Monday, August 30, 2010

Time for a Change

Except for the Mora clock, the room above has pretty much looked this way since the day we moved into our house almost ten years ago. I have grown tired of the darkness of the red, the abundance of accessories and the “woody” feel of the space. Thus, I have come to the conclusion it is time for a change.

My plan is to begin by adding a new wall color, lighter curtains – probably panels - and updated pillows. I want to remove some of the accessories to allow the room to breathe and add a fun rug for softness. My goal is to reuse most of the furnishings and some of accessories in order to keep costs to a minimum.

Here is a quick tour of the room as it looks today:

While our house was being built, my husband found the oak doors at a local antique shop. We quickly changed our plans to accommodate them in lieu of the standard pocket doors we had planned. (These obviously will stay.)

My grandmother had a terrific sense of style both in the way she dressed and how she decorated her home. The carved African heads were purchased by her on an African safari and the brass candle sticks (seen in the first picture above) came from a trip to Greece.

I also inherited her sewing box (above) which she had painted by Minnesota artist Enid Grindland in the traditional Norwegian style of Rosemaling. The plate between the windows (below) was a special Christmas present also created by the same artist. I consider both these pieces treasures as they belonged to my Grandmother and are part of my Norwegian heritage.

The furniture is a set – two chairs and a sofa - I refinished when my husband and I were first married. My in-laws had it in their basement but had no room for it in their house. I do not plan to have these pieces reupholstered as the fabric is still in great shape and the cost of this little room redo would skyrocket.

This quarter sawn oak table was found at a flea market my husband and I used to visit every Sunday when we were first married. It was one of those spur of the moment purchases which at the time was probably not very smart - we had little money, no real furniture, etc. – but turned out to be something I am so glad we did. Can you guess what it is?

An antique game table! It is such a fun piece and although we have not used it for its intended purpose since moving here (hard to move with so much other furniture in the way) we have played many a card game on it in previous houses. This too will stay.

On the “probably will be replaced at some point list” is the Bob Timberlake coffee table. I would like to find something more in keeping with the eclectic style and feeling of the rest of the room.

The skirted table will have a fabric change at the very least and most likely will be gone completely. (I never realized how much this fabric looks like my living room curtain fabric!)  I am thinking about a smaller more modern table to add a little twist to this room. (Let me know if you have any ideas.)

I like the size of the mirror and how it looks hanging above the game table but I am not so sure about the gold finish. This was an Ethan Allen floor sample so I am not opposed to painting it. I will have to wait on see on this idea until the rest of the room comes together.

So there you have it. My “red room” which I no longer want to be red! I will be heading to the paint store this week for the first step in this transformation.

I have not even begun to look at fabric for pillows and curtains, rugs or additional furnishings. I know this is probably not the best way to approach a room transformation - most designers will tell you to have a plan in place before you begin. I am just going to “wing it” and change things one at a time and see what develops! Sounds like fun doesn’t it?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Long Overdue Thank You

I have been back from vacation for a week and I am still playing catch up. I won’t bore you with my to do list but it is suffice to say as much as I am trying to cross things off, it does not seem to be getting any shorter. One of the things I meant to do pre-vacation was thank two lovely bloggers.

Before I headed south for a much needed break, I received a wonderful package in the mail. A few weeks earlier I was the winner of a giveaway on Kat’s blog Low Tide High Style.

Even though I was expecting the package I was beyond excited when it arrived. You see I won a painting by Trish from The Old Post Road.

I have been a follower of both Kat’s and Trish’s blogs for quite some time and had always admired Trish’s work. When I saw Kat was offering one of Trish’s paintings as a giveaway I was thrilled and of course very hopeful. Imagine my delight when I found out I had won this pretty zinnia painting!

It has found a home in my basement just outside the guest bedroom door. (The lighting was not good so I could not photograph it in place.) It is such a happy picture and will be the perfect welcome for friends and family who come to visit.

Thank you ladies! I hope you will forgive my long overdue thank you.

Here is a small sampling of Trish’s “art that inspires.” To see more, click HERE

Friday, August 20, 2010

Like Mother Like Daughter?

