Sunday, December 4, 2011

still being tortured....

Okay, people, gray is winning! After 18 samples of gray paint, we thought we'd found The One in Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore. It's in there somewhere....

The couch is gray so I wanted a warm gray to compliment it, but everything was coming out blue. We put up Stonington Gray, eager to make a decision before our holiday party. Turns out, it's ALSO blue......arrrgggg!

Perhaps hard to see here, but it makes the room look sad and blue. So we went back to our other top 2 choices, Revere Pewter and Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore. We had previously put those samples on the wall and rejected them but we put 'em up again, against the blue, to see what we thought now. You can see the Revere Pewter here....

The Edgecomb Gray, to the right of Revere Pewter, barely registers. Much too white. Compared to the Stonington Gray on the walls, the Revere Pewter is a much warmer, taupe-y gray. We bought a gallon. Stay tuned, nerds.

Monday, November 21, 2011

gray paint....why do you torture me?

Our living room got a facelift this summer - new couch, new rug, reupholstered the wingback chair, and decided to repaint the walls, since the peachy-beige color was driving me nuts. We decided on gray for the walls - classic and sophisticated - something to compliment the gray couch. Little did I know, gray is a mean old cuss. Mind you, I chose the paint colors for the whole house by eyeballing a swatch on the wall and had no problems. This time I played it safe and put samples on the wall first. Thank god because after 17 paint samples (17, people!!!) - no dice. Love 'em on the swatch, loathe 'em on the wall.

Our living room is bright and gets lots of southwestern light, which apparently turns everything an early 90's hydrangea blue. Barf.

Here's the cast of hopefuls, all colored matched in Olympic low-VOC paint samples...

Benjamin Moore
Gray Owl
Revere Pewter
Coastal Fog
Edgecomb Gray
Harbor Gray
Horizon Gray

Plantation Moss
Gray Ghost

Oatlands Subtle Taupe

Dolphin Fin

They're all gorgeous, right? Not in the glare of our bright living room. Ttoo dark, too light, too purple, too turquoise or too blah.

On the verge of defeat, willing to live with the patchwork of yuck on our walls, I went back one more time and came home with a winner - Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore.

I've always loved it on the swatch but didn't buy a sample for this project because it seemed so blue. Not so blue on the walls apparently. Go figure. It goes to show you can never trust the swatch. Now we gotta paint this room before our holiday party - cover up the bazillion gray swatches.

More pictures to come.....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

new favorite fashion blog

at times, I'm still the 14 year-old who isn't quite sure what style suits me. I lean towards the classic chic, but really, really am drawn (maybe in part in a fight against aging) to the rocker chick, slightly hipster, slightly bohemian, basically bad ass "look". and, I just found a blog that sort of allows me to better navigate that draw: tomboy style. you too should check it out.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DIY Christmas Decorations

I know, I still have a belly ache from Halloween could I possibly be thinking of Christmas already? Because the holiday rules and I love it! This year, we're forgoing our usual crazy travels to Illinois and staying here in the Bay State. Plus we're having a holiday party, so I want to deck the house out in style!

Two projects are on my list....

1. Making a table runner using the tutorial by Pleasant Home

2. And making this felt leaf garland using the tutorial by The Old Painted Cottage

the old painted cottage

Wish me luck....I might need it. I love doing projects like this but I'm not very good at them. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

rug a boo

we want a new rug for our living room. our vision is to one day live in a house centered around neutrals. (by the time we own that house - yes we still rent - we will have a different vision.) we are big fans of creamy whites, greys, woods and metals.

our couch is our only "real" piece of furniture at this point. meaning, it is the one new piece we bought together, post marriage, as a start towards furniture in our home. that said, I love other elements in our living room too. the peacock book case and the french/german trunk from my grandfather are a few. I do also love the coffee table, iron legs, thick wood planks similar to a farm table.

our actual living room (from about a year ago - the yellow table and lamp are no longer there)

I'm getting to my point. What I wonder is this, I am sick of rug patterns that ultimately end up pissing me off after about two months. I want a simple, neutral colored rug. and in truth, I want it to be somewhere in the family of white. now, we have a big ol' crazy dog that has black hair and likes to run laps in our backyard, often after rolling around in rotten apples. I realize that a white rug is stupid. but I want one. I love the pebble rug from west elm right now, mostly because it is the most affordable in that style (we originally fell in love with one at design within reach).
I fear the grey pebble rug will only clash with our couch. or be drab. BUT is the ivory too white (too bright)? AND will it be immediately nasty? thoughts?

felted garland

I just bought 8 different colors of wool roving to make this felted garland - can't wait!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

baby boy room reveal

We finally finished the room for the new baby! Notice I didn't say "nursery." Does anyone else get a creepy, Flowers in the Attic vibe from that word?

