Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Color Clash

Ok, so I LOVE Color Splash with David Bromstad!  I love how he embraces color!  He believes that "color is the root of great design"!  Amen to that!  I am a color-lovin' sister to the core!

Unfortunately, my latest splish splash with color ended up more like a splat.  Basically it was a color clash, not a color splash.  It was not good. at. all.  

See, I was trying to experiment a little.  You know in attempt to break out of my usual color comfort zone.  I am a warm, rich, bold color lover.  Basically, I'm an autumn :)  I like tans, golds, reds, and browns mixed with olive greens and mustard yellows.  However, I wanted to experiment with color by adding in some bright, cooler colors like aqua and lime green.  And this is where the problem started.

When it came time to choose a color for the guest bedroom, I made a major mistake!  You'd think by now (what with this being our fifth house and all) that I would have learned to bring home a swatch and test it out to see if it would work before buying a can of paint and painting the walls.  Ummm, yeah, I was in a hurry to just get 'er done; and well, that is another major mistake.  Never be in a rush to decorate a room in your home.  It's always better to take your time.  I mean unless you're a contestant on HGTV's Design Star, I'm pretty sure there's no time limit.  Seriously, you can learn from my mistake here.

This is the result of "rushed decorating".  No one knows why I was in such a hurry?!  I guess because we had guests coming to stay with us I felt like I needed to complete the room.  I should have just decorated it in stages rather than throwing it all together.  Hindsight really is 20/20, isn't it?  Not only did I choose the wrong color for the walls, but I also created a disaster of a headboard feature wall in attempt to make up for the wrong color choice.  It's like putting on a bad, non-flattering skirt, and layering it with a ruffled shirt and cardy to try to make up for the fact that the skirt is sooooo bad because you're late; and you need to hurry up and get out of the house!  I mean a rational person would just stop layering clothes on, and just ditch the bad skirt, right?  Well, I'm not always the most rational gal.  I'm kind of stubborn.  There I said it.  I didn't want to admit that the blue color I picked (Valspar Dancing Mist) for the walls was a bad choice, so the room just kept spiraling down a decorating disaster black (more like bright aqua) hole.

I tried to create a faux headboard.  This was a total fail.  A feature wall only works in rare cases, and this room is not one of those cases.  The room is too small, and painting one wall different from the rest just made it look smaller.  Originally I thought of painting a grid like pattern on the wall to create a headboard, but I ditched that idea when I decided to hang the decorative mirror over the bed.  The mirror would have worked if I had hung it lower so that it would relate more to the bed.  Unfortunately, I  painted that floral branchy pattern above the bed because I felt like I needed to create a higher headboard to make the room look larger.   Ummmm, yeah, once again if I had just painted all of the walls the same color (albeit not the right color for the room) the room wouldn't look so small, DUH!  (and I'm totally saying "duh" to myself here)

So, anyway, I'm back on track now.  I just repainted the walls; and yes, they are all the same color now :)  So, here is the right way to choose a color or at least the right way for me.  If you want the rooms in your house to flow or to create a "whole house color palette", I recommend laying out a small swatch of all the paint colors you currently have in your house (your completed rooms).  I like for the rooms in my house to flow somewhat seemlessly into the next.  I don't think that every room has to have the same exact color scheme or style, but meshing colors from one room to the next does kind of tell one "whole house color story".  That being said, I'm obviously not a "designer" at all.  I just like to feather my nest, and I don't mind learning through my mistakes and failed experiments :)  I think your house is an expression of you and your family; and it's your own special place to tell your story.  I think you should decorate it however you like.  Forget the rules and just do what you love!  Red walls, bright blue, lime green, or all white; pick what you love and go with it!  And if you don't love it, paint is cheap - so paint it over again :)

I snapped this pic as I was already cutting in with the new paint color.

This is the main reason why this aqua blue color just didn't work for me.  It was such a clash against that red in the hallway.  In an ultra modern design this contrast would probably work, but that just isn't what we've got going on here.  Anyhow, you can see even more clearly just how much this color doesn't jive with the rest of the house in the "whole house color palette" below.

It just sticks out like a sore thumb doesn't it?  See, I could have saved myself $30 and a few hours of time if I had just created this color palette before I painted that aqua color on the walls.  Replacing that aqua blue with a light tan (Valspar Lambswool) creates much less of a contrast and flows really nicely.  

