Saturday, August 25, 2012

End table options for the living room

Updates to the living room continue.  Next up is a decision on a second end table.  The round modern wood table seen between the two gray chairs below has been in that spot, then moved across the room to sit at the end of the sofa, and back again.  Several times.

Today it's back at the end of the sofa, near the new white and turquoise bookcase.  It's small enough that it doesn't compete with the bookcase, and I like the natural wood color next to the modern painted bookcase. You can just barely see it in the photo below.

Now that one end table is set in its more permanent home, we need something for the opposite side of the room, between the gray chairs.

Option 1:  Vintage two-tier table

Unlike the round table, which was purchased new around three years ago, the two-tier table needs A LOT of work!  I still can't believe my persnickety self let it reside in its ugly state in our living room for a year.  It's not real wood, so unfortunately I can't sand and paint it.  I think a solid paint color would be too boring for this table, so I was thinking of covering it with a graphic wallpaper, wrapping paper, or contact paper.  I've also been considering painting a graphic pattern on it.

It's been in the room for about a year now, switching places back-and-forth with the round wood table.  Here it is at the end of the sofa earlier this summer.

This table has two drawbacks.  The first is that I already have a lot of graphics in the room, so probably the last thing I need is another!  The second is that it's very rectangular, and every other piece of furniture in the room is also a rectangle.

Option 2:  Mid-century tulip table with white base and marble top

I've been eyeing this table for about a year.  I'm a big fan of Saarinen tables, especially those with a white/gray marble top and a white base.  My perimeter counters in my kitchen are Carrara marble, and my cabinets are white, so this table could be a nice way of tying the kitchen into the living room, since the two rooms are open to each other.  I also like the idea of adding a different type of material/finish to the living room, versus another painted wood piece.  Lastly, the round shape would be a good foil for all the angles in the room.  The only drawback for me is the price.  This particular table costs a little more than I wanted to spend, and I haven't been able to find anything comparable.

What do you think?  Do you like option 1 or option 2?  Why?


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My new Miss Capricho algae watercolor in a repurposed frame

I feel like I have ADB - attention deficit blogging.  For any of you who have kids with ADD, you might not find that amusing.  But I do have serious issues staying on task.  There's always something else more exciting to jump to!  On top of that, I have "just one more thing" syndrome.  Are you familiar with it?  I'm always trying to squeeze in one more thing before I run out the door to an appointment, or before I go to bed, or before I show off a room on the blog.  That's why I'm usually running late, in life and in blogging.  Everything is on schedule, then I try to fit one more thing in and then I'm off track.  Such is me.

But enough about my shortcomings ... and on to a reveal.  I teased this project when I told you about Miss Capricho's algae watercolor.  I teased it a second time when I showed you the unwanted butterfly wall art that I was going to repurpose to frame my new art.  I teased it a third time in my last post when I told you there was an update coming that pushed me to show you my "before blogging" whitewashed side table.

Wow ... that's a lot of teasing.  I'm not sure the reveal is quite THAT exciting, but I love it nonetheless.  Let's jump to a before and after.

I had purchased the butterfly print in the shabby-chic frame probably three years ago from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  At the time, I was in my blue/brown coastal phase, so it seemed to fit in with that color scheme. It never found a permanent place in my home because eventually I realized it just wasn't me.

A few months ago I taped off the glass and painted the outside of the frame turquoise, thinking that might make the art work better for my style.  Nah, not so much.  So rather than letting it catch dust in the basement or selling it for a fraction of the original price, I decided to repurpose it!

To replace the print, I cut the paper off the back of the frame and bent back the staples holding the mirror/art inside the frame.  What I remembered when I did that is that I had two issues:

  1. Even though I had already painted the outside of the frame turquoise, I had forgotten that there was a bead of trim between the mirror and the print inside the frame that also needed to be painted.  Oops.
  2. I also had forgotten that because the frame is a shadowbox, there was a strip of decorative paper around the inside of the frame, between the glass and the print/mirror.  Oops again.

