Hi there. And tweaks.

If you found me through Better After, welcome! Click here to see the feature. I’ve been a long time reader of Lindsey’s fantastic blog and am thrilled that she decided to feature Ada’s bedroom today. Thanks Lindsey!

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Editing has been hard for me in this house because we have a lot of areas still in flux. I haven’t yet gotten around to painting the kitchen, stairwell or upstairs hallway, haven’t touched the bathrooms, sun room is in limbo because we need to have some work done in it, and our biggest bedroom is currently being used for storage. Most of the spaces I’ve listed need more than just a coat of paint on the walls (in some cases a lot more) so we’ll get to each of those spaces as time, budget, and life allow.

But that hasn’t stopped me from wanting to unpack all our boxes in order to find homes for all our favorite things. As a result, the living room has become sort of a dumping ground for every single frame and knick knack. And I’m a painter. So I’m adding to the collection often. But today I forced myself to edit a bit. I’ve been unhappy with the gallery wall in the living room ever since we swapped couches and moved the tv. It used to look like this back in December:

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And then things got moved around so I filled it in with some more things and it got crazy and looked stupid.

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So today I forced myself to take everything off the wall to get a fresh perspective. I didn’t buy anything new, I just used what I had, and tried to edit as much as I could. I’m not the kind of person who ever likes leaving pictures and frames un-hung. Especially family photos. It feels so wrong to have Grandma stacked in a box instead of on the wall…as if I am somehow making a statement about my feelings towards her. Am I the only one who feels this way??? Anyway, I did my usual hemming and hawing and ended up taking away at least seven frames. I’m trying to remind myself that I have plenty of walls for them to live on, once those walls are ready. Some of you might laugh when you see what my version of “severely edited” is, but I tried to focus on bigger and fewer pieces while still ending up with a look that is eclectic, easy, and colorful. (The painting on the far left is 24 x 30, to give you a sense of scale… in pictures things can tend to look itty bitty even when they aren’t.)

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I told you yesterday that the mirror above the fireplace was getting some attention as well. You can see in one of the pictures above that the mirror used to be white. Actually, I painted it white a couple years ago while we were living in our condo and the mirror was hanging on the wall. Yes. I painted the mirror while it was on the wall. That beast is heavy. Needless to say, the paint job was atrocious. And once I put it in its spot in this house, I was not thrilled about the white on white look with the mantle and surround.

Well, I actually took it down to work on it this time. All I did was sand it down lightly, give it a couple coats of Rustoleum gold spray paint, and then sanded down the edges to distress it a bit after it was dry. And I also hung it up this time. It had been propped on the mantle, but that always made me nervous and it also ate up a lot of room that should be used for candles or plants or whatever else my little heart desires.

The White Party:

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Gold City:

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If you’re wondering what those circles in the black frames are, wonder no more. I wanted something graphic but curvy and uncomplicated to break up all the hard lines and boxes on that back wall. I had two $5 Ikea poster frames sitting in the garage, so I literally just took the paper that came in the frame, turned it over to the blank side, and painted a different circular shape on each one with a mixture of black and cobalt blue paint. I wanted them to look as brushed and imperfect as possible.

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Enough of the fun stuff. Time for me to suck it up and paint another closet now…I guess. Brian is probably wondering why the living room has been altered at least fifteen times and yet he still has nowhere to hang his shirts.

Oh, well, because painting closets is pretty close to torture.

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But. I’m on it. Closet 2.0.

 

 

Warmer white and new art

I finally knocked out one of those annoying little projects that has been on my to-do list for months. The mantle and fireplace surround were never given their final coat of paint. You couldn’t tell in pictures, but in real life it looked pretty bad and kind of splotchy from not having enough coverage. But there is a reason I let certain projects hang in limbo for a while. It helps me to figure out if I made the right decision or wrong decision. If I made the right decision, awesome. If not, I’m able to change gears a bit without feeling too badly about it since it was never completely finished anyway.

