After planning and ordering the fabric for our living room, the fabric quickly arrived. It was time to decide if I was going to bravely attempt sewing the panels for the living room and topper for the eat-in kitchen area myself or wait and take it to a professional. I've shared before that I strongly dislike sewing. Maybe it's not even the act of sewing, it's more the thought of cutting and measuring fabric that turns my stomach. There's just a lot that can go wrong. After a day of deliberation, I decided to go for it. I used a fabulous online tutorial from Sew Many Ways Blog, here. It was literally so easy and the whole project was done with a tape measure, sub par sewing scissors, a $100 Brother sewing machine, ruler, and yard stick. So when I was finished, up they went, replacing the panels from the living room of our first house.
Just one problem...both drapes somehow came out to be about an inch short of resting on the floor. Don't ask me how. I must have measured the distance from the rod to the floor FIVE times before sewing the rod pocket closed.
And this would be the reason I dislike sewing. The OCD took over and I just couldn't bear to look at my high-water drapes. They seriously gave me flashbacks of my own experiences with high-water pants in 4th and 5th grade. Traumatic.
Oh and one last tip, if you're going to use the Sew Many Ways tutorial make sure you read it a couple times all the way through. This really helped me. Cheers to sewing!
So I mentioned here that our dinette set was on the way out the door and I can now say it has made its exit. Hallelujah. It wasn't terrible, just a little too dark. Mattie must agree, just look at that look she's giving me.
So you know I love a good Craig's List find and the new (to us) dinette was one of those. I was searching for "cane back chairs" in hopes of finding a charming set that would fit with the gray butcher block table that my parents are gifting us. Instead, I found a table AND six cane back chairs listed for $250. After some negotiating, we picked up the six chairs and the table for $200. Hubs usually thinks my Craig's listing is freaky and ridic but since the chairs I initially wanted from Ballard Designs run $300 a pop, he was all in on six chairs and a table for $200. Score. (Table is a temporary piece until the butcher block table is ready!)
The set looks pristine here but it really needed some work. It was not the cleanest, had some splatters of orange temper paint here and there, paint was worn, one chair had a split that needed glue and the seat covers were stained. CANING WAS PERFECT THOUGH. Aaahhh amaze me one more time Craig's List! With vintage buys, it's important to keep in mind what elbow grease can and can't fix to make the deal worth it. If the caning had been damaged this set would have been a no go for me. Re-caning chairs would break this momma's thrift budget.
So after my Hancock run, the total project budget was up to about $290. Still less than one chair from Ballard! I wiped the chairs down again for good measure before disassembling them and tracing the seat bottoms on the cushion material. I cut them out one by one. This part was not super enjoyable.
The cushions were glued to the seat bottoms with spray adhesive and then we recovered them by pulling the fabric tight and stapling. This part was a two person job to help ensure that the fabric was pulled evenly. With help from hubs, we got the chairs put back together. He is super happy because the new seats are nice and comfy. Here is how they came out!
So charming and definitely brightens up our little breakfast nook. I love the way the leafy green fabric sets off the yellow of the counter stools.
Say hi to Mattie, our household photobomber.
6 chairs and table $200
4 yards of fabric $ 24
Cushion foam $ 60
Grand total $284
Finding the perfect paint color that speaks to you can be exciting and anxiety-inducing all at once. It can make for a tough decision if you're an over-analyzer like myself. When we were going through the process of making over our 70's colonial we had to choose exterior paint colors (in a week due to the contractor's timeline!!!). You may look at the house and think, 'Why would you paint a pretty brick colonial?', at least that's what my dad thought. He had to be painted due to the remodeling process. We added some window cut outs and bricked in a couple other windows that were going to end up looking oddly placed after the floorplan overhaul. Matching brick from the 70's is not the easiest. Here are some tips we learned along the way that really helped us through the paint picking process.
1. Find a few inspiration ideas from homes in your area, pins on Pinterest, and sites like houzz.com. I found it was best to find as many inspiration ideas as possible. After collecting (and by collecting I mean creeping around, photographing other colonial style homes in some of my favorite Charlotte 'hoods) I looked for commonalities in my inspiration. If you tend to be indecisive or a nervous Nelly about making permanent choices, this will help you to see trends in what speaks to you. Here were my top trends in inspiration photos. It's easy to see I like a creamy white brick tone.
2. Get a second opinion from someone you trust. Choose your second opinion wisely. With house choices I've learned it isn't necessary to get a 853rd opinion by asking every person you know what they think of what you like. Who cares what they all think? This just makes it even harder to make a decision because about half of the people you may ask won't pick your favorite choice. That said, choose your second opinion wisely by looking for someone with experience. It can be a trusted friend who renovated their home or a designer you know. For our second opinion we asked our contractor who chooses exterior paint colors frequently. I wouldn't always recommend a contractor's opinion, but ours happens to be a super thoughtful guy who does beautiful work with color and exterior choices and I trusted his opinion.
3. Invest in samples! Head over to your local paint store with your inspiration photos in tow and the names of any paint colors you have seen mentioned on Pinterest. Invest in a few samples for main house color, trim, and shutters. It will pay off in the long run when you don't want to repaint because the color of your house is not what you really wanted. I would suggest three main color samples, two trim samples, and up to four shutter samples. Any more than that and you've spent a fortune on samples and you just might confuse yourself. Paint the samples right on your house to compare.