That last color looks like black here, but it's really a dark maroon. 

In addition to the fact that the new paint color choice flows much better with the red of the hallway and the "whole house color palette", this color is also softer and more tranquil.  Bright colors are great, but I wanted to create more of a restful feeling in the guest bedroom.  Color is a major factor in the "mood" or "feeling" of a room.  Anywho, I also love that using a neutral color on the walls makes it really easy to change the accent colors.  I still haven't decided how I want to style the room just yet.  This time I'm just going to take my time.  No more rushed decorating for me :)  For now, at this first stage, I've painted the walls Waverly Lambswool, and I'm going with the same all white bedding.  The rest is tbd..........stay tuned for more advice on what NOT to do :) 

How do you choose a paint color?  Do you make rushed color decisions like I sometimes do?  Have you ever experienced a complete and total paint color failure?   Please, someone, tell me I'm not alone here!   

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful Tables

We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year!  It's our first Thanksgiving here at our fifth house, and I'm thrilled to be the hostess with the mostess.  Is it sad that the table will probably look better than the meal will taste?!  Well, I guess my cooking isn't that bad, but it's certainly not one of my best qualities.  Thank goodness my mom is here (from California) to help me.  Actually I think all I have to make is the sweet potato pie (we don't do pumpkin), the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, and the green beans.  The hubs is smoking the turkey; and my mom is making her famous potato soup, a spinach salad, and cranberry relish.  Yeah, it's going to be a throw-down over here on Thanksgiving Day!  Let the calorie ingesting begin!

Before we give thanks for our many blessings and sit down to feast; here's a look at our thankful tables.

The Kitchen Table
The Dining Room Table

I wanted something sweet and simple.  We plan to eat dinner at the kitchen table and dessert at the dining room table.  I just love using both of our tables for entertaining!

I used burlap table runners and white napkins on both tables to create a cohesive look, but I styled each table a little differently.  The burlap I bought at a local craft store (Hobby Lobby) for I think around $3/yd.  I purchased quite a few yards because I'm planning to use this burlap for some other crafty projects, but you really don't need much to make a table runner.  Just measure your table to figure out how much you'll need.  I chose to cut 2 rather wide runners for my tables, and I didn't sew them.  I just left the edges raw.  I really love the natural look, and I'm totally loving this lighter color burlap that I found. (* If you decide to get crafty with burlap, I recommend that you use an old pair of scissors.  Burlap is really rough and you wouldn't want to ruin a good pair of fabric scissors.)

In lieu of traditional place cards, I made napkin ring cards and tied them on each napkin with a little twine.  I found some scrapbook paper in my craft closet to print out "Give Thanks" cards. 

Then I cut them out and used Elmer's spray adhesive to attach them to a piece of burlap to make them a little heavier. (*Note- Spray adhesive is kind of... um... sticky... duh!  ;) You'll want to make sure to cover the area where you are working.)

Then with my scissors I made a small hole to lace the twine through to tie them around each napkin.  Before I tied the cards on, I tied each napkin with a cream-colored glittery tulle ribbon.  (Tulle ribbon is sold at most craft stores.  It's usually about $2 -$3 for a spool that is 6 ft. wide and has about 25 ft. of ribbon on it.  I love it and use it all the time!)

I used my silver chargers on my kitchen table with my Willow House Villa Stoneware plates (which I earned for FREE!).  I can't even begin to tell you how much I love chargers!  They add simple sophistication to a table setting, and you can pick them up just about anywhere for a great price.  I bought these years ago at Target (I think on a black Friday).

In my dining room, I used my china plates with gold chargers.  I love actually using my china which I rarely ever did when I had a china cabinet.  Since we sold our china cabinet and gave our dining room a makeover, we have used our china (which we bought at an antique store in Richmond) and our dining room much more often.  Lovely displays are nice but using what you love is nicer! 

For my kitchen table centerpiece, I used a seagrass charger that I picked up at Walmart ($2) to coral a group of glass candlesticks that I already had.  Actually two of these are crystal candlesticks that my mom gave us for our 5th wedding anniversary, and the others are dollar store finds.  One of them is really a bud vase, but my taper candle fit in it just fine. 

