Navy Chic

I wanted to share a few pics from a project I did with my friend in her new house. Erika’s family room has a wall that was built out to cover an old fireplace (by the previous owner). At first she talked about putting built ins on either side, but later she came to me with an even better and more affordable idea: paint stripes on the protruding wall. Whoa. Why hadn’t I thought of that!?! I freaking love stripes!

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So we got to it one evening after work with a level, Frog Tape, and a great paint color. She chose Behr Vintage Velvet. It has a rich navy vibe with a hint of indigo. When we put the first coat on it was quite purple looking. Admittedly, I got nervous but the second coat had me sold. Between coats Erika painted her sofa table (serving as TV stand for now) navy to blend in a bit more. Above: Erika putting the room back together. But you can see all the elements of the room. I really thing the navy pulls it all together.

Below: A panorama of the room. On the far left you can see that she decided to paint the inside of the door with the same Vintage Velvet. I’m a huge fan of bringing the front door color to the inside of the house… as I’ve done it with mine a few times.

Below: You can see that the striped wall stands out and created a dark pace in the back corner of the room. On a whim we opted to try a full length closet mirror that she had upstairs to reflect lamp light and give the corner something it was missing. The mirror serves purpose as a light source but doesn’t take away from the room or create a busy corner. We’ve all hung wall art where it doesn’t belong. Sometimes less really is more.

  Below: The opposite corner of the room has more natural light with the window and Erika added a cool open shelf to match her coffee table (IKEA VITTSJO). When we were all finished with paint we took a few minutes to grid out a cluster of some small square mirrors (IKEA MALMA) over the couch. 

That wall of mirrors costs less than $25 but makes a great impact. 

In the end Erika made a bold choice by making an awkward wall into the statement piece of the room. Now it feels like a key architectural element and really brings the whole room together. I’m so in love with he ruse of mirrors that I got some for my own house!

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Projects Elsewhere Part One: Sam

Projects at my own house have fizzled a bit. I’ve painted every room and most everything is up to date and more than livable. Only a few things are left in our master bedroom (always last, right?). Perfect timing for a few projects to pop up elsewhere.

As in, other people’s homes. I was asked by my sister Susie to help her organize and decorate three children’s bedrooms for a friend. Admittedly, I was a little intimidated about being creative in someone else’s space but I agreed to meet with my sister and Heather. Heather is a busy mom of three who just wanted a little order to her kids’ rooms and a little cohesive decor to make them feel like they each had their own space. She told me how much she loved everything she saw on Pinterest but that she had no idea how to bring that into her own home. Not too much to ask, right? I walked through the rooms with Heather and we talked about each child, their needs for the space, what she did and didn’t like about each room and so on. Heather told us that she wanted to see more of the wood floors that she loves so much and that she liked themes if they were subtle and easy to transition away from in the future. She was gracious enough to even let me photograph each room and post about the projects. Here is a series of “before” shots with a little explanation about Heather’s needs, her kids’ wants and our ideas.

Organizing is Susie’s area of expertise. She was going to do a great deal of the clean out and organizing for each room. My plan was to give each room identity with new paint, some storage furniture and curtains. So Heather and the family headed out on a week long vacation and Susie and I got to work. We did the bulk of three rooms in that week. First we prepped all of the rooms for paint, then we removed every set of built-in formica shelves from each room… they numbered into the twenties so that took us an entire evening. Before leaving we patched all the walls and sanded them down. The next few days Susie and I met at the house each evening after work. I painted like crazy, she used the master bedroom to organize each kid’s things and helped prep each room for the next phase of paint by helping me move furniture, patching/sanding and wiping down baseboards. Then I slept like a rock and returned each day to work my arse off.

First up: Sam- Preschooler who loves, cars, trucks, pirates and books. He has plenty of toys that reflect this. Some of them needed homes, lots of them already had homes. He also is in the age group of kids who are in the toddler bed but will soon need a big kid bed. His decor would need to reflect his love of these things but be flexible enough to transition into a bigger kid room down the road. Themed but not too theme-y.

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His room had built in shelves. They were once a thoughtful addition by the previous owner of the home but they had seen better days. Heather didn’t like their look and felt that her kids didn’t use the storage space to the fullest potential. Susie and I agreed that their position limited the furniture layout options for the room as well. Sam also had this charming solid wood dresser. It would most definitely be staying in the room.

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Sam’s room still mostly looked like a nursery. He had painted safari animal decals on the walls and a changing table still lingered in the room. He was using it for storage but it wasn’t doing much more than keeping things off the floor.

20130810-132451.jpgSam’s closet was organized, Heather had just cleaned it out and added the drawers so the floor space could serve more purpose. Not pictured: Sam’s red velour curtain on a flimsy brass rod that Heather admits has been there since they moved in 9 years ago.

I envisioned a boy room with a soft blue on the top half of the wall and brown on the bottom. Easy color scheme to grow into but it would also lend itself nicely to a pirate themed room. I also threw in a thick cream colored stripe in the middle. I hoped the stripe and soft color scheme could help his room feel a little taller. Here is what Sam saw when he returned from vacation.

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We decided to recycle Jack’s striped rug into Sam’s room to play up the super soft blue painted on the top half of the wall. We grabbed a blue crib sheet, treasure map pillow and black drawer pulls at Ikea.

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We also bought Closetmaid cubby organizers with tan and brown canvas baskets at Target for Sam’s toys. He already had that awesome pirate ship.

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Susie convinced me that black curtains were exactly what this pirate themed room needed. A bold choice but I love the effect it gives. We hung the curtain rod just a few inches from the ceiling and about 6 inches from the outside edge of the window frame. It gives the window more room to give light and makes things feel a little more spacious. This is especially helpful since we chose such dark curtains. Rod, finials and curtains are all from Ikea.