As you can see in the photo above, the color was not going to work for my new, brightly colored print.  Rather than painting everything turquoise, I decided on black as well.  There's a little bit of black/gray in the print itself, and since I intended to hang it in my living room, it would tie in to my black sofa as well.  It might take me a while, but I had it figured out.

The other challenge is that I had to cut down the print just slightly on all sides in order to fit inside the space.  I was so nervous about cutting straight, but I didn't have easy access to a giant cutting board, so I did it very carefully.  I cleaned off the mirror, cleaned the glass, and reassembled everything.  Well, it might have taken me three tries to remember to do all that, but eventually it all came together and it was all closed back up.

Here you can see that I painted the inside trim paper black

Since you've already seen what the finished piece looks like up close, here it is in its current home.

It replaced a sea fan shadowbox that I had there previously, which you can see in my last post about my whitewashed side table.  I am in love with my framed sea fan (which my lovely sister-in-law Lydia DIY'd for me to match one I'd been lusting after online), so it will be getting a new home very soon.  

And if that light switch wasn't right there, I'd hang the print a bit lower, but clearly that table just isn't tall enough.  Ugh.

Here's another before and after shot.  Quite a change, and so much more my style.

Do you like the change, or did you prefer it in its previous state?


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Before blogging: Whitewashed nightstand-turned-side table

I almost feel silly posting this because you might think it's totally lame.  But I have an update coming soon to something in this shot, so I thought I better share this now.

Back in the day, there was a twin bed set that I believe my father-in-law used as a kid.  Many years later, he passed it down for our son to use.  Once a Teen, our dear son decided he was "too long" for a twin bed, so he switched to the queen bed that used to be in our guest bedroom.  That meant the twin bed set went to the guest bedroom instead.  Since I'm not a fan of a matchy-matchy bedroom suite, or the outdated oak stain on this one, I decided to break up the set and give it a different treatment.

I thought I had a before photo somewhere, but since I wasn't a do-it-and-share-it blogger at the time, I probably don't.  So here's the after.  It's a formerly-ugly-oak nightstand that was whitewashed and currently lives in living room, just next to our front door, as a side table.

If you've seen my other furniture makeovers, you know I'm not a whitewashing kind of gal.  I don't use chalk paint, and I don't distress things.  I like a clean, smooth, modern finish.  But remember -- I was in my beachy phase, and this felt very beachy.

Want to know what technique I used?  It's called primer.  Yep, I was planning to paint this some color that I can't even remember now, so I brushed on some primer.  (This was before I had a paint sprayer.)  After it dried, I decided that I liked it as-is, with the whitewashed look.  So there you are, folks.  It's a coat of primer.  Snazzy, huh?

That's why I felt so silly sharing it.  Everyone who has seen it in person all these years probably thinks it's ugly, but I liked it.  About a year ago, I decided to paint it coral.  One of the paint companies was giving away quarts of paint for some promotion, so I ordered some coral paint and eagerly awaited its arrival via mail.  By the time it arrived, I was re-thinking which piece in my living room to paint coral, as I had another side table that needed a paint job as well.  As time went on, I decided that turquoise would be my main "pop" color for the living room, so I decided to hold off on the coral for the time being.

As you can see, I have a coral-colored rock/gem/what-do-you-call-that? sitting on top of the table for now. I'm still deciding whether I want to keep this table in the living room, and if I did, what color it should be.  Or whether I want to replace it with something and move it up to the guest bedroom to use as an actual nightstand.  What I like about it is that it fits well in the narrow space between my front door and my front windows.  What I don't like about it is that I'd like it to be a little taller.  I guess the decision will be made in the next 2-3 months, since I'm moving along on my living room makeover.

What is your vote for this little table?


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A dark cabinet goes light and fresh in turquoise and white

Who doesn't love a reveal that shows something dark and dull transformed into something bright and fresh?  Over the past year, I've been on a quest to brighten up our living room and tie it in more with my bright white kitchen, which is open to the living room.  I've been making lots of changes, including new art, new pillows, new accessories, and most recently a new rug.  Today I'm revealing my fresh, new turquoise and white cabinet.

