint. 

Then I waited. I'm not a patient person but I resisted the urge to pull the tape off. When it was finally ready I slowly took the tape off.

 It looks great on my mantel for now.  I might have to give it back to my sister after she reads this though.

Sharing with...

Mar 27, 2012

spring mantel and a winner

Even though the weather outside isn't feeling much like spring I decided it is spring in my house. I love buying flowers for my home and one of my favorites are ranunculus. I purchased some for my mantel and added my spring touches. Robins eggs, driftwood and punches of color from the flowers bring that feeling of spring and warmer weather to come inside.


On another note, congratulations to...


the winner of the lovely giveaway from Bluebird Chic. Thank you to all who entered.

Mar 26, 2012

boys closet tutorial

A while back I wrote about how I took the doors off to the closet in my boys room and put in an IKEA Expedit. I loved how it all looked except for one thing. Everything I had on the top shelf showed, as did the rod that ran across the entire closet. I needed to keep the rod there because I do hang clothes on either side of the Expedit. 

I came up with what I would do, a valance inside the closet, but then ran into my second problem, what fabric to use? It took me a week or two but I finally settled on a great fabric that would match what was already in their room. I put together an easy way to hang the valance hanging from cup hooks and curtain rings with clips. 

I could go with the no sew method I showed you here, but I decided to take out the sewing machine and challenge myself a little. I measured the opening of the closet, 60 inches, and added 10 inches on either side so the valance would run all the way across the opening and beyond making 80 inches total. I would need to sew two pieces of fabric together since my fabric was only 54 inches wide.

I measured to get the correct height of the piece. I wanted it to hit the top of the Expedit. I actually took a pillowcase to do this and just kept adjusting where it was clipped until I got the right height. No rocket science here! I added a couple extra inches to allow for a seam on the top and bottom.

Once my fabric was cut and pinned I was ready to go. First I sewed the two outside edges of each piece. I then lined up the chevron stripe and pined the two pieces together. After it was all one piece, I rechecked my measurements for the height and sewed the top and bottom. Simple straight lines all around.

Here is my seam below. How'd I do? Not bad for a beginner if I do say so myself!

The sewing was done so I headed upstairs and clipped the curtain rings on. I didn't measure for this either since it would be hidden within the closet. I screwed the cup hooks in by matching up where the rings were on the valance. 

Nine hooks later and this is what it looked like...

Do you want to see that before again?

It took a lot of measuring and double checking, but I'm so happy to not have to have the random sleeping bag and box of clothing staring me in the face.

Linking at Serenity Now

Mar 23, 2012

the magnetic hole in my basement

Since we had to do some plumbing work to add the washing machine and sink in the laundry room we had to expand the existing hole in the cement floor. This hole contained the run off pipes for the house. It was covered by a wooden board which we had put some furniture on top of. Out of sight, out of mind. The "hole" will be hidden within the kids toy closet with a latch to lift it open. 

For now, it is a wide gaping hole, and for anyone with little kids you know what this means. 

{via Google}

Every time we walk down to the basement to take a look after the workers are gone for the day it is the first place my boys go. They are 5 and 3, and I swear that hole has a magnetic pull. They make a beeline for the hole and just stand over it looking down. I've caught my 5 year old picking up a scrap of who-knows-what and throwing it in. 

I'm walking around looking at the doors, the windows, the moldings, the lights. They are at the hole peering in. I can just imagine what stories they are conjuring up in their heads about it. I decided to ask them what it was, expecting to hear it goes to the moon, to Australia, to a dinosaurs house, etc. 

I asked my five year old where it goes and was told very matter-of-factly, "to the toilet". Smart boy.

Mar 22, 2012

surviving the mess of construction

{via Google}

Although this shot is not of my house, it helps narrate the fact that I've come to a couple realizations and decision while we have construction going on. At first the dust and mess bothered me. Even though most of the mess is contained downstairs it does manage to make its way upstairs. Dusty footprints get tracked up the stairway, wayward pieces of wood and nails are gathered by little hands and brought upstairs. I've even found some dried, splattered plaster in my boys' bedroom. Some of this I can control, some I can not. 

I've come to the decision that for now, I will let the house go a little and be okay with it. I won't go nuts dusting up the fine layer of consturction dust because it just comes back. I will wait till the tools, trucks, and people are gone and then I will clean the heck out of this place. 

Until then I will be patient. I will live with furniture and toys being covered by huge sheets of plastic.

I will not feel the urge again to vacuum the dust off the floor. It did make me feel better for about two hours but I will wait next time until I can bring out the mop and drench the floor till it shines.

{via Google}

Letting the kids know the "off limits" areas has helped also. They are excited for this project to be over so for now I'll take a deep breath, wipe some dust off my coffee mug, and be patient.

Mar 21, 2012

it's not just the basement that's changing..

Our home is a multi level home and has a unique layout. Walking in the front door you are on the front hall, living room, dining room, kitchen and three season porch level. Six steps up from the front hall are the two children's bedrooms, the main bathroom, the master bedroom and master bathroom. Six steps down from the front hall are the family room, mudroom/laundry room, and a half bath. The door to the garage is off the mudroom/laundry room. Six steps down from the family room is the basement.

We put up walls in the family room and now have a small hallway leading down to the basement. We removed the door to the basement and added a door leading into the "new room." This new room also has a large walk in closet.

new hallway
open stairway to basement
new room
future closet

So what exactly is this new room? First we were calling it the office, then it became the office/guest room. It is still up in the air. I prefer to think of it as a multipurpose room. It will become whatever I want or need it to be at any given time. The piano will be in there as well as a daybed which converts to a double bed for guests. There will be a large bookcase in there, and TONS of storage in the closet. There is plenty of room for a desk in case we do need an office. Right now we have a secretary desk in our living room which is all the "office" we need at this point. 

So in all this construction I've gained a room by simply putting up a wall. Instead of an open random space we will now have a room with a door and privacy. I was worried that the hallway would feel tiny but by removing the door to the basement it has really opened up the space. It was such an unexpected change that we've decided to open up the doorway to the mudroom as well. 

I'm sure this room will eventually get a name like everything else does in my house. I was told this past weekend by my 9 year old that my computer is now named Silver Bell. I'll just wait for her to figure this room out too.

Mar 20, 2012

eye candy

In looking at different rooms I find I always zero in on the ones with a mix of styles. Usually one of these styles is the Industrial Chic look. The room below is the perfect definition.

Pieces that look like they have been salvaged, usually iron or steel  are mixed in with everyday furniture. Wood that looks like it has been weathered outside is incorporated as well. It usually works best as accent pieces.

Here are some more rooms with the Industrial Chic look mixed in. A coffee table here, a task lamp there, or maybe even a pendant or two. 

Enjoy the eye candy.

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