The issue, in this case, was….(drum roll)…. the shade of white. I know. So lame, right? But so important. I initially painted it Ultra Pure White by Behr. Basically….primer white. This was only because I had so many decisions to make when we bought the house that the thought of picking out the perfect white made me want to scream. I just couldn’t do it. So primer white it was. But once I got everything else in the space and painted the built-ins dark grey it became obvious to me that it was much too stark and cold.

Not wanting to buy more paint for such a small project, I mixed a little Baked Brie and Ultra Pure white together. The results are subtle but the warmer white is exactly what I had been wanting.

Before:

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After:

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Don’t worry. My husband couldn’t tell either. I guess that’s good.

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The large mirror I had over the mantle is outside getting some attention so I propped up one of my new paintings as a place holder.

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It’s a little skinny for the space by itself but I do so love the colors.

(24 x 36 original abstract, acrylic on stretched canvas, Julie Craigo)

 

She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head

And whispered to her neighbor

“Winter is dead.”

A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Painting a living room. (And dark walls vs light walls)

I zipped off to NY state last week for a few days to lend a hand to one of my sisters who just closed on her first house. She only had a few days between closing and moving day, so we stepped it into high gear and prepped and painted her living room (while also taking care of four kids and one baby) in just three days. I should mention that our mom also came into town and worked tirelessly along side us. We literally could not have done it without her.

The first step was choosing a paint color for the living room. I love that kind of thing. My sister does not. So I gladly stepped in and took over. Just kidding. I tried to help guide her through the process, and listened when she had an opinion, and continued to listen when she said, “I can’t make any more decisions. I don’t care!” There, there sister. We’ve all been there. Now which white do you want to go with for your trim? Should I put one more paint chip on the wall to make it an even twenty?

Picking a paint color for your walls is such a space specific thing. Every space presents its challenges and has its own personality, and my sister’s living room is no different. The walls are covered in wood paneling (that had been painted a dingy off white), the fireplace has a unique shape that (with its former paint job) reminded me of something you would see in a lodge, the room only has one (albeit very large) window, and there is a built in at one end of the room that is very Mad Men-esque.

The two most defining features about the room are the paneling and the fact that the room isn’t super bright and sunny. My sister decided that she is over white walls for a while and was ready to go with something more saturated for the space. That was music to my ears, and we quickly narrowed down our paint swatches to the dark bluey greys. The goal wasn’t to have so much an obvious color as it was to find an interesting deep neutral that would make the space lean more towards the sophisticated end of the spectrum as opposed to looking too country or outdated. Wood paneling = challenging.

We slapped some samples on the wall, and thought we had decided on a color (the middle swatch). In fact, when I put this picture on Facebook we even had some people vote for the same color we initially chose. Context is everything though.

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It was a Valspar color very similar to what I used in Ada’s bedroom in the condo (Nature’s Retreat by Behr.) I lived with that color for three years and my love for it never waned :) But rather than rush out and buy paint right away, I suggested we sleep on it. I wasn’t 100% convinced it was perfect for that space, and I even had a hard time sleeping that night because I kept stewing about it. Color obsessed. Right here. 

We came back the next morning and after seeing the swatches again in the morning light both agreed the middle color was not right. Space specific. So important to remember. Here is Ada’s bedroom in our old condo:

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How I loved that room. The difference is that the condo was in an old building with high ceilings, tall windows, old plaster walls, and substantial doors, trim, and baseboards. It would have been really difficult to make that space look “country.” The living room with the paneling, on the other hand, could very easily lean that way if we chose the wrong color for the walls. This blue paired with paneling= super country.

The only other color I liked out of the samples we got was the darkest one (far right in photo.) It was a risk to go that dark, but we decided to go for it. Unfortunately the people at Lowe’s weren’t able to color match the color we chose to the brand of paint we wanted to use (I don’t want to throw them under the bus. They supposedly got a new system a couple weeks ago with a lot of kinks still in it) so I ended up picking a Valspar color that was nearly identical, except a hint too dark. They lightened it by 12% and I crossed my fingers and brought it home.