4. View the samples at different times during the day. Paint colors can skew differently depending on the angle and amount of sunlight. Be sure to view your choices in the morning and afternoon light. One of our top choices ended up skewing really yellow during afternoon light and that, my friends, is NOT what I was going for (creamy yellow house just makes banjos music play in my head).
5. Consider contrast. Exterior paint does look best with a good amount of contrast or difference between light and dark tones. Keep in mind the scale of your casa when considering contrast. If you have many details on the exterior of your home (tons of windows, trim pieces that are oversized or close together), keep in mind that high contrast will make each and every detail stand out. If you like a more uniform look, (check out your inspiration photos to know for sure) go for less contrast in your choices. If your home is pretty simple with few details, pack a punch with higher contrast between your main, trim and shutter colors.
6. Be confident in your choice. After you make your final decision, be confident that you did all of your homework and be proud of your choice.
In the end, we went with a cream tone for the main color choice that skewed a little gray, a light trim to blend with our white windows (they're vinyl so no painting those!), and an off-black shutter tone. All colors are mixes of a couple colors found at Sherwin Williams. Sidenote: I love their paint and how they give you the option of modifying colors on their palette. They can take a percentage of a color or mix colors to get what you really want. Just find a patient, friendly associate at your local store. They also store your paint mix combination in their computer system so if you ever run out or need to repaint it is a quick and easy reference. SW also has paint sales (up to 40% off!) regularly so getting on the e-mail list isn't a bad idea.
Oh and I'd love to hear your thoughts...a bright color for the front door or should we paint it the same off-black color as the shutters? Decisions, decisions.
Our current house has some exciting features that our sweet ranch didn't have. One of these features is a true foyer. When we were in the process of renovating I put a lot of thought into choosing a pretty semi-flush mount light fixture and ultimately went with this blingy goodness that was just fussy enough without overpowering the space. Feiss makes it and we purchased our light fixtures from Blankenship's, a local store that offers B-E-A-UTIFUL lights at great prices. Even in the house's unfinished state she managed to look pretty.
Fast forward a few months and the foyer was finished but still plain. After looking for inspiration in some of my favorite magazines and on Pinterest, I decided I wanted an eye-catching Persian style rug with bold colors. The only problem being that I did not want to spend baby girl's college fund to purchase a hall runner because as I'm sure you know, hand-knotted rugs can cost thousands. What's a girl to do?? I began searching on Craigslist in hopes of finding a vintage rug that fit the bill at a much reduced rate. I went out on a limb and searched daily in three regions: Charlotte, where we live, Charleston, where my family lives, and Columbia, which is halfway between the two. After a few weeks of daily searches with a variety of keywords, I happened upon this sweet number. I absolutely love the hints of royal blue and pink mixed in with the traditional red and it was love at first sight.
She tried to bargain, but the sellers were firm and that was fine with me since the price was excellent for a hand knotted wool rug like this. It has some frayed edges, which gives me the vintage feel I was looking for, but is still nice and thick with no bare spots. It is now the centerpiece of our entryway and brightens things up so nicely!
This is a little before and after action from the front door. Lamps are from Homegoods, mirror is a faux bamboo thrift find, spotted porcelain dogs are from a local antique shop, and console is Ballard Designs. Later, I edited the basket with one from Homegoods that fits more nicely in the space. Here's my finished product.
Drama. Usually less is what we go for, but not in the case of bookshelves. In our current house we kept the original bookshelves that frame either side of the hearth in the living area. They got a coat of white paint, new knobs, and faux backs to cover over audio equipment and we called it a day. Low drama, verging on boring, maybe even sterile.
After we moved in, I dressed them out with some accessories and books that we had, thinking that I would come revamp at a later date. Recently, I started considering how to give the shelves a little more depth. My first thought was wallpaper, preferably the adjustable, peel-and-stick kind. I bought some from Target and brought it home to think it over.
I weighed the wallpaper versus just painting the backs of the shelves for a while...a "while" being two months. Needless to say, I struggled with this life altering decision before going with the paint option. I just didn't love the wallpaper after staring at it and figured paint lends itself to more options as far as color. Don't get me wrong, you can get wallpaper in almost any pattern but the budget friendly stuff that is peel-and-stick doesn't come in a wide range of options. I ended up going with Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze which is a dark bronze almost black that lends itself to gray in certain lights and goes especially well with the Agreeable Gray walls in the living area. So I returned the wallpaper and the process began.
Overall, the process took about 3 1/2 hours from undressing the shelves, to taping the edges, trimming in, and painting the two coats. It could probably be done in less time if the painter wasn't 38 weeks preggo. Impressive, right? Helloooooo nesting.
Loving the new, more dramatic look of the shelves. The dark back drop for my trinkets balances the fireplace screen and TV a lot better than the white. Coming soon... new upholstery for my loves there front and center, the chrome x-benches. Can't wait to share once I tackle those pretties. This room is definitely a work in progress so stay tuned!