I used 2 square glass vases to add a little pop of color.  Tulips are traditionally thought of as more of a spring flower, but I love them all year round.  The yellow color reminds me of corn which makes me think of the very first Thanksgiving, and since this is our first Thanksgiving in our new house I thought they were appropriate.  I also spray painted a few mini foam pumpkins (a.k.a. foamkins) white and spread them around the center of the table.  I like to vary heights when I'm arranging a table setting.  I think it's more interesting that way.  I also like to keep things mainly below eye-level so that everyone can see each other when they sit down to eat.  I love the simplicity of this table setting.  

For the dining room centerpiece I used my favorite pair of brushed silver candlesticks that I bought years ago at a little boutique in Richmond, VA along with a couple of glass domes.  I used the glass dome of old crystal clock (that no longer works) on my cake stand to display a small foamkin topiary that I made.  I used a few glittery sprigs that I picked up at the dollar store to line the plate edge.  

To make this pumpkin topiary I just took the stems off of the tops of the two bottom foamkins and used a little gorilla glue to stack them.  Then I used some acrylic craft paint to paint it.

I used a little antique white and gold dust paint to add some depth and sparkle.

I also painted one single foamkin to place under my petite glass dome (which is also from Willow House).  I'm so very thankful to be a Willow House Design Consultant!

I love the mix of metallics in this table setting.  It's non-traditional and simply thankful.

 I'm ready for turkey day!  Are you?!  What are you thankful for?  I'm thankful to have my mom and step-dad here to celebrate with us!  It's such a treat to spend holidays with family.  Most people take this for granted, but we never do.  Moving around and living in places where we have been far away from family and friends has taught us to be grateful for the time spent with loved ones.  May your holiday be filled with love and laughter.  After all, the best decorated tables are the ones decorated with the people you love! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

For The Squirrels

And the chipmunks, and maybe even for the birds?!  Warning- gross bug alert ahead!  Ok, so you remember back in October when we (me and the kids) were enjoying the beautiful fall outdoor weather and decorating the front entry for our anniversary party?  Well, I thought it would be really fun to have an acorn gathering contest with the kids.  You know to give them something to do while I was getting things ready.  They had a blast gathering acorns and winning prizes (halloween candy) for any double or triple acorns they found.

Then once again I had the "brilliant" idea of bringing in the outdoors to decorate our home.  Which, most of the time works really well.  Like my fallen branches that I sprayed white for my centerpiece.  That was a good one, unfortunately the acorns- well, not so much a good idea as a bad one.

You see they - oh my gosh- this is so disgusting - they hatched!  I know!  So gross!  It didn't happen right away though.  I mean, they looked so pretty (and bug-free) in the table centerpiece for the party.

But, then, it happened.  I was working on a new centerpiece for Thanksgiving

 (which we are hosting this year!), and I noticed these little white things.  A closer look and I knew - they were bugs!  SO - obviously the hubs had to come to the rescue.  I. don't. do. bugs.  He emptied, disposed of, and cleaned (with disinfecting soap) the "affected" glass containers.  SO very, extremely, thankful for him!  My de-bugging knight in khakis and a buttoned-down shirt =) 

I think next year I'll be purchasing this Pottery Barn acorn vase filler 

that was featured on Southern Momentum; they've put together a great list of fall items!  Or maybe I can find some on clearance somewhere after Thanksgiving.  We will definitely not be bringing anymore acorns into the house.  We'll just leave them outside for the squirrels and chipmunks. 

Now, that I we the hubs has exterminated the "acorn issue", I can happily get back to dressing the table (it's not time to dress the turkey just yet).  Have you had any "good" ideas go bad lately? 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

When In Rome.....

Or the horse capitol of the world!  Well, here's my story and I'm stickin' to it!  I recently celebrated another thirty-something birthday, and my wonderful mom sent me a card with some money to spend on just me :)  Yay!  I think I told her I was going to buy a new pair of boots with the money, but I.... uh.... um.... kind of bought something else instead.  Maybe it was because Lexington, KY, just hosted the World Equestrian Games or maybe it was because I just saw Secretariat at the theatre or maybe because I'm obsessed with white, shiny things or maybe I was channeling Sherry from Young House Love (you know how she LOVES white ceramic animals) or maybe I'm just plain crazy - honestly I just don't know.  All I do know is, I had been eyeing this white beauty for awhile; and with the birthday money burning a hole in my pocket, I bought it!

