March 31, 2014

Pure Inspiration: Projects Worth Waiting For

Now that the bulk of the messy remodeling is behind us, I've shifted gears to making a plan for the various spaces in the house... and I'm making it a point to plan things meticulously before making any purchases or starting any projects.  This is hard for me.  I tend to want it all to come together right now, and then I end up going back and doing it over again to get it just right.  So.   

It's all happening by default, actually; because we realize that having an installed shower enclosure in the bathroom trumps any curtain rod hanging or picture framing.  And that having a toilet paper holder and towel bar is more important than refinishing the furniture I have a plan for or finding the perfect rugs.  To give you an idea... we have a completely finished guest room with no art on the walls and nothing but a bed and side table in there. It makes me a little itchy, but I know that things will come together in time.  Our first house guests arrive on Friday - so I wish wish wish we could have it all done by then, but... alas.  All in good time, right?

So I'm spending more time THINKING and less time DOING right now - knowing that the DOING part is going to be extra fun once I have the time to get to it.

So here are some of my inspiration photos as of late:

Now that I have a little stenciling under my belt, I'm hooked!  I am quite sold on this arrow stencil.  It's destined for somewhere in our house... I just have to decide where.  I'm torn at the moment between the master bedroom and the guest bedroom, so I'm just thinking on that for now.  But I will surely be ordering this stencil and making a date with the roller.  

And while on the hunt for inspiration for art/decor to put over the basement fireplace, I fell in love with the idea of this string art moose.  I feel like an animal theme of some sort is appropriate, but we already have a moose in the dining room, so this may inspire a future DIY of sorts, once the perfect vision strikes me.  In the meantime, I love this guy.

And for the girlies, I love this dress up closet-on-wheels for the playroom.  This is something the Mr. could whip up in a weekend, and when our 'to-do' list is lighter, I may share this inspiration photo with him.  Dress up is such a hit around here, it would help to keep it all a bit tidier! : ) 

And while we're in the playroom, I have to share this unique display idea for kiddo artwork.  I would love to create a version of this concept in the playroom, so we can have a rotating display of the girls favorite creations.  I think this is so adorable!

Still in the playroom, Big Sister has been DYING to have bunk beds.  We made the mistake of telling her that we might like to get them for the playroom, and now she asks about it often.  This modern bunk bed for kids has set the bar for me... I haven't found one that I love more... but purchasing this is a bit outside of the budget.  I'm keeping the photo, though, because I have faith that the Mr. might have something like this in his handy-hubby future.  I know he'd love the challenge, although this one is probably a few years out, realistically. 

And back in the adult spaces, I have my eye on these swiveling club chairs, which would be perfectly suited for a grown up lounge space.  Which is exactly the sort of space we have planned to connect the basement bar area and the soon-to-be home wine cellar.  We typically entertain in small groups, so I envision kids happily munching popcorn in front of a movie while the parents take a seat in this space to enjoy a cocktail and some real grown up conversation.  I cannot WAIT to make this space a reality.  All. In. Good. Time.

And so, last but not least, sources for all of these inspiration photos can be found on my Pinterest boards, here

My head spins with ideas, and yet I am paralyzed by more practical 'to-do's' (oh... and demands, like planning a 2-year old birthday party, and both Big and Baby Sister having the stomach flu).  Poor kiddos!  

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March 20, 2014

Project Update: Wall Stenciling The Playroom

Well, now that the carpet is installed in the basement... it seems all we have time for is moving and re-assembling furniture that we haven't seen in about a year, LOL!  This finished space is having a chain reaction for us.  Not only does it free up space for the girls to run around and be wild, but it also allows me a home office (and a means for being organized once again)... as well as some additional storage space that we've sorely missed.  We'll also gain the use of our garage for parking cars (*gasp*, can you imagine?!?) and that is going to be a whole new world for us come next winter.  We feel like we moved into a new house!

Much of the heavy lifting is behind us, but we still have a long way to go.  I will get around to posting photos of the rest of the spaces, but for now - here is a little glimpse of the playroom stenciling project.

