Friday, October 29, 2010

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Featured ME!

One of the greatest things about spending time in blogland is the inspiration you find here!  Long before I started this little blog of mine, I would spend hours perusing some of my favorite design blogs.  They say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth; and while I do love me some Disneyland, I'd have to say Designblogland is a close second (for me anyway).  You can't even imagine how thrilled I was when one of my absolute favorite bloggers decided to feature my dining room makeover on her beautiful blog!

I sent Kristin from My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia an e-mail thanking her for the inspiration behind my choice of paint color for the walls in my dining room.  Her home is stunning; seriously breath-taking.  She uses a light and airy color palette; and while I am typically drawn to dark, rich colors, I chose a soft cream (Waverly Cafe Cream matched to Valspar) for my dining room walls.

The wall color is one of my favorite things about the room.  Every designer says it because it's so true - paint is the easiest, yet most dramatic way to update a room!  I always thought that if I used dark colors that I had to stay with that same depth of color throughout the house, but I have found that to be false.  You can create flow between dark and light walls through your furniture and accessories.  Lately, especially because of time spent over at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, I am leaning toward lighter paint colors.

I'm beyond thrilled that she featured me and my new little blog!  Thanks so much, Kristin!

 My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

White Done Right

Lately, I have been a spray painting crazy woman.  Seriously, nothing in my house is safe from me and my current obsession with white spray paint.  It's just so easy and quick.  It turns ugly to pretty in seconds, and it's cheap, cheap, cheap!  I feel kind of like I'm holding a magic wand when I have a can of spray paint in my hand.  Poof- you're beautiful!  I could literally go on and on and on about my deep love of white spray paint.  I won't bore you with words though, instead I'll show you.  You know because a picture is worth a thousand words.

The proof is in the paint.  This is white done right. 

I turned these gold buffet lamps into white shabby chic beauties for the dining room.  I bought them 7 years ago at Steinmart (hard to believe I remember that, but I do).  While I was redoing the dining room, I just decided to give these old goldies a new look.  I'm so lovin' them dressed in white! 

I sprayed them from the top down, so a teensy bit of gold is still showing which adds to their shabby chicness.  Borrowed the lamp shades from our master bedroom.  The previous shades were black.  You want a magic spray painting wand now too - don't you :) 

Next up, this spooky black owl that I found at Garden Ridge for $3.99.

"Whoooo called me spoooooky?!"

I got so carried away with my magic spray painting wand that I didn't even stop to take a before picture of this sweet ceramic bird.  Imagine it in a beigey-brown.  Bought it at HomeGoods; can't remember how much it was, but I know it wasn't much.  I'm cheap trick pony :) 

You remember this chair makeover.  

I'm only showing it again because it was done with the same can of spray paint.  See I told you it was magic!  

For all of these projects I used Rustoleum brand paint.  I have also used and recommend Krylon.  I'm no expert, far from it, but from experience I recommend always spray painting in a well ventilated area.  If you've never spray painted anything before, practice on something first to get the feel of your magic painting wand.  Hey, even Harry Potter needed lessons and practice.  Follow the directions on the back of the can; sounds a bit obvious but seriously the directions are right there, and if you follow them you will get the results you want.  Allow for drying time between coats - that's my best tip for an even application.  That's it - oh- and have fun spraying anything and everything that isn't breathing.  

Have you been spray painting anything lately?  Are you obsessed with white or are you using another color?  I'd love to hear all about your spray painting projects!  When in doubt, bust the spray paint out!  

Linking up to The Shabby Chic Cottage.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Be Our Guest - Dining Room Reveal

This was one of the longest yet most rewarding redesigns I have completed in quite some time.  If you're just now tuning in, let me quickly get you up to speed.  This redesign started a couple months ago with the tearing down of the wall paper and the ripping out of the white wall-to-wall carpet that screamed, "I'm stuffy, formal, and you better not use me except on holidays!"  The dining room isn't screaming at us anymore, instead it's singing a sweet little rendition of "Be Our Guest" from Disney's Beauty and the Beast (not really an animated version more like if the cast of Glee sang it :)-.

Here are some before and progress pics:

For more background info on the wall paper removal process and why we decided to pull a table switcharoo with our eat-in kitchen check here and here.  Oh, and if you're dying to know how we created a faux hardwood floor for a mere $79 check here.  Lastly if you're wondering how the modern hubs and the more tradish me finally agreed on a new light fixture check here.  Without further ado.  Drum roll please.  Well, wait, first let's recap the objectives of this redesign.  

1.  We wanted to make a smallish space feel larger. 

2.  We wanted to create a dining room that was less formal so we would use it more often. 

3.  We wanted to update this room without breaking the bank. 

In reference to number 2 mentioned above, I feel it necessary to take a minute to explain this concept of "less formal".  This really is relative, as "less formal" can look differently to everyone.  I wanted the dining room to be less stuffy, less use-me-only-for-special-occasions.  However, I still wanted something that was elegant and special enough for holidays, yet casual enough for family dinners.  I feel like ripping out the carpet to create a faux hardwood floor was the biggest part of making this room more family-friendly.  There is no fear of staining the white carpet now, and now eating in this room is no longer a scary-nobody-drop-anything kind of experience.  Ok, so for realz now, drum roll please.  Be our guest!