It's actually made of resin so it's not super heavy like ceramic would probably be.    I still think Sherry would love it :)

It's from Z Gallerie!  I had a coupon for 10% off that I found online plus the birthday money, so it wasn't too much of a splurge!  I LOVE IT!  Hey, it's my birthday and I'll buy it if I want to :)   

So, it came to my door step last week, and I totally knew exactly where to hang it.  On my mantel in the family room, of course!  Well, once it was up there, something happened.  Kind of like the something that happened in my kitchen; you know when one thing leads to another.  After I hung it up, I felt like the room needed to make some changes to make it's new stallion of a friend feel more at home.  

So, here's the family room before it took a run for the roses!

Here's the after.

I rearranged a few of the accessories.  I moved the clock that was above the fireplace over to the wall above the wine bar, and I moved my Galveston Footed Hurricane (Willow House) that was on the coffee table over to the bar too (mainly because the hubs was complaining that it was "blocking" his beloved view of the T.V.- heaven forbid!)!  I added the white branches that I used for my anniversary party table setting to the hurricane.  I also used a little white paint to highlight the curvy lines of the clock.  

I removed the wine bottles that were holding tea lights (I'll show you what I did with them very soon - I promise!) from the coffee table to add my Hemingway Hurricane (Willow House) filled with wine corks and a simple white candle.  I restyled my Eclipse Platter (Willow House) for a simple fall look.  (In case you aren't "in the know", I'm a Willow House Design Consultant! )  

I layered it with cinnamon sticks (Michael's) which add such a great fall aroma to the room.  Then added a few twine balls and and some small foam pumpkins that I painted using a little white and cream acrylic craft paint.  

Ok, so you may have also noticed that I changed the area rug as well.  I mentioned before that the area rug we did have in here was borrowed from the basement.  Well, I felt like it was time to give it back :)   The truth is, I was at Pier 1 one day and saw this rug; and I fell in serious head over heels love with it!  It was on sale, and I also had a little birthday money left from mom (all I can say is being an only child does have some perks!).  I bought it!  It was $349 (originally $399), which (don't choke) is a pretty good price for 100% wool 6'x9' area rug.  Plus I LOVE IT!  I mean this may just be over the top cheesiness, but if you notice it has 3 giant roses on it.  There's a white horse head above the mantel.  Horses plus roses plus Kentucky; well, you know what that equals don't you?!  Does the greatest two minutes in sports ring a bell?  Or how about the run for the roses?  I'm sorry, but this kind of ridiculousness has my name written all over it!  Seriously.  I.  can't.  help.  it. 

The "themey-ness" stops there though.  I didn't want this room to be too obviously themed-out, but well, when in the horse capitol of the world :)   

In addition to adding a little more white to the color palette in here, I also totally jumped on board the "grey-vy" train.  I painted my black candlesticks with some grey paint that I already had (it's the color of the walls in the master bedroom. How's that for a little house flow?).  It's a great color of grey too - it's more brown than blue which totally works with the warm color palette of our house.  

I used 100 grit sandpaper to scuff them up just a little.  Changing them to grey and adding white candles really lightened up the fireplace and compliments my new horse friend very well - don't you think? 

The last purchase I made for this minor room update are these white Target lamps ($19.99) that I had been eyeing forever!  

I took down the stretched canvas cafe prints that we did have hanging over the buffet and replaced them with the mirror that was hanging over the wine bar.  We have had those prints for over 6 years, and it just seemed like it was time to take them down.  (Maybe I'll find them a new home in our house or maybe they'll be better off at someone else's house?)  I added the lamps, and I already had the burlap shades (which were also Target purchases from a little while ago).  

This is what it did look like.

I'm loving the new look!  Thanks to my mom for the birthday money, and thanks to my new white beauty of a horse head!  This room has really lightened up.  Adding a few more white accessories and couple soft cream pillows to the couch and chair have really given this space more of an updated look and feel.  

There's just one burning question on my mind at the moment.  Should I paint the brick fireplace?  The hubs actually mentioned it to me after I had already been thinking about it.  You'd think this would be sign enough that I should go ahead and paint it.  I mean how often do we both think of the same idea when it comes to decorating?  Um......never!  We were thinking of painting it the same color as the walls in the dining room (Waverly Cafe Cream).  Hmmm.......just can't decide!  What do you think?  Paint it or don't?  Or maybe you have another color choice for painting our brick fireplace.  Please.....HELP!   I rarely, if ever, can't make up my mind.  This, however, it just twisting me all up!  So, seriously, what do you think? 

