Blowing Smoke

Roofing has taken priority over the bathroom, and while I’d love to make progress in there and call it done, I’m waiting for Ben to work on the trim.  While he was on the roof sweating his butt off installing shingles, I decided to get something done.  I looked around the house and decided to finally paint over the red accent wall in the living room.

If there’s one thing I know about my personal decorating sense it’s this: I am not a red person.  In stores, I never gravitate toward anything red.  Not clothes and not home decor.  There’s nothing wrong with red, I just prefer blues and greens.  Heck, I can appreciate orange and yellow, but red?  Notsomuch.

So this red accent wall was on my list.  What spurred this painting session?  For one, I couldn’t stand the red any longer.  Two, I picked a paint color and I could kill two birds with one paint can stone.  Cover the red and test the paint color before painting the entire room only to realize I don’t like it.  And three, it would be easier to paint around the entertainment center before Ben installs the upper shelves.

Even before moving in, I decided I would use Glidden’s Wood Smoke for the main areas.  It was my second choice when I repainted our living room at our first house.  On the sample card, Wood Smoke looked like a medium dark warm grey, just what I wanted.  I could easily wrap the color around to the family room and down the hall.  The boys and I hopped in the car and headed to Home Depot to pick up a gallon of Wood Smoke in a satin finish.  Because we have two little (dirty) boys, I buy satin for the easy wipeability.

We got home and I immediately started painting.  Like I had hoped, the paint covered the red well in one coat, but the nooks in the textured walls called for a second coat.  And here we are now:

You can see I didn’t get rid of all the red.  But that will change soon.  When Ben built the lower cabinet boxes for the entertainment center, he also built two upper shells.  He added backs (which I’ve already painted) so it would have been a waste of time to paint behind that.

When we find the time to remodel the kitchen, most of the wall from the right side of the bookshelf over to the door will go.  Who knows when that will happen, but I’d rather live in a space I like until then instead of staring at the red.

Now that we’ve given the paint a test drive, I’ll have to buy a few more gallons to paint the rest of the room.  Still haven’t figured out how I’m going to paint over the stairs.

And after I paint the living room, I’ll work my way to the family room.

Hopefully I can talk Ben into hauling the painted shells up to see the accent color in action.  Any guesses what color I chose?  Have you been painting this weekend?

The Chicago Blues

Knowing we’ll have several rounds of visitors over the summer (and in the next few weeks) we’ve pushed to get more done in the main bathroom.  Despite the vanity needing a few details, I put the first coat of Chicago Blues on.

I love it.  The swatch looked a little nuts, but in the space, it reads as a brighter navy.

A second coat will follow once Ben installs the top trim pieces, but the change and progress is welcome.  You might notice I painted the walls and ceilings.  Well, everything that I could around the patched areas.  In my mood board, I used Stone White from Ben Moore, but it looked too blue in person.  Eventually, I’ll paint the main areas Wood Smoke by Glidden, so I had the paint guy at Home Depot give me a 25% tint to flow with the rest of the house.  I figure getting a first coat on the majority will help.  Then I can prime and paint the patched areas, go over the entire room again for a seamless paint job.

Handy Sammy’s family stopped in to stay with us, so I added a few accessories to pretty it up a bit.

We’ve got more trim work to do, grouting in the shower, and painting, but we do have a functional toilet complete with toilet paper holder.

Fingers crossed Ben has time to grout the shower to get it functional for our guests.

How was your weekend?  Did you do any painting?  Maybe you installed a toilet?  We had fun chatting with family and eating dinner on the deck.

Earn Your Stripes

I know, I know.  Stripes are a huge trend and I’m the last to jump on board.  But I love the look, so I did it.  Back when we made the offer on the mountain house, I immediately thought of a green wall color with white and gray striped curtains in the boys’ bedroom.  Green because it’s V and E’s favorite color.  And stripes because they’re bold without being girly.  You saw my 20 yard pile of fabric on Monday, and I’m happy to say we’ve got hanging curtains as of last night.

