Green with Envy

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving yesterday.  We ate a lot and I think we laughed even more, so you know it was a good night.  And thank you all for your supportive, nice comments about the finished siding, too.  I plan to share more pictures and info as the siding rusts.  We’re interested to see how long it takes.  Come spring (and warmer weather) we may want to speed up or even out the finish.  Oh, Beth, you’re the winner of the luxurious Frette robe!  Congrats!

Now, to some indoor progress.  Before we could hang our new curtains, I had to fill, caulk, prime, and paint the trim around the windows.  Following Murphy’s Law, my touch up paint didn’t match the wall color.  Mental note: never buy paint at Wal-Mart again.  That lead to buying another custom matched gallon (thanks to the talented paint folks at Home Depot) and painting the window walls all over again.  Eesh.  So much for a quick job.


Anyway, I got it done and then it was curtain time.  I measured the length and hemmed all eight panels about three inches.


For the large front window, I use four panels to get enough width to close completely.


The remaining two windows are narrow enough for one panel on each side.


These World Market curtains have a rod pocket as well as back tabs.  We like the look of tabs better because it allows the panels to bunch nicely when open.


It’s such a welcome addition of color to an otherwise mostly neutral space.


Living without curtains feels a lot like being in a fishbowl.  We’re thankful for privacy and a new look.  And you know, finished windows.  Baby steps.

Green Velvet

Not to harp on our living room, sad little guy, but it feels lack luster and boring.  Almost completely devoid of color with the exception of plants and a few pillows.  I usually prefer a touch more color.  In addition to framing out the recently replaced windows and adding a new rug (any suggestions?), curtains are on my list.  The dropcloth panels are fine, nothing amazing, but get the job done.  All the gray on gray is getting dreary.

To shake things up, I’ve placed an order for green curtains.  Before pulling the trigger, I photoshopped some color over the current set.  Perhaps an olive toned set?  I know where I can get a similar linen.


Deeper, almost emerald could look nice?


Or cheery kelly green…


Then I saw these green velvet panels at World Market.

At $35 per panel, they’re cheaper than I could make.  Sign me up for skipping sewing large panels!  Seriously, I loathe sewing curtains.  Cumbersome pain in the butt they are.

Online, the color didn’t get me too excited.  So, I stopped in our store to take a look and walked out with six 84″ panels.  Including the floor model.  Cleared them out.  At home, I tossed one over the rod to get a better peek.


Other than the panels being a few inches short, I’m diggin’ it.


I’d say the color is less deep green than the description and more leafy green.  Very similar to my fiddle leaf fig, actually.


I’ve already placed an order for eight 96 inch panels (need four to cover the front window) and have returned the original six.  Hopefully they’ll arrive in a few weeks and we’ll have a happy new look.  Just in time to offset the winter blues.

Room and Board

Certain rooms feel like the come together quickly and with very little effort.  Things magically fall into place.  Our living room is the polar opposite.  We’ve got a plan for how we want the finished room to look, but getting there has been a struggle.  Honestly, finding furniture that fits our style, budget, and room, but is also comfortable seems impossible.  Our sofa situation is a perfect example.  Looks right, but wasn’t comfortable so we returned it.


I’ve found a few decent pieces thrifting, but something is still off.


Our limited store selection doesn’t make this any better.  Yes, I realize I could shop online, but I’d rather sit/feel/touch before I take the plunge.  All that to say, I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of small-ish chairs for the living room.  Or one slightly wider chair to take up a little more space.  Something comfy, upholstered.  The kind of chair you’d curl up in to read a book.

Apparently a pair of chairs is as easy to find as a unicorn snacking on a field of four leaf clovers.  So I started thinking perhaps I could keep the one chair and find/build it a brother from another mother chair.  Kind of like the set on the left side of this image:


(Sorry, I don’t know the source because I took a screen shot on my phone.)  I brought over a metal and black vinyl sling chair to get an idea.


What if I made a similar style chair, but with the same proportions as the other?  I didn’t have much faith I could find what I had in mind.  And worried I’d make something that would crash down if an adult sat in it.


A day later, I stumbled on the perfect slightly oversized upholstered chair in a consignment shop.


I sat in it and felt like Goldilocks.  This chair was juuuust right.  I lifted the cushions to make sure everything was in good shape.  I almost choked when I saw the tag on the seat:


It’s from Room and Board!  I have no idea how old it is, but it looks like the Jasper chair.  Instead of a $699 price tag, this was only 40 dollars!  I snatched the tagged cushion and nearly ran to the checkout to claim it right away.  The nubby tan fabric looked a little mustard yellow under the stores flourescent lights, but in our room, it looks pretty nice.  Even if it does remind me of an old mens coat with leather elbow patches.


Just not with our current sofa.  Which is okay, because this one was intended to stay in the family room.


I’m sure finding the perfect couch won’t be an easy task.  That can wait until we find the one.


