Thursday, October 28, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

I finally had some time to search for drapery fabric for my living room redo. While there were an overwhelming number of choices, I ended up with two of my favorites - silk and linen. I am having a hard time deciding between the two as both options would work wonderfully. Hopefully you can help!

Before I show you the drapery fabric choices, however, I wanted to share another development in this room which may sway your opinion. During my search, I fell in love with this fabric:

I have already made two large pillows – one for each of the chairs. I loved the graphic nature and playful quality of the large print. The color picks up the red in the Rosmaling plate and helps coordinate this space with other rooms in my house.

Now back to the curtain fabric options.

Choice number one is a blue/gray silk - the top fabric sample shown below - from Calico Corners.

Silk fits with the feel of the room and the color plays beautifully off the foyer rug just outside the door. My hesitations with this option are twofold. First, I don’t want to make the room too formal. Second, gray is such a popular color at the moment, I don’t want the room to feel dated in a few years.

Choice number two, also from Calico Corners, is off-white slubby linen banded with navy blue slubby linen.

This option is safe and classic. I don’t think I would ever grow tired of white and navy curtains. My hesitation here is with the red and white pillows the room may feel too nautical – red, white and blue.

This is going to be a hard decision as I truly love them both.

What would you do?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to Install Drapery Hardware Brackets

After the curtain hardware was painted and glazed for my living room makeover, it was on to the installation. As you will find from the tutorial below, this is a very simple project which even the most inexperienced DIYer can feel confident about tackling. Whether your brackets are wood (like the ones in this tutorial) or metal (like those pictured in my family room below), the process is the same.

Womans Day Budget Decorating
Photographer – Michael Portenio
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

Small level
Drill bit
Screw driver
Stud finder

Background Information:
I prefer to hang curtain panels about 5 inches or more above the window molding and about 3 or 4 inches outside the width of the window - like the ones shown below in my daughter's bedroom.

By using these measurements, the window appears larger and the ceiling taller and less of the window is blocked by the curtains allowing for more natural light in the space. Of course, these guide lines are subject to change depending on the architecture of the room.

Measure the placement of the bracket using a small level.
As you can see from the photo above, the rod will be hanging 5” above the window but the height of the bottom of the bracket is lower.

It is important to use a level to keep the bracket plumb, i.e. straight up and down.

Once the bracket is in the correct position, use a pencil or screw to mark all four of the holes placements.

Using the stud finder, determine if there is wood where you will be attaching the brackets. If there is wood, skip the next step as wall anchors will not be needed. If there is no stud, you will need to use wall anchors. Most times they are included with the brackets.

For wall anchors: Drill pilot holes for the plastic wall anchors using a drill bit slightly smaller than the wall anchor to allow for a snug fit. Tap wall anchors into place using a hammer. (I don’t have any pictures of this part, as we were lucky to find studs.)

Attach brackets to wall, through the bracket holes and into the wall anchors if necessary.  Use a screw driver and the provided screws.

Gently tap in button caps with hammer to cover screw holes.

Note: I was a little disappointed to discover the brackets I purchased did not come with caps to cover the screws. It was an easy enough fix – 3/8” oak buttons from Lowe’s solved the problem – but I found it hard to believe they were not included with the brackets. To me, without the caps the brackets look unfinished.

Place curtain rings on rod (which I did not do before I took this picture - whoops!) and screw in finials to ends of poles. Place rod on brackets.

Now that the hardware is up it is time to find the fabric for the curtain panels. I have my choices narrowed down and will be sharing them soon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Breaking Rule Number One

A few weeks ago I came across a large stash of House Beautiful magazines at my local public library’s bookstore. Someone had generously donated over twenty issues to the “free for the taking pile.” Not one to turn down a free design magazine, I grabbed them all and have been happily reading through them ever since.

The magazines are about ten years old so it has been quite interesting to look back and see the styling and trends of the not too distant past – some seem dated while others look as though they were created today.

One of the stories which caught my eye was an article in the June 2000 edition titled “Decorating Don’ts.” It was written by then editor Margaret Kennedy and is a list of 25 “decorating pitfalls which everyone would prefer to avoid.” The light-hearted list includes Ms. Kennedy’s ideas as well as those submitted by various designers.

