Monday, April 21, 2014

Upgrades to Consider When Building a New Home

I'm headed to Atlanta today for a business trip, but I'm also over at the Build Omaha blog, sharing my advice on some upgrades you should consider when building a new home. I would love for you to stop over and check it out!

Do you have any upgrades you recommend that are not already on the list?

Friday, April 18, 2014

White-Washed Stone Fireplace

I finally finished my fireplace! Without any further delay, here is how it looks now:

But first, a little history. The first photo shows the space shortly after we moved in. Original pendant lights, paint color, etc.

Last fall, I had some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen on hand from my buffet and desk makeover and decided to attack. The gray worked for awhile, but was still darker than I had originally hoped for.

And how it looks now. But, there were several other steps to get it from the photo above to the photo below that may not be readily apparent. Bottom line: I think this is the perfect fix until I decide if we need to do a full overhaul on the stone down the road.

Here are the details on how I got the look. One day while I was working on another project with Country Chic Paint's Simplicity {a truly bright white, which I love} I decided to attack the fireplace again {this time when it had already been gray-washed}. If you're wishing to achieve a similar look, I would recommend following the steps I took in this post with Country Chic Paint Pebble Beach {a similar color to the Annie Sloan French Linen} and then following the remainder of this tutorial. I believe if I had skipped straight to the Simplicity, it would have had a pink or peach undertone due to the original stone color.

I used a 50/50 mix of water and Simplicity {I didn't measure it out - just eye-balled it, so there isn't an exact science to it}. Previously I had used a sponge brush to apply the gray layer, but this time around I used a stiff-bristle chip brush {a cheap $.99 one} and it was SO much easier. The major tip I have for this project is protect your floors. Because the mix is so watery you drip everywhere. But I wanted there to be some dimension and not just a flat, painted look - hence the reason I added the water to make it less opaque. Occasionally I would blot the stone with a paper towel to help pull some gray through, helping add the dimension I was looking for.  The extra mess is worth the extra effort! One additional bonus of adding water? There are absolutely no issues with brushstrokes. My best little helper/supervisor, Henley, gets partial credit for this work. Plus, she's even cuter than the end result so you can stop reading now if you want ;)

Once I painted the stones however, the board and batten above the mantle looked awful. Like 100% pink/yellow and horrible. Don't believe me? Here is a shot of the old paint with the painted stone {my cats are ridiculous when the cameras/ladders come out - they magically show up} compared to the same paint and a very light coat of white primer. Even with the light coat of primer, the difference is dramatic.

So, a few weekends back, I painted the board and  batten and mantle. It just happened to fantasy baseball draft weekend for my husband so I was finally allowed to unplug the precious television - or I would have done it much sooner! I started with a coat of Kilz primer to ensure adhesion and then followed with two coats of Behr Swiss Coffee in a semi-gloss finish. I love the end result!! Doesn't it just seem to glow now?!

The stone still has some variation due to the mix with water and the trim all looks much crisper with the white  paint. I love that the gray still shows through in some areas on the stone, but the orange and dark gray tones are gone. Definitely the fresher and airier vibe I was going for!

I couldn't be happier with the end result!

Next project? Painting the window trim and baseboards and likely changing out the roman shades that came with the house...oh, and for sure that ceiling never ends!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guest Post: My Dining Room

Today I'm guest posting over at A Stroll Thru Life. I was so flattered when the super-sweet Marty asked me to be part of her "Pulling It All Together Series". I'm sharing all the details on the very first room I made over in our current home - our dining room. It was one of the biggest changes in our house (do you remember the before?!?) and I still love the space. I would love for you to stop over to A Stroll Thru Life and check it out!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No-Sew Pottery Barn Inspired Ribbon Drapes

It's hard to believe, but the next quarter of our Look-For-Less Design Challenge is here! You may remember my DIY "Wood" Bead Chandelier and DIY Designer Inspired Art and Frame from the prior installments. My project this time around was much less time intensive, but is much more necessary in terms of functionality in our home than the last two. Introducing my No-Sew Pottery Barn Inspired Ribbon Drapes.

I've been working on our king guest bedroom since last summer. And by "working on" I mean I would randomly tackle a project one weekend, abandon it for a few months, and then decide I wanted to work on it again. On Monday, I "revealed" the room - basically showing where the room was at this point, although I can't say I feel like it's 100% done.

I've had the design for the drapes in my mind for some time and have had them mocked-up in the room for several months with stick pins. #Classy. This design challenge prompted me to get my butt in gear and tackle this project once and for all!

My inspiration: The Pottery Barn Morgan Drape - ringing in at $129 per panel for the length I needed.
{via Pottery Barn}
Last Thanksgiving when I was in Utah, I picked up some IKEA Ritva panels. Super cheap but solidly made - exactly what I needed to begin this knock-off. {For an excellent post on the right way to hang these panels, check out this post from Autumn at Design*Dump - the pictures do wonders in terms of explanation}. I picked up the grosgrain ribbon from Ribbon Retreat - they pretty much have every color and width of grosgrain ribbon you can imagine at a great price.