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The color we ended up with turned out to be a little different than the sample we chose. It is more complex, has a touch more green in it, and looks just fantastic in the space. Home run. I’m sorry that I don’t remember the name of it.

The fireplace was dirty and the cream colored paint was only on the bricks, not the mortar. Weird, and not my favorite look (or my sister’s, most importantly.) Before painting it I brushed off any loose paint with a wire brush and then wiped down the fireplace with a special cleaning solution before priming it with an oil based primer. When that was dry, I gave it two coats of a light beigy grey in a high gloss finish. (Latex paint can go over oil based primer but oil based paint cannot go over a latex primer. Who knew??? That’s what I was told anyway.)

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The walls are still wet and only have one coat of paint in these pictures, but you get the idea.

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I had to come back to Detroit before the space was finished, and I regret not taking a picture of the built ins. The textured wallpaper in the back of the built ins is getting painted a beautiful light avocado/apple green. It looks so fantastic with the walls and wood tones in the room.

The most important thing is that my sister and her husband love the room. They have a lot that needs to be done in the house (I don’t know what that’s like at all!) but having one room “done” can be a real game changer and just the encouragement one needs to keep chipping away at all the other projects that are on the never ending “to do” list.

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Since we are on the subject of dark paint colors…

I know that conventional wisdom says to paint dark rooms light colors and only use dark colors in rooms that get a ton of natural light, but I actually don’t agree with that. I’ve painted a few spaces in my day, and I find that I get the best results when I paint bright sunny rooms light colors, and darker spaces more saturated colors. If you have a dark room that you paint white, you are going to end up with a white room that still looks dark, and maybe a little dingy. Painting a darkish room a darker color actually can make the walls appear to recede, therefore making the room feel larger.

The dining room/office/art studio! in our condo got almost no natural light except that which spilled over from the kitchen. When we bought the place I painted it white, thinking that would make it brighter. It just made it feel very blah. I eventually ended up painting it dark, and loved it. Things suddenly popped against the walls, and the space became much more defined and unified.

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Likewise, I initially painted my light filled kitchen a medium toned swampy green color (not the best choice). After repainting it white I was a much happier camper.

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One of our bathrooms in the condo was window-less. (I really miss our bathrooms, by the way. The bathrooms in our new house leave a lot to be desired.) Anyway. I painted it a dark eggplant color. It worked because of all the white tile and trim.

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Ultimately it’s about balance. The proportions of light and dark can make or break a space. And it sometimes takes a few tries to achieve the right balance. But I say go for it. Very few things are irreversible, especially a paint color. But before you pick a paint the right shade of white, grey, or pink you need to answer some very basic questions-

What do you want the space to feel like?

Do you like high contrast, low contrast, or no contrast?

What do you own that will be going in the space? If you need to, can you modify the pieces to fit your vision?

Maybe you could care less about undertones and complementary shades and you would rather just hire a designer. Or bring in a sister. Fine. Do it. But create a space that you love being in and looking at every day.

 

 

 

Follow the old dilapidated brick road

I have bricks on the brain. We have been getting a lot of brick repair done on the chimney and house. It’s messy and slow going.

When you buy a house that hasn’t been properly maintained in, oh, thirty years, you are also buying a yard that hasn’t been maintained. It’s equal parts cool, frustrating, and weird. Around every corner you find something that leaves you wondering about the people that lived there before you. In our case, a lot of people have lived here before us. The house changed hands many many times, and the third of an acre yard went from a real show place to a real eye sore.

We’ve had very limited time to work in the yard since buying this place (worst winter ever) but the majority of the time spent out there has been just cleaning up, for lack of a better word. We’ve raked so many leaves. We’ve cut down overgrown scrub trees and untended to fir trees. We’ve pruned bushes which have been allowed to grow to gigantic proportions. We’ve discovered tree stumps hidden under ivy, found lots of random pieces of slate hidden under bushes with which we’ll make a little walk this spring, and found two tires hidden under ground cover that are leftover from some of the stranger days this house has seen.