Linking to - Go check out all of these great projects!

The DIY Show OffPhotobucket

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Give Thanks

This is a tradition in the Phillips house!  We've done it every year since our son was born!  It's our way of giving thanks.  Our Thanksgiving tree tradition continues on with our first Thanksgiving in our fifth house.    

We decided the best place for our tree was in the foyer.  While I would have loved a tall (maybe 11 ft.) tree in our vaulted foyer, I really didn't want to spend the moola to get one this year.  Instead I turned a planter upside down and used it to add some height to my little 6 footer that I bought at Big Lots 6 years ago for $10!  Then I used a throw I already had as a tree skirt.  

I already had the majority of the decorations I used to trim this tree; however, to give it a new look this year, I spray painted the pumpkin and gourd picks white.  

I also used a little chalkboard paint to make some fun new ornaments for our tree that we can use at Christmas time as well.  These little wood cut outs were $.79 each, and I already had the chalkboard paint.  I used Kilz spray primer first and then brushed on a couple coats of chalkboard paint.  (You can get chalkboard spray paint, but I just used the paint I already had on hand for this little project.)  

Then I just hot glued some raffia (already had it) to the back.  

Then I prepped the surface like I did here, added some fun little sayings, and hung them on our tree of thanks!  

So that's us giving thanks for all of our blessings and continuing on with our family traditions!  What are your Thanksgiving traditions?  Do have a tree of thanks too?  

Friday, November 5, 2010

Props To My Pops

My dad is visiting from California, and I am so thankful to have him here!  I haven't been around much this week, and now you know why.  He was here for my birthday, for Halloween, and for his birthday!  It's been a great two weeks here at our fifth house!

I really need to give the pops some props!  I've talked about him before.  I believe I called him the landscaping Yoda :)   Yup, that pretty much sums it up.  His birthday gift to me was more landscaping.  He created more of a grand entrance for our front yard.  Here's how it looked before.

Excuse the brown grass.  No rain + no irrigation + a very hot summer = not so green grass 
Here's what it looks like now.

He added a row of holly to both sides of the walkway leading up to the front door and also planted some pansies.  

The fall is a great time for planting; and in places where you have an actual winter, most of the garden centers mark down prices to sell their inventory before the cold winter months arrive.  We actually picked up the last 6 bags of dark brown mulch that Lowe's had in stock, and because the bags had a few minor holes in them they sold them to us at 50% off!  Score!  I just love this new look!  Happy Birthday to me :)  

While my dad was digging, planting, and spreading mulch; I added a little Thanksgiving flair to the front door decor.  Basically, I was living the easy life :)  I painted a fun little saying on the pumpkins (we already had) with black indoor/outdoor paint.  I painted one word on each pumpkin - Keep Calm And Gobble Gobble.  

That took 5 pumpkins, but I still had five more just plain old pumpkins that I wanted to do a little something with (We have this many pumpkins because of a little party we had here in October).  So I thought, hmmmm, what to do with the other 5 pumpkins.  Then I remembered one of my favorite Thanksgiving crafts from my childhood, and an idea was born.  We (the four two legged peeps that live here) made hand turkeys.  We just painted our hands black and then stamped them onto the pumpkins, added some legs, a beak, and a gobbler (that's what I call that red dangly thing) and you have a "hand made turkey".  They were so easy to make, and I love them!  They are so sweet and fun and well the kids just love them!  

The last pumpkin I used my turkey pokey thingy that I bought years ago at a pumpkin patch.  It was looking kinda weathered, so I sprayed it with some white spray paint (of course).  

So thanks to my dad, I got my Thanksgiving on right here in my own front yard!  I'm so very thankful for his birthday gift that I'll be able to enjoy for years!

Check here for a pumpkin topiary tutorial.

Have you been getting your Thanksgiving on?  Any special gifts you're over the moon thankful for?  Let us all give thanks! 

Weekend Update:  Unfortunately the words on my pumpkins just peeled right off?  SO weird, I used this same paint before and didn't have this problem?   The hand turkeys are still intact though- YAY!  No more cute saying-hmmmm- I wonder why this happened?  If anyone knows- give me a shout.  

design + development by kelly christine studio