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Sam had a few large toys like dump trucks and a toy barn that sat on the floor before. Susie I have no problem using floor space to store toys but we knew we could give the big guys a better place to belong. This is the closest we could find to a treasure chest. Also from Ikea, this fabric container is soft sided (no boo-boos!) corralled everything out of sight but into one place that Sam can easily access. We will be making a return visit to Sam’s room to hang a little art and a display shelf.

————–UPDATE————-

We added an Ikea LACK shelf to Sam’s room as planned.

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Things I’m Loving

Oh, its been a while. I try to post these at the beginning of each month, but the weather has been lovely (usually) and spending time in the fresh air has been more of a priority for me. At any rate, here are a few things I’m loving.

20130517-093838.jpgSweet O trying on some of my jewelry creations (btw- I’m almost finished reorganizing my etsy shop!). She really is my kid. Bling, bling.

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I bet you are wondering what in the world I took a picture of here. I took this picture while visiting my sister… this is what happens when you take down chair rails. You may just run into some awesome vintage wallpaper. I’m just loving the poppies and the entire 60’s vibe.

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My good friend Kara arrived for an impromptu pizza night with a bottle of wine in hand. One of the many reasons Kara and I are friends is that be both know how refreshing a glass of wine can be. Another reason: her humor. She bought this wine just because the name and label were awesome. And the wine was pretty good too!

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The view from the end table. I laid my phone down and accidentally hit the camera slide. The camera was set on the front camera because I had just tried to take a selfie with O (we send them to Hubby daily)… and this was what I saw: view from the end table, through the lamp to the ceiling. I snapped a pic because I loved how unique it was. Geometry and composition are two of my favorite things… Art really is everywhere.

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Z practiced his alphabet on the dry erase board. Notice the detail on his “H”… I think he may have a love for typography.

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I let Z drive O in his Powerwheels Dune Racer. He promised to go slow and stop if she cried. O laughed the whole way. I love them!

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Out for a hike at the Cincinnati Nature Center (which I highly recommend) with my sister and her little charge. I snapped this one on a trail on our way back to the lake. Stinking cute.

IMG_2335I might be a bit spoiled… this is my favorite way to watch a Reds game. We ocassionally sit in the Cincinnati Bell suite. Its right above the warning track in outfield with indoor and outdoor decks. Not a bad way to enjoy a game if you ask me. This was during batting practice. I love all those red seats and uniforms.

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The other night I was putting away laundry and had put aside a few things to hang up. I looked down and realized that every one of them was striped in some way. I think I’m addicted to stripes. Just a little?

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With the nice afternoons lately, O has been walking her baby doll around the neighborhood in the stroller. She’d do it all day long if she could. Notice that she’s finally big enough to wear her bangle bracelet she go for Christmas. Starting her young! I wore a similar one until it had to be broken off of me at five years old. I refused to take it off.

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Left over Blue Oven Bakery bread that my mom made into delicious homemade croutons. This stuff is just too good to go to waste!

What are you loving lately?

Earning My Stripes

I’d like to introduce you to our new living room arrangement. This room is our most used room, despite being television free (on purpose!). We entertain in here, play with Baby O and relax in here.

First of all, please excuse my poor photography. The room is wide and it is difficult to get a picture of everything. There are two chairs against the striped wall, although you can only see one. The corner of the room has a bin of toys and the boppy lives there too. I’m looking for a better system to store those things.

STRIPES: The stripes have been around for a while and I LOVE THEM. I did it while Hubby was out of town for work. He hated the idea but loves the result! Typical. As my mother says, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission. Anyway, that wall was a nasty burgundy when we bought the house. JUST that wall. The rest was a paper bag tan… all in flat paint (WHHHHYYY!). It acted as a black whole and sucked all the light and helped make the room feel super cramped. The stripes freshen it up, emphasize the length of the room, enhance the height of the wall and contrasts just right with the surrounding gray walls. Colors are both Behr paint and primer in one, eggshell finish (for durability and light reflection). Gray: Ashes, Cream: Roman Plaster.

FURNITURE: The couch (Ikea Ektorp but looks soooo Pottery Barn) used to be against that wall and the chairs floated wherever for a while. I put the couch under the window for two reasons: it keeps the dogs from standing the the sill and barking and it is a better use of space. Also, the couch has other tailored slip covers available for a quick and inexpensive change whenever we feel like it. The chairs (Ikea Tullsta) went on the striped wall for more contrast and to open up the floor space. This layout definitely opened up the room and allows for more floor space as well as a better traffic flow. We’ve been using tons of floor space since Baby O can sit up, roll, scoot and such.  Also, the wall opposite the striped wall is only a half wall that overlooks the landing/foyer. I didn’t want anything there since Baby O will likely learn to climb soon. That wall is home to a toy bin and a Jumparoo. As you can imagine, they are cramping our style but I’m trying to minimize that effect. The wall opposite the couch is open to the dining area which is currently needing some love. I’m thinking about a fantastic rust colored rug. Don’t tell hubby yet. The coffee table and end table are yard sale finds. Ok, well a friend had them in her pile to sell and I saw them in her dining room and jumped in to buy them before the yard sale. But the coffee table has drawers, rounded corners and a solid build. Baby friendly and stylish! I bought them both together for $65! I’m sure they were out of my price range originally.

ACCENTS: All pillows (blue ikat and bronze ripple- but I can’t find it online) and the chenille throw are from Target. The subtle zebra curtains are as well. Who says you can’t mix patterns? Just do it in moderation and with balance.

NEXT: Hanging pictures. I have a huge pile and it’s going to take an entire weekend to look at the arrangement options. I’d like to add hints of that peacock blue from the pillows elsewhere. Better lighting is also on my list.