Much like the house, we have barely scratched the surface with the yard. It’s going to literally take years to get it where I would like it. And gardening? It’s hard. I grew up watching my mom do it, but watching and doing it are not even close to being the same. Here is just one bed I am trying to wrestle with. I think it’s one of the sunniest parts of the yard, so I would like to get it under control so that I can actually take advantage of it’s location.

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And this is AFTER already cutting/pulling out a lot from this area.

But let’s be honest- I have no idea what I’m doing. My neighbor across the street appears to be a master gardener. I will be asking her for help a lot this summer, I’m sure.

The whole property feels like the Secret Garden…only not as cool. Tires, old dog chains, metal wire on trees…pretty sure the Secret Garden didn’t have any of that stuff. But last night Brian and I found something cool. Something actually legitimately cool.

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While we were out in the yard last night I was doing some raking and pulled out a couple bricks next to the driveway that were kind of loose and half sticking out. I discovered a few that were lodged under the grass so I grabbed my trowel and started digging. Imagine my surprise when we uncovered this old brick border on both sides of the driveway that was completely covered and buried under at least two inches of grass and dirt.

It was like Christmas and I felt like Indiana Jones.

Yes, the driveway is as old as dirt and looks like a really old road, but now I’m a little less anxious to get it torn out and re-done.

This kind of thing is what makes owning an old home rewarding. You literally never know what you are going to find.

Update: We’ve since learned that these bricks were put in…maybe 8 years ago. So, not old. But still better than no bricks, right?:)

 

Rug swap

When we swapped the living room and sun room couches a few weeks ago, we left the rugs where they were. I didn’t love the new pairings, but wanted to live with them for a while before asking Brian to spend his Friday night moving rugs with me making up my mind.

Well, I made up my mind when I began to see cheese doodle and crayon? smudges on the new rug in the sun room. Now, I expect a rug in a playroom to get some battle wounds, but better to sacrifice the zebra rug which already has a huge wine stain several imperfections from years of love and use.

This leopard print rug (notice a theme? If it can’t be Persian, I guess it’s animal print) makes so much more sense in the living room. It’s thin- soft and silky to walk on, but you don’t exactly want to curl up on it. And even though it’s a pattern, it’s strangely neutral and really brightens up the room in a way the zebra rug didn’t. Likewise, the sun room feels much brighter with the thick wool zebra rug in it. Odd. Sometimes it takes trial and error to figure these things out.

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I would say that it makes the room feel so much more “finished” but that word is somewhat meaningless around here. So I’ll just say that we love it.

P.S. Overstock is usually my go-to source for rugs, other than Marshalls or Home Goods. They have a great selection and I haven’t found better prices anywhere. This 8 x 11 ft rug was less than $300. If you ever buy anything from them they’ll send you coupon codes constantly. I never buy anything without one!

Swapped anything around lately??

 

 

New Mirror for the Piano

On Monday oh wait it was actually Tuesday, I went out to the store for the sole purpose of buying some Haribo peach gummies. I bought two bags, plus a bag of gummy bears for good measure. It’s Thursday and I’m already on the third bag. Does that give you a clue as to what my week has been like at all?

Also, it was sleeting outside today.

Brian splashed his coffee on the garage door yesterday while heading out to work. It froze instantly.

I don’t really know what else to say about that except…

Don’t ask me how I found that.

Anyway, we braved the weather this morning to do some errands. Cabin fever anyone?

Every once in a while we like to stop in to some nearby consignment and thrift stores just for fun. Ada is old enough now to get a kick out of looking at the “treasures” and when the weather is nasty it’s a fun alternative to going to the mall or Target. I always keep my eye out for interesting mirrors. Sometimes I find something, sometime I don’t.

Here are some mirrors I’ve scored in the past:

This little guy (99 cents):

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This one in Ada’s room ($5)

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This one in the foyer ($40):

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And a mirror I found today for $11 which subsequently inspired a little refresher for my piano area.

Until recently, this wall used to have a gate leg table on it.

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The piano used to be on the wall leading into the kitchen, but I got so sick of bumping into it there, so we moved it to this wall and relocated the gate leg table.

