Thursday, July 29, 2010

Landscaping Solution Reveal

Wow! I received so many wonderful ideas and suggestions for my little landscaping project. I really appreciate everyone who took the time to voice their opinion. I have to say I have learned a lot from this process. Thank you!

Case in point, Kelly at MuchTo Do With Nothing, Miranda at Blooming in Alaska, Katie at Yoga Gal, Jackie at Empty Nest Full Life, and Kathy at Creative Home Expressions all suggested using a pencil stick holly – a plant I had never heard of before.
I instantly loved the look and shape of this plant as well as its specifications – a mature width of 2 feet, adaptable to most soil conditions, can be trimmed to desired height and good drought tolerance. Sounded great!

Upon further research I also found it is hardy in Zones 5 – 9. I, however, discovered I live in Zone 4. (You can tell I need to learn more about gardening as I did not know what Zone I lived in until I looked it up for this project.)

There were also many other terrific plant suggestions including burford hollies – love the idea of the red berries playing off the red door - from Debbie at Confessions of a Plate Addict . . .
. . . ligustrom topiary- a very versatile plant that can be grown into many shapes - from Karen . . .
. . . and hydragneas – one of my all time favorites - from Joan at For the Love of a House.
Lisa at Fern Creek Cottage, Andrea at Willow Wisp Cottage, Melissa at Melissa's Heart and Home and Amy at Simply a Farmer’s Wife thought the best option was two large urns.

There were also several people who suggested planting something “softer” and less structured since the rest of my landscaping is very symmetrical. So many terrific ideas!

So what did I choose? (in case you missed it, click HERE to see the before)
The winner was two large urns.
I think the urns give me the most flexibility as well as the best fit for the architecture of the house. I will be able to fill them with flowers, a topiary or seasonal décor.
They are also simple in design, take up less room than a plant (and will never get bigger!), and will allow me to add some color with annuals to the front entrance.
I am very pleased with how this little change looks – classic and less cluttered. I seem to be simplifying and going more “white” on the inside of my house so it just goes to follow that I would do the same for the outside.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What to do?

You have probably guessed that the picture above is of my house. It was taken several years ago – long before I had even heard of the word “blog.” Today, my house looks like this:
Not really too much different at first glance. Take a closer look, however, and you will see the cone shaped bushes on either side of the door have grown taller and have become rather thin and brown around the bottom. Not pretty! The damage is not very noticeable from the street, but close up is another story. It seems they did not brave the winter well this year – victims of some hungry voles I have been told.
Being the type of person who would rather have “nothing” than live with something I don’t like, I decided they needed to go.
Fortunately, Mr. RDH didn’t need much convincing. So out came the shovels and down went the bushes.
It definitely is a much cleaner and simpler look – which I like. The problem is this – what should I replace them with?

A few ideas have come to mind – same type of bush as before, another boxwood, a bed of flowers, a different kind of bush (suggestions welcome), two urns, etc.

So what would you do? I am open to all suggestions and look forward to hearing your opinion. Thanks for your help.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Guest Posting at Finding Fabulous

Today you will find me guest posting at Finding Fabulous - so exciting!

It seems Jane and I are kindred spirits when it comes to many of our design philosophies – decorating for less, thinking outside the box, revamping and reusing furniture, etc.

You can understand why I was thrilled when she asked me to share my favorite budget decorating tip.

I hope you will visit Finding Fabulous to see my answer!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Big, Big Rock!

This past week my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Looking back, it is hard to believe so much time has passed by so quickly. To celebrate our 20 years together my wonderful husband bought me a big rock!

No, no, not this kind of rock:
This kind of rock!
Mine came in the form of new granite countertops for our kitchen.

If you have been following this blog for a while, you will no doubt understand how excited I was/am. I much prefer “house things” to clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. This was the absolutely perfect gift!

Here is our kitchen before.  We had speckled green/gray/black granite tiles with a very dated wooden edging.