For the past week, we’ve lived with white mini blinds and old hardware from vertical blinds.

The blinds blocked some of the incoming light, but not enough to let the boys sleep past 6:30.  I love curtains, the look, function, and ease, so I decided to make blackout curtains, hoping for precious sleep.  I bought 10 yards of white blackout liner and 10 yards of a plain cotton liner to use as my curtain.  Joann had drapery fabric on 50% off sale, so the blackout cost $3.49 per yard and the cotton liner was $3.99 per yard for a total of $74.80 for four 54 inch wide floor to ceiling panels.  To get started on my sewing endeavor, I first cut the fabric into 7 foot 4 inch lengths.  Once I had four of each fabric, I pinned the manufacturer straight lines together.

Using a known straight edge helped me keep the curtain panels as square as possible.  After I smoothed out the fabric, I rolled my long edges over twice, keeping a one inch margin, to make a clean back edge.

I did this to all four sides, then started sewing.  And sewing.  And sewing.  I was the energizer bunny of the sewing world that day.  Two Everett naps later, I had my four panels ready for ribbon.  Most often, I make a rod pocket when I sew curtains.  But the thick blackout fabric doesn’t bunch much when pulled to the side, so I needed to fix that.  Curtain clips are an option, but I’m too cheap to spend 28 bucks (four packages at $7 each).  Instead, I used white grosgrain ribbon I already had in my stash, not to be confused with a ‘stache; I don’t have that kind.  I cut my ribbon into 6 inch lengths, then pinned the edges over twice to prevent fraying and to add strength.  Five ribbon loops per panel was perfect for my hefty fabric.

One ribbon loop on either end of each panel first, pinning in the corners.

To place my other three, I skipped measuring and folded my fabric in half, marking center with a pin.

Pin first, then sew three strips, the first forward, second in reverse, and last forward.

With those ribbon loops, the curtains became functional.  Finally time for the fun part.  After folding the edges over twice, my 7 foot 4 inch panels became 7 foot panels, which is perfect for 12 inch wide stripes.  A yard stick made quick work of marking my stripes.  Starting from the top of each to make sure the stripes lined up, I made tick marks at each foot.  Just a light line and I started edging with my paint.  Then I realized my paint dried too quickly and it was going to take an eternity this way.  I busted out a roll of plain masking tape and tested the crispness of the line it made.  Lucky for me, the tape worked perfectly.  So I started using the tape for a crisp paint line, running it along my pencil line.

To ensure a tight seal, I used the end of my paint can opener to really press the tape down.

To get my gray stripes, I used a can of Pewter Tankard, left over from painting the inside of the drawers of our first home’s kitchen.  While at Joann buying fabric, I looked at Fabric Medium.  I decided against using it for a few reasons.  1.  I needed a one to two ratio of medium to paint.  2.  Each 2 ounce bottle cost $2.99 and I’d probably need 4 or more bottles.  3.  I’m painting curtains, so a rough texture won’t be a problem.  No one is sitting or sleeping on it.  So I started painting with my plain latex paint and a brush.  Pouncing along the tape line helps prevent paint bleeding, too.

Working in one foot sections, I edged along the tape, then quickly filled in working from the edge toward the center.  It took about 4 hours to tape and paint twelve stripes (three on each panel).  Vincent and Everett colored near by, occasionally stepping over to see my progress and chat.  I painted two stripes per panel, moved them to the floor to dry and started on the next.  I worked through the panels until my first dried and I painted the last stripe.

I finished painting and remembered I couldn’t use the curtains that night if I didn’t have rods to hang them on.  Originally I wanted to use galvanized plumbing, but parts were more expensive than I anticipated.  Each fixed five foot rod would cost about 30 bucks.  Maybe I can find an adjustable curtain rod I liked more under $30.  The boys and I made a Target run, where I found this Umbra rod I liked.  Our Target only had one, so we looked for another simple option.  Then I saw this one with two in stock.  We grabbed them and headed home.