I’m just happy this new addition adds little heft to that side of the room.


Feels like the perfect reading chair.  For myself and the boys.  I’ve already caught them cuddled together reading books.  Finding this chair made me feel like I won the lottery.  Our living room thanks me.

Panoramic Views

More often than not, Ben and I are totally fine working on projects together.  By now, I know how he thinks and am usually decent at predicting what he’ll need and how I can help.  Then there are times that I feel completely and utterly useless.  As was the case when removing and replacing the large living room window.  Here’s an older picture to help you remember what the wooden gridded window looked like.


It’s huge, measuring 10 feet wide and 5 1/2 feet tall.  Even though it’s divided into three sections, that middle piece is heavy.  Long story short, getting that big piece out without causing us or surroundings damage was stressful, but well worth it.  Not only does it match the rest of the windows now, it’s no longer a focal point.


(How am I just now noticing how off center the couch is?)  Before, the darker wood looked heavy and the grids broke up the view.  Without the break up, it feels bigger and brighter, while putting the attention on the views.


Framing, trim, and touch up paint still happen soon, too.


The new window isn’t the only panoramic view going on now.  We finally have a real dining light.  Specifically, the Panorama Chandelier from West Elm.  Not sure why, but it says no longer available.  Strange, I just ordered mine on the 14th.


It caught my eye months ago while browsing, but I nixed it because I thought the open bottom would cast a harsh light directly into our eyes.  Almost with laser beam precision, burning our retinas.


After sharing other options, a few lovely ladies asked why this one wasn’t on the list.  Which made me reconsider my quick nix of this beauty.  Then I saw the 20% off lighting sale, and I had a 15% off coupon, so it hopped in my cart for $300 with shipping.


It doesn’t disappoint.  Straight lined and simple, but the speckled mirrored glass is slightly glam and looks much like mercury glass.  Dark metal is a nice match to the West Elm entry light, too.  (See one of the arms in the reflection?)


Inside, there’s a slightly golden tinted layer that bounces the light around and makes the glow warm and soft.


Without a diffuser, the light still isn’t in our eyes when seated.  In fact, even I have to crouch down a little to see the bulbs.


Three 25 watt bulbs are adequate to light the table, but not overpowering or blindingly bright.


We can finally eat in here now that the sun is setting earlier.  Three cheers for function and beauty.


We’re nearing the end of our siding, so hopefully that wall will get a spray of texture and paint soon.  Good thing the light helps draw attention away from the unfinished-ness.

Box it Like it’s Hot

This project is a shameless West Elm knock off.  The Contrast boxes are fun and useful in nearly any room.

But, only the tray is available right now.  Hence the knock off.  I found the perfect wood while picking up some other supplies at Home Depot.  In the aisle with pre-cut sheets (varying thickness MDF, peg board, and plywood), I saw these 1/2 inch thick solid oak boards.  Only $2.50 per 1/2 inch by 5.5 inch by 2 foot board.


I grabbed three and started building when I got back home.  Using the width of the plank as my top and base, I cut two rectangles at 8 inches.  To create the sides, I cut mitered corners to fit around the base.  Not on top, as I did with my recent tray project.  So the inside of my long pieces were 8 inches, short sides at 5.5 inches.


This is where a pin nailer comes in very handy.  For each side, I’d brush wood glue on each corner or joint, hold it in place until square, and then shoot four or five 3/4 inch long nails in.


It leaves teeny holes, but holds everything together until the glue sets.  For my triangle lamps, I used this same method of nails and glue and they’ve held up perfectly.  Now, to deal with the recessed top.

West Elm’s version has a routered top, but I decided it would be quicker and just as effective to add little ‘posts’ to each corner.  After measuring the inside of the box, I subtracted a half-inch and glued them in.


My top is a 5.5 by 8 inch rectangle, allowing it to rest inside the frame, on atop the corner posts.  To accommodate the leather strap handle, I measured my leather.  At 3/16 thick, I cut a slightly larger slot by drilling holes in each end and connecting the pieces with a funky vibrating saw.


Before finishing, I sanded everything with fine paper.  Using stain and paint I already had, I finished the outside with stain, and the inside and top edge with paint.  Four coats of Polycrylic to protect everything and give a little shine.  For under eight dollars, I have a cute box to stash our junk on the coffee table.


It’s a nice wooden accent, but I’m worried it looks too tall.  Almost like a Kleenex box cover.  I might make a shorter one…


At any rate, it holds lotions, chapstick, nail clippers, and the boys’ toothbrushes.


The leather handle is a lot easier for the boys to open than the metal bin we had used.



I couldn’t think of a better way to attach the strap, so I stapled it to the underside of the cover.  I’m guessing West Elm attached their handle differently.  Haha.


A lower, longer box would be great to hold our remotes, too.  I could also use one in the bathroom for first aid supplies.