Here is the kitchen now.
It honestly feels like a brand new space.
I find myself walking through the kitchen and just staring. Is this really the same kitchen? It is hard to believe how one change to a room can make such a big difference. I am so pleased with the results.

Keeping it Real with a Few Things to Think About
I can’t say enough about how much I love my new countertops. (I don’t want you to think I am complaining!) Like every project, however, it was not without its issues. I am hoping by sharing a few of the things which occurred during our renovation, it may help you if/when you decide to tackle a similar project.

As I said earlier, the original countertops in my kitchen were granite tiles with a wooden edge. This meant two things. First, the new granite countertops would not be as thick as the original. Not really an issue unless you already have a tile backsplash in place like we did.

In order for the new countertops to be the correct height in relation to the existing backsplash, a ¼” piece of wood had to be installed to increase the height of the granite. This means we will have to put a ½” quarter round piece of cherry molding along the underneath side of the granite to hide the exposed edge of the added wood. We have not done this yet, but in all honesty, you can’t see this extra piece of wood unless you are sitting on the floor.
The second issue was the original countertops had to be completely destroyed in order to make the templates for the new countertops. I was told if my countertops had been laminate, the installers would have popped them off, made the templates and put them back in place.
Instead, we had to clean out everything from the bottom row of cabinets and store it all in the dining room. We also had to live without a kitchen sink and dishwasher for the entire process - about a month.
Not a big issue, as I have a utility sink in my laundry room which is right around the corner from the kitchen.

An unexpected problem occurred when we were attempting to reinstall the faucet. My previous sink had been a top mounted model on which the faucet was placed. The new sink is an under the counter mounted model.
Translation, the faucet was now about ½” shorter and the faucet handles would not turn because they hit the ledge behind the sink. Needless to say, I was not happy. What to do?
The installers and I bounced several ideas around – sand off part of the ledge to make it smaller and create more room behind the faucet, install a small piece of granite on top of the countertop and underneath the faucet to add height, etc. Nothing I really liked because each of these solutions created more problems.

Finally after a long discussion, I came up with an idea – switch the faucet handles to lever style. Not knowing if this was even an option, I made some phone calls. As luck would have it, lever style handles are made for my faucet model. We ordered the handles and they should be here within two weeks. Problem solved. In the mean time, the faucet is set in place but not mounted to the countertop. This allows me to use the faucet and sink until the new handles arrive.

After resolving the faucet issue, next up was attaching the sink to the garbage disposal and water supply. My new sink is larger and deeper than the original sink (hurray!) which, of course, caused more problems.
When my husband tried to reuse the original pipes they were now too long because the sink sits lower in the cabinet. The old pipes could not be cut because of the location of a manufacturer’s label. Another delay, but a trip to Lowe’s and this issue too was solved.

Wall Damage
In order to install the granite on the right of the refrigerator, a piece of the door molding needed to be removed. Nail holes will now need to be patched and the molding repainted.
There was also some slight wall damage caused by the granite sliding into place – more patching and painting. Neither one of these is a big deal, but just something to be aware of if you are redoing countertops next to a door facing.

I hope my experience will help you to think about some of the issues we had with our project should you decide to do something similar. The reality is all of these surprises were easily dealt with. It was more frustrating than anything else when you think you would be finished and then something else would delay progress. The biggest issue was really the faucet. We were extremely lucky that Rohl makes an alternative style handle.
I am “over the moon” happy with how my kitchen looks now. My husband truly out did himself. Thanks Mr. RDH!

Linking to some of my favorite parties HERE

Granite – Absolute Black
Sink – Blanco Super Single Bowl Silgranit in Biscuit
Faucet – Rohl Country Kitchen

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ideas for Dressing Up Store Bought Curtains – Part 2

This is the second of my two part series on embellishing store bought curtains which was featured in the summer edition of Better Homes and Gardens 100 Decorating Ideas Under $100. In my first post, I showed how to add a fabric topper to a pre-made tab top curtain as well as how to lengthen the same curtain by adding fabric “stripes.” Today’s post features a curtain made by incorporating ready made gathered top panels with an embroidered table runner, as well as several other fun ideas.