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The black and white art didn’t work there anymore because of the height of the piano and it was also just too dark.

When I found the mirror at the thrift store I had no idea where I would put it. I had a few ideas, but the most obvious choice was over the piano. I’ve always had a mirror hanging over or right next to my piano so that I can see myself when I practice. And I really love that it breaks up so many straight lines.

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The white canvas fabric on the piano bench has seen better days, but rather than recover the thing right now, I just found a strip of fabric in my stash, hemmed it, and wrapped it around (the seat lifts up). New life, minimal effort. I love the pop of  color it gives the area.

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Changing up this area literally took me fifteen minutes and $11. My favorite kind of refresher!

 

Paint Chip Easter Egg Garland

I never thought I would type those words together in the same sentence.

I’m not a big crafter.

In fact, I hate them. I hate crafts.

There, I said it.

It’s inexplicable, really.

But as a mother, I feel a little bit guilty about this. Especially around holidays. How is my daughter supposed to grow up to be a normal human being if her mother isn’t crafting Santas out of cotton balls and turkeys out of hand prints and making adorable seasonal wreaths for the front door every two weeks???

I don’t know. But she is going to have to try.

Mama is not a crafter.

BUT. Today. Today my guilt overtook me and I needed to make a decoration for Easter. Something mindless. Something free.

As I was trying to tidy up the office I came across my rather over flowing basket of paint chips.

Note: I never encourage people collecting paint chips from local hardware stores for the sole purpose of doing crafts. But if you have been painting some rooms in your house and have an overabundance, by all means, craft away!

Crafting Mission: Mindless Easter Egg Garland

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I have a lot of paint chips.

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Cutting eggs out of paint chips is strangely relaxing.

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Paint pen for designs and patterns.

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Lay out the eggs, hole punch two holes at the top of each one, and get your twine.

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I wised up and taped the end for easier threading.

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So what if I’ve gotten no other decorations out of storage. We’re ready for Easter.

Mama crafted.

 

New curtains for the living room

We’ve been both blessed and cursed with the window treatment situation in this house. A lot of the windows still have the old plantation shutters on them.

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Although this pair isn’t old. It was added along the way at some point, and actually fits the window really poorly. But most of them are old, need tender loving care, some repair, new paint job, etc.

I’m actually not quite sure how I feel about all the plantation shutters. On one hand, it’s been really nice not to have to rush out and buy window treatments for a zillion windows, and they do add character, and they do add one more layer of protection between the freezing cold temperatures we had this winter and us. I also kind of like that they are kind of quirky and charming.

BUT. They create a strong look in each room. They are annoying and noisy to open and close. They need a lot of TLC. I’m not sure what to do about curtains on the windows with these shutters. And they aren’t in every room and I can’t decide if that is weird.

Brian likes them, but the verdict is still out for me. And if some of them go, it will be because they are either too far gone or I can come up with a very good argument against each and every single one. I’m married to a lawyer. I don’t really look forward to arguments with a man who enjoys arguing.

So they will probably stay.

For now.

Anyhow. The large window in the living room isn’t really a candidate for plantation shutters, thank goodness, and when we moved in we inherited six dark brown silky curtains. Yes they were silky. And yes they were brown…along with everything else in this blessed house. We quickly took them down and installed cellular cordless shades for privacy.

(A quick aside- I can’t recommend the allen + roth cellular cordless shades from Lowe’s highly enough. We also used them in the condo. They operate very smoothly and consistently and are affordable. I only bring this up because we also tried another brand from Home Depot and the quality was vastly inferior and the shades ultimately broke. I know this sounds like a commercial, but I get mad every time I think about those broken shades, so I like to share these little tips with people when I can!)

Back to the living room window…

When we took down the brown silky curtains and curtain rod, we saved the curtain rod for a future use. The future came several months later (AKA this weekend) when I decided that I was going through withdrawl from having no curtains in the house. It had been months since Ada and I hit up any kind of fabric store, and since I had a coupon to Jo-Ann’s we bee lined it over there faster than you can say “40% off.”