I was fortunate to spend the past two weeks vacationing down south with my family. We had a wonderful time at my parent’s house and beach house doing all our normal vacation activities – golfing, swimming, fishing, boating, hunting for shells, etc. I even got to see both my sisters and their families. So much fun!

Even though we have been visiting every summer for the past ten years, the thing which struck me on this trip was the number of similarities there are between my house and my mother’s house. It seemed everywhere I looked in my mom’s house I saw something I have in my house – from furniture to accessories to dishes and glasses. It got me thinking. Does everyone decorate like their mother?

We have the same faucet and back splash in our kitchens. I am in the process, though, of switching my handles to lever style because of my new kitchen countertops.

My Mom's Kitchen

My kitchen

The bedding in my parent’s guest bedroom is the same as what was in my daughter’s room before her bedroom makeover.

My Mom's Guest Bedroom

My Daughter's Old Bedroom

Our living rooms are remarkably alike – a tan couch, barrel back chair and a little bit of French influence - a cane back chair for her and a bergere chair for me. The pillows on her couch and chair were made by me and although I make a variety of pillows, these are the ones I choose to have in my house too.

My Mom's Living Room:

My Living Room
Women's Day Budget Decorating
Photographer – Michael Partenio
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

My Mom's French Chair

My French Chair
Women's Day Budget Decorating
Photographer – Michael Partenio
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

I even have the same Bob Timberlake coffee table (including the blue and white Royal Copenhagen plates) in another room in my house. Notice the marble top dresser behind my mom's sofa? I have a marble top night stand in my daughter’s bedroom.

My Mom's Dresser

My Daughter's Nightstand

We both use vintage finds – ceiling tins, old shelves, antiques, etc. – along with starfish.

My Mom's Bathroom

My Bathroom

Two urns in the front of the house – yes, we both have those too!

My Mom's Urns

My Urn's
I could go on and on but you get the point. My mom and I decorate our houses in very similar ways.

I have to say, however, it was not always this way. Our houses were always somewhat alike but never to the extent that they are now. The older I have gotten the more our styles have merged. Our “decorating relationship” has become more of a give and take. Where I used to be the one asking for her opinion, my mom now asks me for advice too.

Don’t get me wrong, we do have our differences. I use only live plants, while my mom will use faux greenery. My mom’s taste is very traditional while I appreciate the clean lines of a few more modern pieces. I also tend to like a mix of finishes and furniture while my mom prefers a much more matched approach. Small differences, but differences none the less.

So, how about you? Do you decorate like your mother? Or is your style completely different?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Painting and Glazing Process

It is no secret that I love to transform just about anything with paint. Long time followers know I have certainly featured my share of painting projects – lamp, clock, chairs, metal top table and more!

As a result of all the questions and interest in these projects, I want to share the process I use for dressing up almost anything with paint. Hopefully I will also answer all your inquiries along the way!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a painting expert. These are simply the steps I follow when tackling a painting project.

Sand paper and/or sanding block
Paint – Valspar Indoor/outdoor satin finish spray paint in Porcelain
Glaze – Ralph Lauren Smoke Aging Technique
Cotton rags

Glaze Formula
I purchased a gallon of this glaze from Home Depot over ten years ago and I am still using it today. It is a wonderful color which adds depth and the perfect aged look. I am quite certain it is no longer in the computer system at Home Depot. It can be custom mixed, however, using the formula below.

Ralph Lauren Aging Technique
Smoke (AG03)
RL 2420X Glaze Tint Base (2461)

Colorant                  OZ     48     96
C Yellow Oxide        0        1       0
L Raw Umber           0       22      1

All of my painting projects are done outside. Living in the northeast is definitely a drawback in this department. I have had to wait – sometimes months - to complete many projects because of the colder temperatures. Not the easiest thing to do when, as Mr. RDH likes to say, I have the patience of a three year old when it comes to projects. (I haven’t always let the weather stop me though. You may remember this photo of some brass lamps I repainted – snow and all!)

I give all of my soon to be painted pieces a light sanding (to allow the paint to adhere to the surface better) and thorough cleaning. Depending on the piece, I sometimes clean it first and then sand. Other times I will just go straight to sanding. I tend to use sanding blocks with a fine/medium grit as they are easier to hold and can get into smaller spaces.