Valance Topped Curtain
This curtain was designed by Donna Talley (Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications) and made by me. It was created to conceal a bookshelf niche using ready made gathered curtains and a two-tiered valance. The valance is made from an embroidered table runner and linen fabric.

100 Decorating Ideas Under $100 / Photographer – John Bessler
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

100 Decorating Ideas Under $100 / Photographer – John Bessler
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

Table runner tier;
Cut table runner to the desired height and width plus 1 inch for seam allowances. If your table runner is not lined, cut a coordinating piece of fabric to the same measurements. With right sides together and matching up raw edges, pin and sew bottom and side edges. Turn right side out and press. If you table runner is lined, turn runner inside out. Sew side and bottom seams if they are not sewn. If top seam is sewn, remove hem. Press.

Blue linen tier:
Determine desired finished size. The curtain shown has a 2 inch border around the bottom and side edges. There is no top border. Cut two pieces of fabric to desired size plus 1 inch for seam allowance.

Assembling the valance:
Lay one piece of blue linen fabric right side up on a flat surface. Place table runner tier on top of linen fabric (right side out), aligning top edge and centering. There should be a 2 ½ inch border around the side and bottom edges. Place second piece of blue linen fabric wrong side up on top, matching raw edges. Pin.

Sew around top, bottom and one side edge. The second side edge should be sewn leaving an opening of several inches. Turn the valance right side out through the opening left on the side seam. Press and hand sew opening shut.

Hang the panels on a tension rod and then layer the valance over them. The valance can be held in place with Velcro.

A few More Ideas
Shown below are other ideas which Donna Talley designed and created for using pre-made curtains which appeared in the same article.

Add a Decorative Border to a Pre-Made Tab Top Curtain
100 Decorating Ideas Under $100 / Photographer – John Bessler
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

Create a border by adding grosgrain ribbon along each side and tassel fringe to the top and bottom edges. Sew on the embellishments or attach them with fabric glue.

Ribbon and Button Tieback
100 Decorating Ideas Under $100 / Photographer – John Bessler
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

Embellish basic panels with a simple tieback made of ribbon and buttons. Hot glue mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell buttons to ribbon, leaving space between each button. Leave several inches unadorned at each end. Wrap the ribbon around the curtain panel and tie the unadorned ends to a hook attached to the wall.

Rosette Swag
100 Decorating Ideas Under $100 / Photographer – John Bessler
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

Turn two wooden rosettes into creative hangers for a curtain swag. Embellish the pieces with adhesive gems. Glue a short wooden dowel to the back of each rosette and glue the hangers to the window frame.

Hanging Headboard
100 Decorating Ideas Under $100 / Photographer – John Bessler
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

Make a statement with a headboard from a curtain panel. Using fabric markers of different thicknesses, write favorite quotes, poems and lyrics on the panel. Hang the finished panel from a curtain rod using clip rings.

Oversized Hangers
100 Decorating Ideas Under $100 / Photographer – John Bessler
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

For a take-notice look, skip a traditional curtain rod in favor of oversized holdbacks used as hangers. Screw the tiebacks into the wall above the window frame and hang the panels from 2 inch curtain rings. A row of tassel fringe adds flair along the bottom edge of the panels.

Pediment Valance
100 Decorating Ideas Under $100 / Photographer – John Bessler
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

Create a classic valance with an architectural pediment. Add wooden rope trim with wood glue. Spray paint the piece a pewter color. Paint the rope trim gold using a brush. Screw hooks into the back of the valance to hang tension rod for the panels. Screw the valance to the molding.