Now. Picking the fabric was a little tricky. I knew I wanted a pattern, small scale, and most likely yellow. Possibly red or multi. Maybe floral? I also knew that I was coming home with something that day. Even if it wasn’t perfect. Because I’m like that. I change things up a lot. I didn’t need to marry the fabric. I just needed to think it was pretty good. And I needed it to be a good price as always.

I’m not going to lie. I didn’t find exactly what I wanted. Either the color was wrong or the material was wrong or the price was wrong or the scale was wrong. Sad. But I did find some fabric in the right color, right material, okay scale, okay pattern, and pretty good price. $19.99 a yard with a 40% off coupon.

I only bought three yards because I knew that I was just going to be making two narrow, decorative, basically stationary curtains.

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The geometric pattern made it super easy to cut straight lines without measuring. I used Stitch Witchery to hem all the sides and make the pocket for the rod. Bada bing bada boom.

The recycled rod was pretty scratched up, so before Brian hung it up I spray painted it and bought new brackets from the hardware store. We hung the rod about ten inches above the window frame. Makes the ceilings look higher… you know how that goes.

I also bought two pairs of white sheer curtains from Ikea for $7.99 a pair (96 inches long.) Do people even use sheers anymore? I think they are highly underrated. They filter light so beautifully. Although I can’t really recommend them in any color besides white. Red sheers? Green? Show me a room where that works and I will eat my words. I just haven’t seen it.

So here is the room that needed curtains:

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And here are the curtains:

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They make such a difference in the room. The ceilings feel higher, the room feels cozier, and they help to define the living room a lot more.

Total cost for fabric, sheers and new brackets = $60. Not nothing, but not bad for a 12 ft expanse of window.

 

Also, do you see out that window? Can you see the grass starting to emerge from under that snow?

Do you have a tissue?

Tears of joy right here.

 

 

Cloudy with a chance of Murals

I have a thing about clouds. I love them. When I was younger I remember asking my mom if I could paint clouds on one of my bedroom walls. She more or less said, “Well, no, I think you might get sick of them.” AKA “Not a chance.” No big deal. She graciously granted my wish for a bedroom makeover anyway and over the next few months together we poured over the Country Curtains and JCPenny catalogs, selecting a “beautiful” blue and pink (sorry, “rose”) floral comforter which we based my whole room around. I begged and begged for wall to wall carpeting in my room. We didn’t have it anywhere else in the house and I thought wall to wall carpeting was the bomb. What? It was the early 90′s. I also wanted a perm. I got one. Several actually. My mom was good to me. Anyway, my mom also made me double sided blue and pink valances, and a couple matching throw pillows for my bed as well. I had cream colored sheers, blue wall to wall carpet, a white wicker rocking chair, and all the pastel accessories my little heart could desire.

It was actually a really lovely room. But I’m not a pastel girl, really. I guess I needed to get it out of my system. My mom probably knew that, and she humored me again when I wanted to get rid of the blue wall to wall carpet just a few years later. Sooner or later we all return to our roots, don’t we?

Forgive the tangent. Clouds. Let’s get back to clouds. I always do.

I grew up in central NY where (when it’s actually sunny) there are the prettiest skies you ever did see. Last year I did a series of mini paintings inspired by what I see when I go home in the summer time.

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Julie Craigo, mini landscapes

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I also grew up in a house on a hill with views like this:

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Skies are so beautiful to me. They change so quickly and contain such a breathtaking array of incredible colors (polution what?) I can’t get enough.

Oddly enough, I also see blue skies and clouds as a neutral, in some respects. I guess I use them in art the same way I would use a mirror on a wall- to simply create the feeling of more light and more space.

I needed a little light on our fireplace wall. I painted the built ins a dark grey which I love, but without any shelves they were lacking depth and interest.

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And honestly, I don’t know when we’ll get around to putting glass shelves in. It could take a while, at the rate we are going. So I wanted something that would give me the interest I was craving now, but would still work in the background once shelves are installed.