I digress. The space is small (8 x 10 feet) and so was our budget. We had to tackle some basics - adding heat (the room was unheated), moving an electrical outlet, adding a wall light switch (again...old house), fixing the plaster in some areas, etc. This work, plus the twin bed we bought for June, ate up some serious cash.

Based on our budget, we worked with a mix of things we already had and some new stuff.

Already Had
curtain fabric (Amy Butler honeycomb in green)
cherry wood rocking chair

New Items
rocker cushions
dresser/changing table
art and wall decor

We bounced around a few design ideas but my husband is the design skeptic. Nothing too nautical or soft or modern or glam (i.e. no baby blue zebra print curtains). Very picky for a man who wanted to name our son Geronimo. Nick envisioned a "tough, bold, 70's room." This was his inspiration.


In college we owned a cherry red Subaru brat so this go-kart tugs at our heart strings. But dirt brown and 70's orange? No thanks. Okay, how can we make this work and still use the Amy Butler fabric?

Then Nick found this image online and wanted to replicate the red, orange and yellow stripes about midway up the accent wall. "Whatever you think is best, dear," I said, doing my best Betty Draper inpression, while suppressing my design dictator personality.

Turns like. Too circus-y. Nick thought it looked like a Burger King circa 1985. Bold, bright colors are great but this was just wrong. And no, I didn't take any pictures of the disaster. Imagine a fast food joint and you'll get the picture.

Plan B - use a more subdued color for the stripes (*cough* original idea). But that meant we had to re-prime, re-paint, re-tape, and then re-stripe the wall. Oh and re-mud and sand the wall because we could see the raised outline of the stripes through the first coat of primer.

In the end, we extended the horizontal stripes from floor to ceiling (see tutorial here), I finished the curtain, and Nick hung a new closet door and room door. Again, my hero - he had to cut, prime, paint, fit with hardware, and hang the doors. Added all the fixings and we were done!

Here's the rundown on sources...

Paint: walls are Navajo White from Olympic at Lowes. A great low-VOC paint we used in June's room. The stripes are a custom match, also in Olympic, of Benjamin Moore's Woodlawn Blue.

Crib: Graco Tuscon, a model which is discontinued. It's a fixed side crib though, so it wasn't recalled.

Dresser: Ikea Tromheim

Curtain: DIY lined curtain using Amy Butler fabric (tutorial here)

Nightlight: Kinderglo

Tote: 3 sprouts

Rocker Cushions: black, ikat cushions on sale here

Elephant Stool: family piece passed down from my stepmom. This pachyderm got airlifted out of Vietnam.

Wall Art: red painted H from Joann Fabrics, Charley Harper memory game collage by me, and a lovely fox print from my blogging partner in crime and uber-cool cousin, Bridget.

All in all, we're quite happy with how the room turned out. Somehow the design concept went from Bold 70's to Burger King to...what is it now? Preppy/ethnic? I can't tell. Clearly, the Bambino will care less, but June loves it in there, so I'll take that as the seal of approval.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

DIY wall stripes

We decided to do a striped accent wall in the baby's room. Uncharted territory for us. Originally I wanted stripes on the floor, in the form of a Dash and Albert striped rug to lay down over the carpet. But given how small the room is (8 x 10 feet), my husband thought the door would keep catch on it and annoy the snot out of us. He's probably right.

Here's the wall before the stripes - the room is painted in Navajo White from Olympic, a great low-VOC paint from Lowes.


We wanted about 4 or 5 colored stripes on the wall, plus equal-sized "negative space" with the wall color. So based on that and the wall height, we went with 10 inch wide horizontal stripes. I used this great tutorial from Young House Love as our guidance.

The stripe color is a custom match of Benjamin Moore's Woodlawn Blue in Olympic paint from Lowes. Gotta love that they have the colors for designer fan decks in their computer.

AFTER - daytime

AFTER - nighttime

Not too shabby. We did remove the tape while the paint was still wet, as recommended by Young House Love. A little scary, especially with a toddler underfoot, but it was definitely the right move.

More on the baby's room to come!!!