I hope you were inspired by all of these simple ideas using pre-made curtains. As you can see, you do not need to be a master seamstress in order to create custom curtains. All of these ideas are simple, stylish and easily doable!

My favorite is the striped curtain which appeared in the first post. Do you have a favorite? 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Apron Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the apron giveaway sponsored by The Hip HostessThere were many lovely comments from long time followers as well as new followers. As a group, I think we were pretty evenly split between "planners" and "spontaneous gatherers."  There were even a few people who said they were both.

The winner, selected by, is comment #4 – Terra from Willow’s Grace. She said, “I just love the melon splash! How fun!!!!”

Congratulations to Terra. I hope you enjoy your new apron.

The Hip Hostess is offering 20% off all purchases for Red Door Home readers through July 31, 2010. Simply enter the promo code “REDDOOR” to claim your discount.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tickled Pink and a Color Connection

I have been blessed to meet so many extremely talented and generous people over the short time I have spent blogging. I am constantly amazed by the creativity and the willingness of others to share their ideas, time and gifts. Today I wanted to spotlight two special bloggers and new friends - Holly from 504 Main and Marian from Mustard Seed Creations.

Tickled Pink at 504 Main

Today I was honored to be included in Holly’s Tickled Pink Friday feature – a day to share what you love about your own blog or from other people’s blogs. Every Friday, Holly spotlights her favorite things from the past week and offers a great giveaway. Her topics include entertaining, cooking, creating, kicking up your heels, and more. Lots of fun and creativity all in one place!

As a bonus, a few weeks ago I was the winner of this fabulous journal set from Liberty of London. Thanks Holly!
It has already found a new home on my desk. I now have a stylish place to record all my ideas. The trick will be keeping my daughter from claiming them as her own!

Miss Mustard Seed and a Color Connection
I was very excited the day I discovered Mustard Seed Creations. Marian’s blog is so inspiring and is a tremendous creative resource - wonderful before and after photos, decorative painting, favorite vintage finds, small business tips, furniture feature Friday linky party and so much more. Needless to say, I have been a happy follower ever since.

In a recent post, Marian talked about, and showed pictures of, her newly repainted living room and dining room. Her color of choice was SW Aria Ivory. As most of my house is painted with this same color, I left her a comment telling her how much I too loved the way it made the white woodwork stand out – “a color without being a color” if that makes any sense. Below is Marian’s beautiful dining room.
Miss Mustard Seed

The irony of this story is that unbeknownst to either of us, Marian had used my living room which had been featured in Women’s Day Budget Decorating, as her inspiration for her color choice. She had received a copy of the magazine from her mother-in-law and saved the article.

Photographer – Michael Partenio
Stylist – Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer, Meredith Publications

Photographer – Michael Partenio
Stylist – Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer, Meredith Publications

Marian quickly figured out the connection after visiting my blog and seeing this post. She was kind enough to email me and to write about our color connection HERE.

I hope you will take the time to visit these two wonderful ladies. Their blogs are delightful!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Giveaway Reminder!

Today is your last chance to enter to win a Demi Style or Café Style apron of your choice from The Hip Hostess.

Winner will be announced Saturday. Good luck!

To enter click HERE.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Follower Feature

One of my favorite aspects of writing this blog is hearing from all the wonderful people who read and follow Red Door Home. It always makes me happy when someone shows an interest in an idea or tutorial by leaving an encouraging comment and/or asking additional questions. I get especially excited when I receive pictures of a completed project. Here is one such example.

You may remember the ceiling tutorial I created a while back. This easy ceiling treatment was part of my daughter’s bedroom makeover.

A few weeks ago I received a lovely email and pictures from a long time follower (who requested to remain anonymous) who used this project as inspiration for her dining room.

I think she did a wonderful job and am so glad she took the time to share her project. Thank you!

If you have been inspired by a project you have seen on Red Door Home, I would love to feature you! Send me an email and pictures of your completed project and you could be my next featured follower.
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