I had the abstract I painted propped up in one of the built ins (left), and I realized that I loved how that color blue glowed in that space.

Enter cloud mural. Because why not?

The cloud mural went through two stages.

Stage one:

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(Excuse the mess. I’m messy when I work.) It had just the effect I wanted. It’s almost like we added two more windows in the room.

I debated leaving it like that, but ultimately decided that I wanted to give the clouds more dimension. Forgive the grainy shots. I took these pictures in the early morning without a lot of natural light.

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Some nighttime shots:

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To do the murals I just used the leftover paint samples I already had. (And a teeny tiny bit of my black and green acrylic paints.) It should be easy enough to paint over should I ever decide to.

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Life is art and my house is my canvas.

ETA: What would life be without a before and after?

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Foyer. Getting closer.

I’ve finally gotten our foyer headed in a direction that I love (after months of looking at it with a furrowed brow) so I thought it would be fun to first dig up all the old pictures that I could find of it. It’s pretty fun to see the transformation over five months.

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When we bought the house the walls in the foyer and hallway were dark brown. I immediately painted them bright white. We had the floors refinished, and a new railing installed. The super bright white looked too much like primer so I warmed them up with a quick coat of Baked Brie (a creamy off white) to see if that was the solution. It wasn’t. You hardly noticed the trim, and the foyer just felt so washed out compared to the colorful adjoining living room.

We installed a new light and that helped.

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Our foyer has a super cottagey feel. I’ve come to accept that. The stairs are smack up against the front door, it’s small, and has a lot of doorways. Despite all these challenges, I still wanted the foyer to feel like its own distinct space, and not a pass through just to get to the office or living room or kitchen. Or bathroom. Or coat closet. Like I said, a lot of doors.

Wanting the space to relate to the adjoining rooms, I started looking up different shades of grey (not the book) online. I wanted a warm grey with no hints of blue in it. I found that Rockport Grey by Benjamin Moore was a pretty popular color and a lot of people have used it successfully in different kinds of spaces, so I promptly got a sample from my local Ace Hardware.

I wanted to like it. I wanted it to be the one. The sample cost me $7, and honestly, I am so burnt out on picking paint colors. I feel like that’s ALL I’ve been doing with my life lately. But it wasn’t right in the space. It was a little too dark, too muddy, and too swampy.

I broke out a few of the paint chips I’d grabbed while buying the sample of the Rockport Gray, and taped them to the wall.

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I hemmed. I hawed. And then I went to Home Depot. Because honestly? Behr paint is $20 a gallon cheaper than Benjamin Moore paint, and I’ve nothing but good luck with Behr paint. Sorry Benjamin Moore. Sorry Ace. And then I did something I’ve never done before. I bought a gallon of paint color matched to Ozark Shadows without buying a sample first.

I’ve been known to live dangerously close to the edge.

Here you can see the difference between the two colors:

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If I didn’t like what I saw, too bad because I already bought the paint.

The good news? I’m obsessed with the color. Get ready for picture overload. Hold on to your desk chairs.

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Yes. That tread was replaced months ago and I still haven’t treated it. On the list…

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I recently found this beauty for $40 at an antique store. Can you ever have too many gaudy gold mirrors? No. You cannot. It’s perfect.

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Oh, hello hole.

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Did we magically just fix that gaping hole in the wall? Yes. I magically fixed it on the computer. If only real life were that easy.

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Clearly I haven’t gotten to the walls going upstairs yet. And I haven’t finished staining the railing. Avert your eyes.

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Is it acceptable to use a Patron bottle as a bud vase? Don’t answer that.

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One last before and after:

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Ok, one more. I’m serious this time.

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It’s a warm, soothing grey that relates so well to the colors in the adjoining rooms. I wish I could use this color everywhere. Colors just pop against it. And now the foyer feels a little more like a thing.

I clearly still have a lot left to do and figure out but I’m trying to remind myself that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Any questions? Like, why am I using a bar cart for my entry table?

You saw the flower vase/bottle of Patron, right?