Last night, Ben and I hung the rods after tearing down the old vertical blind systems.  I didn’t bother patching the holes because we don’t have paint to touch up.  That will happen when after scraping the popcorn off and repainting.  Each bracket is 10 inches outside the window trim, allowing the curtains to fully open.  Here are the new striped curtains:

I did some furniture rearranging to make opening and closing the curtains easier.  Neither window is centered on the room, which is annoying.

V’s bed is about 6 inches away from the wall now, and I turned E’s crib, putting the long side along the window wall.

I smile when I walk in there now.  Oh, and the blackout fabric makes the room super dark.  Mission accomplished.  It’s worth mentioning that the painted curtains aren’t soft and supple, but they sure are pretty.  Even Ben thinks they look cool.  That’s saying something!

I really can’t wait to get a few coats of Refined Tan on the walls, but for now the swatch will do.

How about a before and after?

One thing checked off this room’s to do list, about 846 to go.  Are you on board with the stripe trend?  Where have you added stripes to your home?  Which trend are you loving most these days?  Hate the most?

Dragonfly is the New Peacock?

It’s starting.  The era of bold, saturated color.  I fell for Benjamin Moore’s Dragonfly as soon as I saw it.  In an effort to step out of my comfort zone and go with my instincts, I decided to buy a gallon of Dragonfly, color matched in Glidden paint.  Where is this going?  I decided to test the water, um, paint in the master closet.  Boring cream walls and shelving are a perfect starting point.

I started by painting the shelf supports with Wal Mart’s bright white exterior paint.  Why?  Three reasons.  1.  It’s bright white, no need for color matching.  2.  We already had it on hand from a few mailbox touch ups.  3.  I hope exterior holds up to wear and tear better.  Back to the fun paint.  After slapping a coat of white up, I started with Dragonfly.

And I’m even more in love with it on the walls.  It’s bold, but not too bright.  Saturated, but not overwhelmingly dark.  It’s blue, it’s green, and it’s lovely.  Now I have to find time between packing and cleaning to finish what I started.  I feel confident using this on the walls of the master bedroom, too.  Happy camper, right here.

What do you think?  Is Dragonfly the new peacock?  I think we should start a trend.  Ha.

You Say Suspenseful I Say Fenceful

After this post, a lovely reader asked if we could write-up a quick post about our fence and how we made it.  Always happy to answer questions, here it is.

The fence is made up of 4 inch by 4 inch by 8 foot long posts and 2 inch by 6 inch by 16 foot long lumber from Home Depot.  Ben measured eight feet apart, used a post hole digger to make a 4 foot deep hole.  He did this for each post, 22 total on our property.  After setting each post, leaving it 4 feet above ground, we attached the 2 by 6 horizontals.  These are about 4 inches apart, for a total of five high.

We staggered the seams to keep the fence as strong as possible.  The gate took longer to finish because Ben couldn’t find strong hinges.  But, with the impending closing date looming, we knew it had to happen, sooner than later.  Ben bought a set of hinges and a latch at Home Depot.

To build the gate, Ben cut a 2 by 4 to the match the height of the horizontals.  Then, he screwed five 2 by 6 pieces, keeping the gate square as he went.

On either side of the gate we have a 4 inch square post and a 2 by 4, which is actually part of the gate.

Luckily, the hinges are perfect for the 2 by 6, so Ben installed one at the top and another on the bottom to hold the gate in place.

To protect the fence and keep it looking spiffy, we use Behr’s Solid Color Wood Stain, just like the rest of the fence.  So, that’s the simple fence we have and how to make one yourself.

Previously, we had a chain link fence, which Houdini, I mean Jack escaped from regularly.  We’re happy to report she hasn’t been able to get out of this one.  Also, this style fence can work for smaller dogs by adding 2 by 2 pieces between the 2 by 6s.

What style of fence do you have?  Why did you choose it?  To keep kids and pets in?  To keep neighbors out?