I decided that I must finish this before the carpet, because I was sure that I'd spill the peanut-butter colored paint everywhere if I didn't.

The stencil went on in panels, and was marked 'beginner' skill level, which I would agree with.  If I can do this, you can surely do this!  The pattern was forgiving, and it was really pretty fun and painless to do after watching their instructional video.  We reversed the colors from our inspiration photo - and I really love how it turned out.

There was a separate stencil for the top edge, and the hardest part was being patient enough to let the wall and stencil dry between each panel. 

I was able to finish the whole wall in one day, so we completed it before the carpet (whew!)


The finished product:

And here is a larger view of the room, including the chalkboard wall, which we also primed with magnetic paint... lots of fun to be had in this room!

And really, the decorating part of this project is purely for my enjoyment.  Big Sister enjoys her new "secret forest" and Baby Sister is loving the chalk... but in the end, all they really needed was a little space to play.  

So now that the carpet is installed, coming downstairs and simply laying on the floor has become a frequent event.  And I have to admit, I've been joining in the fun.  Ahhhhh.  Carpet.

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March 9, 2014

Design Play: Basement Playroom

This moodboard is my first for the basement rooms (unless you include when I did our guest room back when it was only make-believe), and I'm SUPER excited to get started on a room downstairs.  The painters are here this week, the trim is sprayed, walls get primed tomorrow, and this final few weeks of progress are PAINFULLY slow.  

As The Mr. pointed out tonight, it's like watching paint dry (literally).  Harhar.

In any case, we will have carpet by the end of this week - just in time for a weekend full of organizing, cleaning, cleaning some more, and unpacking.  I feel like the day will never come.  So it is with much excitement and several mindless hours of fun design-play that we've come up with a plan for the play room.  Here are all the details:
1. First and most important, this is the large graphic wall we've chosen to do on one of the walls.  I hope it will set a fun and imaginative tone in the space.  It's actually a stencil (NOT WALLPAPER, HONEY) - and that makes it not only easy to change, but cheap to do (just the time and the paint)!  I love this for a number of reasons.  First, the girls are super into fairies right now, and I hope that this room will become a magical place for make-believe play.  When I showed the design to Big Sister she said, "it'll be like our secret forest, mom!"  I also love it because although it's called "Birch Forest", it reminds me of the aspen trees for which Colorado is so famous.  I found the stencil here (was inspired to search for it by the photos on this blog post) and they have LOADS to choose from, so I highly recommend browsing.

2.  I pinned this print a long while back, just in love with the sort of educational, school room vibe to it and because I liked the vibrant colors.  As it turns out, I think this will help balance out the dark black of the chalkboard wall.  Perfect!  Under 20 bucks and available here

3. Another print, this one modern and simple, and the perfect way to subtly introduce some additional hues to our palette.  Find it here.

4.  This play canopy is actually an old item from Ikea - which appears to no longer be available.  I am sure I can find something similar elsewhere.  I think this might be a favorite play spot if I can find one.  Bargain hunting I am...

5. Hobby Lobby kraft-colored wood letters. Simple, and since our girls are the "A-Team" with two A-names, this is a must have.

6. This long legged chirper had to make an appearance.  Found here.

7. Ah, the chalkboard wall.  No longer very original, but oh-so-fun!  The Mr. has sectioned off the lower 1/3 of one entire wall, and we've trimmed out the top and bottom edges.  Big Sister can create art that's larger than life, and Baby Sister (not such a baby anymore) can practice her coloring skills.  We are using magnetic primer paint on ours as well - so they can play with magnetic letters and the like.  We have already started, and I was actually a little worried about this project.  I've been reading about a lot of DIYs gone wrong over this... hopefully we won't be another statistic. 

Here are a couple of pictures of our progress.  We started with freshly shaken magnetic primer, and we have sticking magnets after just three coats!  So far, so good... we're waiting for the last coat of primer to dry, and then we'll do the chalkboard paint over the top.

Someone was very excited (and silly!) about the new wall...

