Flags as Art

For a long time, I’ve admired the look of a big flag hung in a room to serve as art.  Doesn’t matter how simple or detailed the flag, I’m a sucker for the look.  Emily Henderson has two that show how great this large-scale art can be.  A vintage Red Cross flag above a sofa fills that large expanse without feeling overbearing.

In her current house, she has a simple blue and white stripe flag above a credenza.  Both designs are simple, two color styles that make a bold statement, without needing a frame.

Or, when framed, the flag becomes a piece big enough to anchor a bed, serving as a headboard.

Division Street

So I know flags as art isn’t a new thing, but I’ve recently added one to our home, with a twist.


The lovely ladies behind Flagology recently asked me if I’d want to try a custom house flag, either outside or indoors.  A million options ran through my mind, designs, colors, even where I could hang it.


With such a neutral laundry room, I thought it’d be fun to add large scale, colorful art in the mix.  At 28 inches wide by 40 inches tall, the size fills the end wall perfectly.  While I loved everything about it, I realized the light weight piece would work even better in the basement hall.


Why does the weight matter so much on this wall?  Well, this wall is mostly a pocket door and essentially only drywall to hang anything on.


So I found a section of wooden dowel, ran it through the top pocket, and added twine to hang the flag from.


A thumb tack easily holds the flag in place, and doesn’t need heavy-duty hangers.


Thanks to the thick, outdoor quality fabric, I don’t have to worry about mess hands, shoulder bumps (not to be confused with shoulder pads), or anything else damaging the flag.  That’s not something I can say about traditional frames with glass or even canvas paintings.


Creating a custom flag was as simple as uploading a .jpeg file, clicking the mouse a few times, and done.  Knowing I wanted this to look a bit more like art than a traditional flag, I created a design based on a paint by number scene.  The Flagtastic fabric kept the greens of the mountains and trees vibrant to really liven up this dark little hallway.


Now to get some more art on these walls!  I’ve had a special print waiting in the wings for that wall at the end of the hall.  Getting to the accessory stage is so much fun because that’s where the personality and life come into play.

If you like this idea, you’ll love that Flagology is giving one custom house flag or doormat to a lucky reader!  Just for our readers, Flagology is offering 20% off all custom flags and doormats (does not include Create4Me or accessories)-just enter the code OHA20 to redeem your deal.

This post was sponsored by Flagology, but all ideas, opinions, and photos are my own.  

Basement Progress: Theater Room

Throughout the basement remodel, I’ve shared pictures of the progression of the rooms.



What started out as one long, L shaped room has been divided into two spaces.


Room by room, we’re trying to check things off the to do list.


In the first photo, the window on the left is now a bedroom, while the right is a theater/hangout space.


After a full gut and rebuild, we just moved furniture in this week.  Carpet went in a few weeks ago, and it’s so plush it feels like walking on clouds.  Since this is a space mostly for serious movie/tv watching, I painted the walls Jasper by Sherwin Williams, a deep, dark green.  A reclining sofa, which isn’t the most beautiful, but is comfortable sits along the back wall.


Everything else is furniture I’ve saved after replacing it in different rooms, so I’m sure things will change.  Until then, for additional seating that’s easy to move, a pair of leather sling chairs sit against one wall.


Currently, the wall across from those chairs is blank, until we bring back a club chair from storage.  Black out curtains will be hung as soon as I find curtain rods.


An added bonus of the darks walls is that the big tv and speakers fade away, nearly blending in rather than being big eyesores.


When planning the new basement layout, we decided to make this space one that could be considered a legal bedroom.  Behind that door is a storage space that is also Ben’s reloading man cave.  Because of that closet door, we had to hang the tv off centered.


Whenever it’s a priority, we’ll build an L shape cabinet to anchor the tv and provide storage for dvds, blankets, and anything else.

Laundry Room Progress

In what feels like a never-ending saga, let’s dive into the progress we’ve made in the basement.  Specifically, the laundry room.  For it’s purpose, it’s a decent sized room at nine feet wide and eight and a half feet deep.  We started out with our washer and dryer side by side, below a row of orange oak upper cabinets.  Since we immediately ripped out the pet stained carpet, we tossed a rug below to have a less dirty floor to walk on.


Just to the left of the appliances was a big, plastic wash tub and open floor space.


Opposite the washer and dryer was a full wall of dark oak upper and lower cabinets, complete with stunning orange countertops.