With the striped walls in the room, I felt like the look was cleaner if I simplified the ribbon on the panels I made, in lieu of the PB version. I decided to do one strip of ribbon on the inner edges. To visualize if I liked it, I simply pinned the ribbon in place - one panel with the ribbon on the edge, and another with the ribbon inset a few images {similar to the PB version}. I opted for the edge.

If you saw my no-sew shower curtain, this process is even easier since I was only affixing ribbon to the top of the drape - not wrapping it on both sides of the panel. However, the main element is the same - Stitch Witchery to the rescue! Here are the simple supplies need: curtain panel, ribbon, Stitch Witchery, scissors, and iron and an ironing board. Easy!

I started at the top of each panel. I laid out some of the Stitch Witchery {just short of the width of the ribbon at the top and about two-foot lengths on each side where the ribbon would lay on the sides}. I found it was easier to work in two-foot lengths and then cut more once I finished each sections {keep in mind the ribbon should be left at full-length though}. It's hard to pick up the Stitch Witchery in photos so the arrows in the photo below should help them be more visible:

I then carefully laid the ribbon over it, leaving about a two-inch overhand on the top. Once everything is lined up and you ensure none of the Stitch Witchery is hanging out from behind the ribbon, you steam press it with your iron {follow the directions on the package}. Super easy.

I then flipped over that top corner, applied some stitch witchery for the two-inch overhang, wrapped the ribbon over the top, and then repeated with the iron.

Next I gradually worked down the front of the drape, continuing in two-foot sections, adding Stitch Witchery behind the ribbon on each of its sides.

As I got to the end of each two-foot section, I would peel the ribbon up slightly and tuck under the SW to start the next section. Worked like a charm!

Each panel took just under 30 minutes to complete. And 25 minutes of that was spent ironing each panel because I had never done so after I took them out of the package in November. This is an EASY project that even the most beginner DIYer can tackle. Give it a try! I haven't actually hemmed the bottom of the drapes yet, but if/when I do, you can be sure it will be with the Stitch Witchery in lieu of using my sewing machine!

These drapes help complete the room. Such an easy update to some plain white drapes!

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Remember, the fun doesn't stop here! Stop by these other six blogs for more amazing look for less projects!

Absolutely Arkansas - Anthropologie Inspired Mirror Tray

Home Coming - DIY Towel Rail

Life.Love.Larson - DIY Succulent & Cactus Terrarium

Linking up to: The Blissful Bee,

Monday, April 14, 2014

King Guest Bedroom Reveal

I have never done an official "reveal" for this room for whatever reason. Probably because I don't feel like I've ever finished it. So, I think the time has come to show you the progress so far. As long as nobody points out that there is a still a Christmas carol on the chalkboard. I'll get around to filling it in with an Easter hymn - hopefully by summer. ;)

But first a trip down memory lane. Here is the room shortly after we moved it. It didn't start changing much until last July.

You may recall my first design board here, and my latest {below} after I felt like the room was just off with the original plans. I then shared a few updates once I had the stripes painted and again around Christmas time when I added a few festive touches and then in January when I added the art.

Here are a few more shots of the space. I still need to make the other two Euro shams {they've been cut-out for months} and decide what to cover the bolster pillows in. I also haven't decided if I should hem the bottom of the drapes or allow them to pool. You can see I opted to use a mirror I had on hand in lieu of the Z Gallerie one I wanted in the inspiration photo. I also opted out of the green accents {other than the boxwoods} but they may still be part of the picture down the road. I'm still undecided. I will also need to paint all the doors, window trim and door trim {I completed the baseboards} in the Behr Swiss Coffee like the rest of the house. I'll honestly say that this room no longer feels 100% my style, but I do really like how it came together.

Source List for the room:
Bedspread: Target
Nightstands: Home Decorators {a few years old}
Mercury Glass Lamps: Hancock Fabric {old}
Bed: Z Gallerie {old}
Chandelier: Costco {old}
Mirrored Frame: Threshold for Target
Good Thoughts Art: Oh My Deer Etsy shop
Gold Sun Mirror: Garden Ridge {old}
Paint colors: Behr Swiss Coffee and Behr Dolphin Fin - stripe post
Ribbon-trimmed Drapes: DIY - full tutorial coming Wednesday
Pillow - DIY with Schumacher Chenonceau in Charcoal - I have several yards of this for my next fabric sale!

Check in on Wednesday when I share how I made the Pottery Barn inspired ribbon drapes as part of the latest Look For Less challenge. So easy and such an affordable alternative to the originals!

Linking up to: The Dedicated House, A Stroll Thru Life, Home Coming, Domestically Speaking, Three Mango Seeds, By Stephanie Lynn, Nifty Thrifty Things, Uncommon Designs, The Casual Craftlete, Just a Girl and Her Blog