And the next morning, these two had to come test out the dried magnet primer first thing.  This bed-head shot is a winner, doncha think?!

8.  So, with a wall-length chalkboard wall, The Mr. kindly pointed out that we need to protect our new carpet from the constant sprinkling of colored dust.  This rug was an Overstock find - long enough to run the length of the wall (nearly) and the perfect color for our palette.

9. And this?  This was the print that started the whole thing rolling.  Reference my print-spired post if you want to see how much I love this print by Paula Lukey Designs (here).  Love, love, love, love, love.  :)

10. Pillow talk.  Yes, I know.  I have too many of these already.  But this one was only offered as a PILLOW.  Not a cover.  Oops.  Here.

11. Let me set the stage for you.  We opted for a natural fiber (wool) carpet throughout the basement, which was a bit of a splurge.  We also selected a neutral (light) color to keep things bright.  

Now remember, this is the playroom we're talking about.  A room for these little monsters:

Cute? Yes. (I'm biased). Clean and tidy?  No.  And so... for that, there is this:


We will be introducing a large (dark) area rug to protect all that new carpet.  At least the majority of it.  This one is the most gorgeous color - not really olive, but not a forest green circa 1990 either.  I am really happy with this purchase.  Overstock.

12. Ikea storage baskets.  These come in a variety of sizes.  I am attracted to these mostly because they store kids things without being made of plastic.

13.  Ikea coffee table (which I envision as a kids craft table - with storage below for paper, art supplies, etc.) The great thing is that it will live on as a practical piece of furniture for years to come. Here.

14.  Ikea wicker childrens chairs that we've had forever.  You can still get them here.

15.  Okay.  Can we look at this together for a moment?  Meet Mod Cow.  I love him.  I opted for him in a clock format, but he's available as a print, a pillow cover, a hoodie... you name it.  He is awesome.

You can make friends with your own mod cow here.


16. I think we're also going to paint some of this accent color above the chalkboard wall.  This particular swatch is Sherwin Williams "Cloudburst".  

17. This fabric(found here) is a nice simple and modern take on the polka dot - and I'm hoping to transform it into a pillow cover for some bench seating.  I'm imagining the kiddos spending some serious time down here (especially when we have friends over) so there will need to be a place for the grown ups to sit down while they go nuts.  : ) 

18. This Ikea shelf will be placed length-wise on the floor - for practical storage as well as a place for cushion-top seating.

19.  This is the same little toadstool that we used in Baby Sister's nursery, and I think it will be great in the playroom.  This works as an ottoman, a stool and a seat.  Overstock.

 Go Be It. Throw Pillow
Go Be It. Throw Pillow
Go Be It. Throw Pillow
20. And last but not least, one of my favorite little details for the space.  From the amazing website, which is full of art prints which can be converted to everything from throw pillows to shower curtains and Iphone cases, this sentiment is exactly the message I'm hoping to convey in the space.  Girls:  Decide what to be; then go be it.  Go nuts! 
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March 6, 2014

Quickie Post: Hanging Air Plant Terrariums

The projects and ideas are swirling around me, and I find it hard to figure out where to begin blog-wise.  So I'm starting a new type of post, which I'm dubbing the "quickie".  Sharing of photos, but not much otherwise.  For when I'm excited about a project but don't have time to spill all the details.  So here goes!

Air plants.  Terrariums.  The most amazing plant store discovered.  I'm in love with PLANTS today and I'm so excited to have a new basement to fill with foliage.  First up... assembling hanging air plant terrariums.  These are destined for a sunny window in the new guest bathroom.  Can't wait to show you these once they are floating in their new home!

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March 3, 2014

Print Inspired Color Palette: "Banana Leaf" by Paula Lukey Design

I am having LOADS of fun coming up with our paint colors and thinking about how we want to arrange and decorate the basement.  First things first, we're going to have to figure out a way to keep the kiddos busy during all the hours it's going to require to get our house back in order (ah-hem... and to unpack all those boxes that we have piled up in the garage).