 To achieve mission #1, I painted the walls in a Valspar paint matched to Waverly's Cafe Cream.  Using a light color on the walls really opened up the space.  This is such a departure for me, as I am usually drawn to dark colors; but I was going for a light and airy feeling here.  It is a warmer, slightly darker color than the trim so it still highlights the picture frame molding that I just love.  Also in order to make the room feel "roomier",  I the hubs hung the drapes high; almost touching the crown molding.

This gives the illusion of a higher ceiling and makes the room feel larger.  Also by selling the old china cabinet and buffet and swapping tables with our eat-in kitchen we were able to make better use of the space we had.  Sometimes, not all the time, it is just better to let things go rather than trying to make them fit.  While I still love a traditional china cabinet in a dining room, having more space around the table works better for our family and also helps to take the stuffy, overly formal feeling away.  

Lastly, using mirrors was another great way to open up the space.  I love decorating with mirrors.  They are really timeless to me.  While, many people are departing from gold finishes, I myself still love them.  I like to mix finishes like gold and silver to give a room a more updated look and eclectic feel.  In other words, I just do what I like and could careless about what is trendy or what the "decorating rule book" says.

The family art wall is yet another example of mixing finishes.  I just gathered a bunch of frames from around the house (mainly from the master bedroom) and added 3 more frames I picked up from the Dollar store.  I love the mix of gold, silver, and black frames.  Adding a family art wall to the dining room also helped to make this room feel more family friendly.  It was like adding life to this room.  I didn't fill this wall up.  I left plenty of space to add more to it slowly over the years (after all our fifth house is the forever house right?).  One of my favorite frames on this wall is my fortune cookie proposal. Our first date was at a Chinese restaurant, and it is also where the hubs proposed.  I'll never forget that night, and I love seeing my fortune framed :) 

At night this room looks so romantic.  The chandelier is on a dimmer which I recommend highly.  Lighting is such a great way to set a mood in room.  The dimmer switch is so precious too; looks a little Alice in Wonderland-ish (I can't help myself- I'm a mom to a Disney loving daughter)! 

I love the soft light these buffet lamps add to the room.  I gave these lamps a little makeover which I'll be sharing soon.  Instead of using a traditional buffet, I brought in this slate console table that was in our basement.  It's a piece we picked up in Richmond at La Difference (that store is like an art gallery- just gorgeous!)  Anywho, I love this masculine piece married to these feminine lamps, and adding our wedding picture above is just, well, a perfect union :)  Oh- look and there's Mrs. Potts.  You'd just about die if I told you that one of my china tea cups is chipped, but seriously it's true!  I'm not making this stuff up! 

You're probably looking at this room thinking to yourself there's no way she didn't break the bank here. Nothing could be further from the truth.  We started this project by selling the china cabinet and buffet which brought in $475 to add to our small budget.  Here's the rundown of expenses:

- faux hardwood floor  $79
- area rug from Lowe's $399
- light fixture from The Home Depot - $200 minus $70 gift card = $130
- drapery panels from Bed, Bath, and Beyond $110   (they were $69/panel and I had 2 coupons for 20% off)   *These are the most expensive window treatments I have in the house, but I fell in love with them and had to have them.  They are lined and interlined taffeta - need I say more?  That's my justification :)
- 3 Dollar store frames for the family art wall $3
- plate hangers from Michaels $35

Everything else in this room we already had from the furniture to the plates to the mirrors to the drapery rod etc.

Total Expenses = $756  
Subtract income from selling furniture - $475
Total out-of-pocket expense = $281!!!!!!!!      

You saw the before pics right?  $281 didn't break the bank especially because it was spent gradually as we had the time to get this room finished.  My advice for any redesign in which you are planning to sell furniture is to start the project by selling the furniture first.  It not only gives you a budget to start with, but also frees up the space so you can better visualize what you want the room to look like.  Also, pick a budget and stick to it.  I was planning to stay under $300 for my out-of-pocket expenses, and I came in just a little short!!!!  YAY!

We got this room finished just in time to have a cocktail party to celebrate our 10 year anniversary!  Perfect timing!

Do you have any tips on how to stay under budget?  I'd love to hear them!

Linking up here!  Go check out all the other great DIY projects!

DIY LIVING PARTY Weekly Showcase

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thing 1 and Thing 2 - Personalized Barstools

I wanted to add a little whimsy to the kitchen.  Nothing major; just a little something fun.

When we first moved in, back in March of this year, I added two black barstools (from Target) to the kitchen counter for better FUNctionality.  It's not really a bar, but I added the barstools nonetheless.  No one in the family uses them more than my 2 kids.  With them in mind, I decided to play a little game I learned from Dr. Seuss' good friend, The Cat in the Hat.   It's called fun-in-a-box.  Enter Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Here's a before pic of the barstools.

This was an easy-peasy project.  I used a stencil to add a number "1" and "2" to personalize these stools for my little peeps.  The only problem was that I didn't have a number stencil, so I worked with an alphabet stencil to achieve the look.  I turned an "L" upside down to create a number "1".  I taped the stencil down with frog tape.  Then I used sand paper to lightly sand the surface inside the stencil.  