I am not going to reprint the pitfalls here, but as with any list there were some differences of opinion. One rule, however, caught my eye and made me chuckle.

“Don’t even lift a finger without an overall decorating plan. First spend time thinking about how you’ll use spaces, what kind of light rooms receive, what atmosphere you’re aiming for.” M.K.

Whoops! If you have been following me and my living room (aka red room) makeover you know the only thing I knew for sure when I began this still ongoing project was the walls were no longer going to be red and most of the furniture would have to stay. I literally didn’t have any other decisions made!

I do get the idea of planning things out before you begin especially when your project involves major renovations. When I am decorating a room, however, I prefer to make the decisions as they are needed. (I guess I would not make a very good designer!) For example, now that my curtain rods are hung, it is time to choose fabric. As far as a small table for between the two chairs is concerned, I am patiently waiting to come across “the right one” rather than actively searching. The laid back approach just seems to work for me.

How about you? What are you thoughts about planning? When you tackle a project do you have every detail planned or are you like me? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Two Simple Painting Tips

The bargain drapery hardware for my living room redo has been painted, glazed and installed using my normal painting/glazing process. It was definitely worth the time and effort considering all the money I saved.

As you might expect, painting the brackets and finials was very straight forward – put them in a box and spray away! Covering the rods and rings, however, was a different matter. I tend to be a little impatient when it comes to painting and wanted to get this project finished in the least amount of time possible.

The problem was figuring out how to paint the rods - without laying them down or leaning them against something – so that all sides could be covered at once. With the rings, it was the same sort of dilemma. Luckily Mr. RDH came to the rescue.

How clever is are these two ideas?

For the rods he used two saw horses and some nails.

By suspending the rods on the nails (which were easily inserted into the ends of the poles), I was able to paint one side of the rod and then simply role it over to paint the other side. In one fell swoop, the entire rod was painted!

For the rings, the saw horses were again put to good use. Using some twine we tied one end to the saw horse and threaded on the first ring.

Once in place, we tied a knot to keep the ring from sliding. We continued threading and knotting and then tied the other end of the twine to the second saw horse. As you can see, for this project we needed three rows.

Two simple ideas that cut my painting time in half and made my life easier!

Next up is how to install drapery hardware and my two curtain fabric choices.

Linking to Power of Paint party

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkins, Cornstalks & Spiders - Oh My!

Every year, the owners of this beautiful house put on a fabulous fall display. Their yard overflows with fall décor and is truly one of my favorite destinations this time of year. It is just too pretty not to share!

Take a look at the front entrance.

Have you ever seen so many pumpkins?

Love the wreaths with spider centers.

Notice the large spiders across the balcony.

Each lamp post surrounding the property is decked out with corn stalks, mums and cabbage.

The side entrance is just as festive as the front.

Lots of pumpkins here too!

There are even pumpkins in the flower beds.

A big thank you goes to the homeowners for sharing their fall/Halloween holiday spirit with the community! It truly has become a tradition for my family as well as many other families I know to visit this spectacular home during the harvest season. I can’t wait to see what they do next year.

Cozy Up for Fall Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the Cozy Up for Fall Giveaway and to share their favorite decorating colors.  I so appreciate everyone who follows Red Door Home and view giveaways as my small way of saying thanks!

After reading all the wonderful comments I decided to do an informal tally of the results. Turns out RDH readers are evenly divided between three colors as their favorite – red, blue, and green. Other colors receiving the most mentions included white, brown, and gray.

Now to announce the winner.

Congratulations to comment #16 – BellaLovesPink!

You are the lucky winner of the Dash and Albert throw and personalized appliqué pillow. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Throw and Pillow Giveaway Reminder

Today is the last day to enter the Red Door Home Cozy Up for Fall Giveaway.

Don’t miss your chance to win a Dash and Albert throw of your choice as well as a personalized appliquéd pillow.

Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Thursday, October 14, 2010.

Good Luck!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A New Name for an Old Favorite

Part of the process of redoing my living room is making new window treatments. Instead of valences, I will now be using curtain panels. I purchased the new drapery hardware at an incredible discount but everything was a different finish.

To unify all the various components I decided to use my favorite painting and glazing technique.

My number one rule before proceeding with any project has always been “have all your supplies together before you begin.” Too bad I did not follow my own advice.