How about a before and after?

Quite a difference, eh?

I purchased the cabinet (which you can see originally had two glass doors) from Crate & Barrel after we moved into this house, to fit just perfectly under the high window to the right of our living room fireplace.  The cabinet could be purchased in white or a dark stain.  At the time, I thought white would stick out like a sore thumb, so I chose the dark stain.

Fast forward to a couple years later, and I moved it down to my workshop to paint it turquoise.  I moved something else in its place, which we were happy with for a while, but it too had a wood stain and I was craving something brighter.  Finally I convinced myself to take the plunge.  Instead of doing an all-over turquoise, I decided to do a white/turquoise combo.

You can see the difference that this and several other changes have made in the brightness and life of our living room!

The "after" shot was not as wide of a view, because I have more changes coming very soon above the mantel, so I'll do a wider shot when I share that reveal.

In the meantime, here are some additional beauty shots of the new white and turquoise cabinet.

You can see in the room shot above that I changed the styling a bit from the up-close shots.  Had to fit our DVR in the cabinet.  It's an essential in our house, but it's a bit of an eyesore, so hopefully I camouflaged it a bit with the books and mother-of-pearl box on top.

For those who might be wondering, I used spray primer on the whole cabinet, then my paint sprayer for the white. I used a combination of a brush (for the crevices) and a roller for the turquoise.  I used my sprayer again to put several light protective coats of Polycrilic on the whole piece.  By the way, the turquoise paint color is Glidden's Tropical Lagoon.

I like it so much better with the new color and without the glass doors.  It's more of a bookcase than a cabinet now, I guess!

How about one more shot of the before and after?

What do you think?  Are you a traditionalist who preferred the darker before, or do you like the more modern new look?


Linking to:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More graphic prints and more turquoise for the living room ... in the form of pillows

I just can't get enough turquoise.  With it being such a popular color, you'd think it would be easy to find pillows in that color.  I'm always on the lookout, but they rarely fit my color/style/price/cleaning requirements.

Thanks again to my favorite flash sale site, Fab, I found something fun!


Do all the patterns make your head spin?  I am cuckoo for geometrics, so I love it!

The hexagon pillows I've had for several months, the silvery-blue pillow I've had for years, and the fish scale pillows on the ends are the new ones.  They're reversible too, which is fun.  Here's the side with the white background ...

... and here's the side with the turquoise background.

Plus they're piped in a tomato-red, which coordinates with the hexagon pillows and the colors in the artwork above the sofa.  Some day I'll find pillows in an appropriate pattern that mix turquoise and red with black.  Believe it or not, they pretty much don't exist.  At least not in graphics that fit my design aesthetic.  Weird.  If you ever run across any, please give me a heads up!


Monday, August 6, 2012

What to do around the mantel/TV

I have never been successful at styling our mantel.  First, we had the problem of the TV hanging too close to the mantel, as seen in the photo below.

Apparently the room used to look very brown!  

After about 2 1/2 years of living with it that way, I convinced The Mr. we needed to have more breathing room between the TV and the mantel last July.  It looked better, as seen below.  However, the styling of the mantel was not looking good.

No, we didn't repaint the room.  The lighting is causing a purple cast to our greige walls here.

I've tried all kinds of different decorative items but no combination looked good to me.  So I decided I needed something more vertical to help fill the gaps between the TV and the window frames.  And I thought symmetry would be good.  I found these tall vases at HomeGoods.  I also placed six identical shells underneath the TV, lined up in a row.

This is a better representation of the wall color, although it looks a wee bit lighter here than it is.

Still the look wasn't right.  I moved the tall white vases to the floor in front of the fireplace, but I'm not a fan of them there either.  I have a black and white framed print that didn't have a home, so I wondered if I should surround the TV with framed art to help camouflage it.  Here I have just one frame leaning on the mantel so I could get an idea of how it might look.

Since the mantel/fireplace, the windows, the TV and the chest of drawers were all rectangles, adding more rectangles didn't seem like a good idea.  I just couldn't figure out what to do there though.