After sanding I wipe the piece down as best I can with a dry cotton rag (old t-shirts work great). Many people will tell you to use a tack cloth for this step and this of course is a fine option too. I do my best to remove all the dust but know that if I am going to distress the piece anyway, it really does not have to be absolutely perfect. If I am not going to distress the piece I do try a little harder to make sure all the dust is gone.

I do not use primer. (Many people will disagree with me here.) For most of the furniture pieces I have painted, I want some of the original wood to show through. I figure if I use primer it is just another layer to sand through.

I place my object on newspaper or cardboard to protect the grass as best I can. I also make sure I am far enough from the house, basketball pole, outdoor furniture, etc. to ensure that if a breeze blows (and it undoubtedly will) nothing else will get painted in the process.

Once everything is set-up, I begin spraying. I go over the piece a few times with several light coats until I am satisfied it has been completely covered. Now the hard par t- waiting for the paint to dry!

I usually wait until the following day to begin distressing – my way of making sure the paint is completely dry. I simply use a sanding block to rub away some of the paint so the original finish can show through. I tend to focus on edges and places that would normally show wear. I think this makes the distressing seem more “real.”

The amount of distressing you do is a personal preference. It is hard to tell someone how much to sand. I would tell you, however, if you are doing a set of something (like chairs) which will all be placed together, try to distress them all about the same.

After I am satisfied with the amount of paint I have removed, I again wipe the piece down as best I can with a cotton rag to remove the dust.

Note: I do not distress everything I paint. Many things (like the brass lamp) have original finishes I do not want to see again. So in these cases, I again wait overnight for the paint to dry and then proceed directly to the glazing step.

Applying glaze is another one of those personal preference things. It is up to you to decide how much to apply. I use a cotton rag and simply begin wiping it on and wiping it off until I get the “right look.” I try to make sure the entire surface is covered with the glaze with a few places having a little bit thicker coverage. Again, I tend to go over a piece a few times to make sure I have it covered fairly evenly.

Some people may recommend adding some sort of finishing coat on top of the glaze once it has dried. I have not done this with my painted and glazed pieces.

The End
So there you have it – my painting and glazing process. It really is a quick and simple thing to do and the results speak for themselves.

I hope I have covered everything. If there is something you do not understand or need further details on please let me know. I am always happy to help.

Linking up to my favorite parties HERE

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Taking the Painting Plunge Again!

About a year and a half ago I purchased this dining room set from Craig’s List.
It is made by Henredon and included the table, four chairs, two leaves and custom made table pads. We had no dining room furniture (or any other furniture in this room) and considering the quality of the pieces, for $400 I think I found a pretty good deal.

My husband and I instantly agreed the striped velvet fabric (which I think was the original fabric) had to go. I choose pretty fabric from Calico Corners, used the old fabric as a pattern and even reused the original cording - a simple reupholstering project, which immediately updated the look of the chairs.
It was at this point, the agreeing stopped. I wanted to paint the chairs and Mr. RDH wanted me to leave them as is. So for 18 months I held off painting, thinking I might change my mind. I kept seeing pretty pictures, however, on some of my favorite blogs like the ones below.

unknown source

image via Cote De Texas

I have always loved a mix of finishes and now was even more convinced I needed to paint! So last week - unbeknownst to Mr. RDH - I took the plunge and once again I am so glad I did! (you may remember I had a similar dilemma with a clock.)

Chair before:

Chair lightly sanded:

Chair painted with my favorite paint – Valspar satin in Porcelain:

Chair glazed:

My dining room with newly painted chairs:

A big improvement! I love how the painted chairs make the space brighter and the table and chairs less “matchy-matchy.”

For a centerpiece I used an architectural element filled with sticks, along with several different style candlesticks and a linen table runner I made (for directions click HERE). Since this is one of the first rooms you see when walking through the front door, all of these elements provide the perfect transition into the rest of the house.

So what does Mr. RDH think? I am happy to report he likes the chairs better now that they are painted. Turns out he was never really crazy about the chairs to begin with – he liked the table. Harmony found!

Linking up to some of my favorite parties HERE
Blog Widget by LinkWithin