You see, I started my project only to discover about two thirds of the way through that I did not have enough paint. Although I normally keep a stash of my go to paint – satin finish Valspar Porcelain - I ran out. So off I went to Lowes.

Much to my surprise, however, Porcelain spray paint was no longer available, not on the shelf, none to be found! Panic set in. What was I going to do now?

Luckily, I was able to find a sales person who knew that recently Valspar had renamed some of their paint colors. So the paint was there, it just had a new name. To say I was relieved is an understatement.

Now the old “Porcelain” is called Churchill Hotel Vanilla. You can see from the pictures both cans have the same number listed under their names.

Since many of us love this paint, I thought you would want to know!

So has this ever happened to you? Have you ever began a project only to discover part way through you did not have what you needed to finish the job? What did you do?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to Sew a Pillow Cover with an Invisible Zipper

It is no secret adding new pillows is a simple and inexpensive way to update the look of any space. Pillows are available in every price range, a myriad of styles and are found in so many places it is easy to be tempted to just buy them. But why not make them instead! With just a simple sewing machine and basic skills, anyone can customize pillow covers to their décor.

Here is what I do when my outdated pillows need a face lift.

Sewing machine
Zipper foot for sewing machine
Pillow form
Cutting mat and rotary cutter
Ironing board

Cutting Your Fabric
If this fabric looks familiar, you probably recognize it
from Janell’s fabulous master bedroom upholstered headboard project

The first step to create a professional looking pillow is centering the fabric design to the middle of the pillow. This is especially important when using more than one pillow of the same fabric in the same room. Like curtains, all pillows made from the same fabric should be identical. If your fabric has a large pattern, pick your favorite element of the print to center on your pillow. This means unless you are using a solid or a fabric with a very small repeat, you will need more fabric than just twice the size of your pillow insert.

For each pillow cover you will use two pieces of fabric measuring the same size as your pillow insert – one for the front and one for the back. By cutting the fabric to the same size as the insert, you will create a pillow cover which fits perfectly – snug but not tight and loose but not messy.

For this example I used a 20 x 20 down/feather insert, making the center point for my pillow cover 10” on both sides.

Sewing the Invisible Zipper
Determine the size of your zipper based on the size of the bottom edge of your pillow cover. I leave 2” on either side of the zipper to make it easy to insert and remove the pillow form. For a 20” pillow I needed a 16” zipper. My local fabric store does not stock 16” zippers so I used a 20”– 22” zipper which will be cut to size later.

The first step to attaching an invisible zipper is ironing. When you take the zipper out of the package it will be wrinkled.

Open up the zipper and gently iron both sides.

A zipper is much easier to use and attach when it is straight.

Using one piece of fabric, right side up, align zipper edge with fabric edge of the bottom of your pillow and pin in place as shown below.

The zipper should start and end about 2” from each side edge and the coil should be ½” from the edge of the fabric.

Mark end of zipper with pin or pencil to denote where to stop sewing.

There are two options for sewing the zipper to the fabric. The first is a zipper foot which comes with most sewing machines.

The second is a plastic zipper foot made for sewing invisible zippers. These can be found near the zipper section in most stores which carry zippers.

I use the plastic zipper foot when I am making a non-welted (i.e. non-corded) pillow. The ridge on the foot guides the zipper coils smoothly without risk of sewing the zipper itself.

After the zipper has been sewn to one piece of fabric the next step is to attach it to the other piece of fabric. Begin by closing the zipper.

With right sides together match up sides and bottom edges of pillow cover. Pin the zipper in place.

Unzip the zipper.

Now repin the zipper with the coils ½” from the edge one pin at a time. I found this trick to be helpful in keeping my zipper in the correct place.

Attach zipper using zipper foot, being sure to stop once again 2” from side edge.

Close zipper to just past where you finished attaching it to the fabric.

Using a needle and thread, make several stitches to create a stop for the zipper.

Cut off excess zipper.

Unzip zipper. Align and pin all outside edges of pillow cover with right sides together.

Using the zipper foot which came with the sewing machine, sew around outside of pillow cover using a ½” seam allowance. Start and end slightly past the opening and closing points of the zipper.

Turn pillow cover right side out through zipper opening and insert pillow form.

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