Based on the cabinet configuration and the large mirror, we think this room was a designated sewing space for a previous owner.  While the room boasted a lot of cabinetry, it wasn’t laid out in the most functional way for our uses.


When we gutted the entire basement, we decided to tweak the door placement to throw more depth to the appliance side.  This minor change centered the door on the open floor space, making each side a better depth for what would go on the walls.


After five months of working toward an updated basement, we are nearing our finish line.  Let’s take a look behind the pocket door.


We still have the sink, washer, and dryer on the left side of the door, but opted to stack the units to accommodate an upright freezer.


For the most finished look, we built a floor to ceiling panel to block the side of the stack.  A 40 inch wide by 24 inch deep cabinet, which will have a sink once we get our countertops, fills in from the side panel to wall.


Above, we opted to skip an upper cabinet, and built two floating wood shelves instead.  At eight inches deep, we won’t have to worry about crashing heads, but we still have enough room for laundry essentials.  Of course the shelves can also hold a few pretty things to add a bit of personality to even a laundry room.


Over on the other side of the room is a wall-o-cabinets.  Sleek white cabinets keep this dark, windowless room from feeling dingy and depressing.  At the back of the room is a 5 foot tall by 2 foot wide vacuum/ironing board cabinet.


This leaves us with a 6 1/2 foot long counter space, which will be great for folding, but also getting laundry baskets off the floor.


A pair of upper cabinets gives us ample space to store, well, I’m not sure yet, but whatever we need.


Clearly the bottom drawers aren’t finished, but the shallow tops aren’t actually drawers.  Surprise, it’s a pull out drying rack.


To be honest, we don’t have much that can’t go in the dryer, but we didn’t have an option before.  Yes, we could have added a pull down wall mount version, but I love that these are discreet when not in use.  More than anything, we built the cabinets, so we easily added the option.


Even when fully extended, there’s a little more than two feet of space to get around.


Like the kitchen and master bath, all drawers and doors are soft close.  It’s a small feature that is just so nice to have; no more accidentally slamming anything shut.


Before we can call this room finished, we still have a few things to finish up.  Two more drawers to build, a cabinet will go above the freezer, a panel to cover the top of the dryer, countertops/sink/faucet to install.  Baseboard and crown can go in soon and then it’s fill, caulk, prime, and paint.


Even with those lingering tasks, how about a side by side to show just how far we’ve come in five months.


Guys, we have floors that don’t feel gross underfoot.  We’ll have counter space by the sink to actually set stuff like soap.  No more mirror to creep everyone out.

Carpet Sampling

Choosing carpet isn’t something we’ve done often.  In our first house, the only rooms with the cushy stuff were the basement bedrooms.  At this house, hardwood and tile are the only flooring types currently installed, but that will change soon.  Before we can get to install, we had shopping and serious deliberations to go through.  Ironically (or luckily?) carpet is the element Ben and I disagree on most.

At the beginning of our search, I said I preferred patterns created by texture, something like this.  A shorter, dense pile that holds up better to foot traffic, with subtle interest from the pattern.  All great selling points in my book.


Ben, however, prefers for his carpet to feel, well, like a wall to wall mattress.  Thicker + cushier = better.  I tease that he’s a princess about area rugs and carpet, and he doesn’t argue against that.


He also wanted nylon fibers, which greatly whittle down the available options.  After hitting up several stores, we dragged any and all interesting sample boards home to evaluate.

I nearly had him ready to pull the trigger on the waffle-esque  pattern, but then he talked to installers.  Always researching, that guy.  Turns out, installers don’t really like the pattern, because it takes considerably more time and effort to keep the lines straight.  Essentially, the pattern is like tile and grout lines, but can easily be stretched out of alignment.  Crooked walls are even more of an obstacle.  Unlike tile, as carpet wears the fibers loosen and look saggy, needing restretching down the road.  Often times, the wear is not even throughout the room, and certain areas can be stretched up to several inches while others go untouched.  For these reasons, a patterned carpet was officially out of the running.  Womp, womp, wooooomp.

Back on the hunt for a plush carpet we could agree on.  Here were our basic considerations to get to our final choice:

1.  Fiber type:  In our search we found that the majority of carpets carried are polyester, polypropylene, or a polyester blend.  Yes, there are some nylon, wool, cotton and other fibers, but polyester seems to greatly outnumber the other options.  Generally speaking, nylon costs more, but is the strongest fiber, thus can handle heavier foot traffic.  Nylon carpets hold their twist better, preventing the worn look of frayed ends.  For this reason alone, Ben wanted a nylon carpet.