Until ... I flipped open my new Ballard Designs catalog last week and came across a photo that stopped me in my tracks.  Something popped out at me that I didn't even realize I needed.  But when I saw it, I just knew it was perfect to solve my problem.  There are lots of lovely things in this photo, but all my eyes noticed were the mirrors above the armoire.

Sorry, blurry camera phone photo

They're called the Bellesol Mirror, and they come in both small (14" round) and medium (31.5" round) sizes. Wouldn't two of the small mirrors on either side of my TV be just perfect?

Immediately I cut out some 14" circles out of some crumpled Kraft paper I had lying around, and stuck them in place with painter's tape.  When The Teen came downstairs and noticed the templates, he asked me why I had tortillas on the wall.  Crazy kid.  He does not approve of my new design choice, because he'd rather the mantel/wall be plain and empty.  I'm definitely more of a minimalist than a maximalist, but The Teen is a major minimalist as far as decor goes.  Since he doesn't like anything I do to decorate our home, I just don't even pay attention to his comments any more.

I was looking through some of the 205 (!) reviews of the Bellesol Mirror on Ballard's website when I realized that the mirror panels have an antiqued look.  You don't really notice it in the photos.  I was a little bummed, since I've got more of a modern look going in our living room.  But maybe the antiqued mirrors would be a good foil to the other more modern pieces.  Balance is key, right?  Or throwing in something unexpected?

Then I had the idea to look at other websites for similar items.  A couple of the reviewers of the Bellesol Mirror mentioned a much more expensive version on another popular site, but they weren't able to use the name in the reviews.  I did find an almost-identical version at Home Decorators, at the same size, and for about the same price.  The only big difference as far as I can tell is that the HD version is not antiqued.

In the photos below, the Bellesol from Ballard is on the left, and the similar Kieran Wall Mirror from HD is on the right.  Both come with gold trim,which is not as noticeable in the photo of the Bellesol.

Don't tell The Mr., but I've ordered one of each to see which one I like better.  If return shipping were free, I would order four of each so I'd be able to go ahead and hang all the ones I like best right away.  I hate waiting!  But I'll be practical and assume I will have to pay return shipping for one, and then will order three more of the preferred version.

I still don't know exactly what I'll do on the mantel itself, but I'm guessing that with the mirrors on the wall, whatever I put on the mantel will look better layered in front of the mirrors.

Thoughts?  Hate the idea?  Love the idea?  Know of other similar products?


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bookends and garden stool from flash sale site LuxeYard

LuxeYard is one of the newer flash sale sites I've come across.  They seem to have lots of items I don't see at other sites.  Here are a couple I just couldn't resist this week. 

Ceramic Mermaid Bookends by Charming Accessories for Any Space

Imperial Ceramic Stool by Glamour House

I'm a sucker for beachy items and anything turquoise, so the mermaid bookends had to be mine.  I realized when I was trying to do some styling this week that I don't own any bookends, so how could I pass them up?  Ha ha.

I was totally stoked about the price for the garden stool.  I don't know why those things are so expensive!  This one was reduced from $199 to $69, with shipping costs of less than $7.  They have tons of other garden stools on their site, so if you're interested, just do a search for "stool."

In addition to home decor and furniture, LuxeYard also sells fashion and accessories.  Check 'em out!

When the items arrive, I'll be sure to show you where they're going to live in my home.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Another living room switcheroo coming up

Just over a year ago I did a bit of a switcheroo with the cabinet to the right of our living room fireplace.  I wasn't feeling the espresso-stained, glass-front cabinet, and moved in a mid-century modern chest in its place.  Not only do I love MCM furniture, but also with it being up on legs, it felt a little airier in the space.

Fast-forward to today, and while the MCM chest, the sofa and the coffee table are the same, just about everything else has changed.

Since I have a problem keeping anything the same for long, it must be time to switch out the chest again!  And whaddaya know, I'm bringing back the glass-front cabinet.  Only it will look very different!  Any guesses as to what I'm doing to it?

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