Then I applied the same white paint I used on the kitchen cabinets with a small paint brush.  I applied the paint by lightly dabbing it on.  After it was semi-dry, I removed the stencil to reveal this.

To create Thing 2's barstool I first turned a "J" on it's side.

I again used frog tape to secure the stencil in the right position.  Then sanded inside the stencil and applied the paint.  

Then I used part of an "L" to turn this slanted "J" into a "2". 

Then 3 coats of polycrylic, and this game of fun in box was over (or maybe just beginning).  

This was a super quick and easy project.  Apart from the drying time, it only took about 10 minutes.  Here's the new look.

Not a major change, but certainly one that Thing 1 and Thing 2 appreciate.  For more info about the kitchen check here

Have you made any fun little changes to your kitchen lately? 

I'm linking up to The DIY Showoff  and Cottage Instincts- go check out all the great DIY projects! 

Friday, October 22, 2010

There's A Party Going On Right Here

A celebration to last throughout the year!  Sorry, couldn't resist.  I'm just so excited!  We're getting ready to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary over here at our fifth house!   Of course, the party location is right here at home.  We'll have about 50 people here tonight joining in our celebration!

Planning this anniversary cocktail party has been so fun, and I wanted to share with you just a couple of things we've done to get our house into party mode.  First off I started outside at the front door to create a welcoming entrance.  I already had my harvest thing going on out there, which I showed you here.  Here's a picture of the front door before I added a few things to set the party mood.

I wanted to stick with the fall theme and just add a few more mums and pumpkins going up the stairs to set the mood for our anniversary party - nothing too over the top just simple and sweet.  The Home Depot is where I bought 4 more mums- 2 white - 2 a light orange, and also just a couple more pumpkins.   I spent less than $20.  I didn't have any pots for the mums, and I didn't want to buy any.  So I used these supplies instead (that I already had). 

I just used that ribbon to wrap the black plastic pots that the mums came in.  Super easy and super quick. I think they look really sweet like this.

Then I just set them on the stairs leading up to the front door.  I also bought a few white lanterns from the wedding section at Michaels.  I bought 2 large ($4.99/each), and 4 small ($3.99/each).  I wasn't crazy about the price of them, but I am planning to use them in the kid's bathroom so I'll get my money's worth out of them.  I decided to use the flameless candles so I wouldn't have to worry about any accidental fires. That could really put a downer on this celebration.  Those flameless candles are also super kid friendly, and at The Dollar Store they come in a package of 2 for $1.00!  Here's the partay entrance!

Just what I wanted simple and sweet.  Don't you think?   And tonight when our guests arrive, it will look like this. 

While I was getting the front entrance set up for the party, the kidmunks were gathering acorns.  

I made the acorn gathering even more fun for them by creating a little contest.  Who doesn't love a contest?  The first kidmunk to find a double acorn won a snack size candy bar (because you know I already have bags of Halloween candy in my pantry right!).  They were both winners because they each got a prize and so did mom :)   Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas the perfect calorie ingesting trifecta! 

I used the acorns they gathered for the table centerpiece.  Again I wanted something simple and sweet.  I wanted to bring in some natural fall elements.  I gathered a few fallen branches from the yard. 

I sprayed them white. 

I just used Kilz primer and didn't follow with a topcoat.  I wanted a matte finish not a glossy one.  I didn't bother turning them over to spray the other side.  I kind of like the brown peeking through from the bottom.  

After seeing all the beautiful table settings that Sherry from Young House Love and Katie from Bower Power created I was inspired and seriously in love with how they used a grey pashmina as a table runner!  I mean grey is all the rage at the moment.  The only problem - I don't own a grey pashmina.  You don't even know how thrilled I was when I saw a grey wannabe pashmina at Big Lots for $5!!!!!   Oh yeah!!!!!  I'm in love with the finished table centerpiece, and I think the grey wannabe totally sets it off!  (props to those stylish girls - seriously thanks!)

I used it vertically instead of horizontally because we're going to use this table for serving all the delectable food our good friend and fabulous chef is going to be preparing.  It's a cocktail party not a dinner party so all I needed was a great centerpiece.  I wanted to add a personal touch to the centerpiece so I used these glass jars to add a little special something.  The hubs printed out a number 10 and these words, "We Still Do" on plain old white printer paper.  I cut them out and taped them to a little piece of fabric (that I had left over from my little kitchen makeover) then taped them to white card stock.  I used some of the acorns my little kidmunks gathered and placed them in the glass jars.  

You see how I used the branches.  I also bought some white daisies and a couple yellow spider flowers (that's what they called them?) to add a little something fresh and pretty.  I love the pop of yellow!  The crystal candlesticks were a gift from my mom for our 5 year anniversary.  

I seriously can't believe it's been 10 years!  Time just flies when you're having fun :)   And here's the key to a happy marriage. 

I couldn't help it!  Do you have any special party or entertaining tips?  Entertaining is one of my favorite things to do; it really makes a house feel like a home. 

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