2.  Pile length:  From my wish list, I wanted a shorter, dense pile to minimize the look of traffic patterns.  Just like grass, the longer it is, the more obvious the wear.

3.  Face weight:  The face weight of a carpet is how many ounces of one yard of actual fiber (not including the backing).  To generalize, the higher the weight equals a more dense and better quality carpet.  That is, assuming the pile length is the same.  If it’s really easy to feel (or even see) the backing, the lower the face weight will be.

4.  Coloring: With the carpets we considered, we had the choice between solid or flecked.  I immediately eliminated the obviously speckled look, since it’s just not my thing.  On the other hand, in some cases, Ben likes the interest it adds.

5.  Price:  Like all products, there’s a wide variety, covering all ends of the price spectrum.  We didn’t set a budget for carpet, instead, we wanted the quality and durability to take priority.

After checking all of those boxes, we had our winner: a nylon, 70 ounce face weight, subtly speckled plush carpet that feels like walking on a cloud.


Of course, there was one last debate-colors.  I loved the lighter slightly oatmeal gray, Sharkskin, to keep the rooms feeling bright.  Ben, being the more practical of the two of us, liked the darker, more forgiving if spilled on Grey Flannel.


Basement-Carpet-Samples-in-Bedroom Both are good neutrals and will work, but I really pushed for the lighter, arguing these aren’t high traffic areas.  Ben still insisted on the dark, and I gave up the fight.  When making so many house design/decor decisions, we’re in 100% agreement.  Sometimes, Ben just doesn’t have an opinion (typically when paint colors are involved).  Since he so rarely insists on something, I couldn’t argue.


In both doorways, the carpet will butt up to the slate tile, so the darker will allow the color to flow a bit more seamlessly.


The basement has been measured, carpet is ordered, and we’re waiting for it to arrive and be installed.  One last step to moving furniture back into these rooms and finishing the laundry and bathroom.


Basement Trim & Paint Progress

Basement progress hasn’t been quick, but with a down-to-the-studs starting point, I guess that’s only natural.  It’s been a while since the last update, so here’s a run down of the changes made.  Directly ahead from the base of the stairs and garage door is the mud nook with the bedroom beyond.


We spent two weekends hanging sheetrock before hiring a crew to tape, mud, sand, and prime to avoid getting bogged down.  Money well spent, if you ask us.  Right after they finished, we laid slate tiles in a herringbone pattern (same as the kitchen).  Next, Ben hung doors and installed baseboards, crown, and door trim while I filled, caulked, and painted doors.


With all the trim filled, I spent most of my waking hours painting.  Just painting away.  First trim, then walls.  We carried the same paint from the main level down the stairs, and into the hallway.


In the south facing bedroom, I wanted to use a bolder color.  Something to break up all of the neutrals in the adjoining spaces.


Enter Templeton Gray from Benjamin Moore.  It reminds me of dark and stormy skies; blue with enough gray to keep it from feeling bright.  Depending on the lighting, it can look gray or blue.  A color that can easily pair with golds, mustard yellows, navy, wood tones, and my favorite-green.


Bedroom and closet doors are waiting in the wings, ready to install soon.


Back out in the hall, the first door leads to the laundry room.


To save space, we installed a pocket door, and modified the trim to fit the lowered ceilings.


Let’s continue down the hall, toward the theater room.


Duct work runs the length of the hall, lowering the ceilings by about one foot.


In an effort to minimize the height difference, I carried the wall color up to the ceiling.


Down in the theater, the duct continues through part of the room.


To create a dark, enveloping room, I chose a deep green for the walls, Jasper from Sherwin Williams, in a flat finish.  As with the hall, the color continues onto the lowered ceiling.


Eventually, we’ll mount the TV to the wall with a cabinet below.


This shot is the most accurate color representation.  It’s exactly what I hoped for, dark enough, but still looks green.


Carpet samples are on their way here so we can decide on a color before ordering.  Once carpet is in, we can officially start using these rooms!


Thanks to the configuration, we had to make the theater door swing into the hall to avoid a door awkwardly sticking out.


Through that door is a storage space, which would be a closet if used as a bedroom.


Looking back down the hall, the doorway on the left is the bathroom, laundry after that, and mechanical straight ahead.


And the nearly after view, minus missing carpet and lights until the paint has cured.


I’ve got ideas swirling in my head for furniture and accessories, which I can’t wait to get a start on.