So... naturally,  I am starting with the playroom design (insert large grin).  It's great starting completely from scratch; like a giant white canvas.  I found this print on Etsy, and fell instantly in love with it.  Not only for it's modern, nature-inspired theme of banana leaves, but also for the colors. 


Isn't it lovely?  I'm a big fan of this print, and look forward to seeing the room come together around these colors.   You can find this print (and so many other modern, bold, graphic prints) at Paula Lukey Design's Etsy page.  Here is another one that I just LOVED:

Bali Beauty Art Print - 8x10

Her prints are so unique and affordable, too.  The Banana Leaf print is under 20 bucks!  I've got some fun ideas cookin' for practical storage and imaginative play in this room... and of course I have a mood board to help me map it all out.  I have lots of fun zoning out and planning the details of it all... and hunting for affordable options to get the look we want.

For now, we at least have our color scheme: 

I added in the kraft brown color to bring in some more warmth, and because we have a lot of items already (like wicker kid chairs and a beige-y Love Sac) that will bring that color into the space.  

I'm excited to put it all together, and the Mr. and I even have a large-format graphic planned for one wall (though not wallpaper, since we all know how he feels about that).  I guess I can't blame him after all of the hours spent removing it when we renovated the main floor!

So anyway, I'm cooking up a fun, kid-centric space that will be eye-pleasing for the grown ups, too. To be continued...

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March 2, 2014

Project Progress: The Basement - Then And Now

It's a little overwhelming to try to blog about our basement progress, because it's all over the place, and seemingly all at once.  We're up to our eyeballs in decisions about paint colors, fixtures, etc. and it's all coming together (finally!)

So just for fun, I thought I'd pull out the original photos of our house when we bought it, and do a little then-and-now.  Anyone who knew this basement in it's prior condition would not recognize it!

Nice to see a (two+ year) project finally coming to fruition...

Believe it or not, this dungeon-y library is now opened up on one side, and brightened up with a new window and much less DARK wood.  This is the same angle now:

We were so excited to find that the room could open up on the left side (you can now walk through the whole basement in a large circle, where before it was one-way-in, one-way-out to the back bedrooms.  I love what this has done for the functionality of the floor plan.  It would be much easier to compare and contrast that back wall if there weren't a REFRIGERATOR standing in the middle of the room, but you get the idea.  And in our defense, we just can't bear to pitch a good fridge (it came with the house!), and we have plans to use it to store our extra garden produce (and maybe beer) in the storage room. 

Here is a slightly better angle, looking through what used to be a wall of dark bookcases.

Looking the other direction in the former dungeon-library, you'd have found this:

I actually really like this shot because it shows how it was sectioned off into a little room of it's own.  We have since removed that wall you see on the right - and blown it open into one big living space.  Here's looking at the fireplace wall now:

And from another angle (which used to be blocked by a wall, I might add):


Here is the best (original) shot I have of looking toward the back of the house (with a tiny door to an under-porch storage room).  That was then...

This is now (from further back).  We installed a heavy duty door, because it marks the entrance to what we hope will one day be our wine room.

If you really want to know our secrets, here is a glimpse inside the storage room.  Then:

And now:


This is SO utterly embarrassing.  But it's reality.  And proof that we have not improved all of the spaces in the house. This is why renovating has started to make me a little bit batty.  After moving things from room to room for the umpteenth time, and then having contractors move things... we just gradually (shoved) moved everything into this tiny room.  And we can find exactly nothing.

But that's all about to change.  Did I mention that we are two weeks away from carpet?!?  I cannot WAIT to get myself organized again.

On a brighter note, we took some advantage of the plumbing from the old laundry area...

And we are turning it into our wet bar/kitchenette.  We plan to do some fun things in this space, but I'll save those details for another post.  We ordered our cabinets last week (!!) and we should have those ready to install shortly after we get the carpet in.

The sheer quantity of wood paneling that we removed from this basement must have broken some sort of record. I posted about it way back here.  Just LOOK at this difference!

And here is a shot looking back from that room toward the fireplace room (if you can see it beyond our construction debris).  It's hard to really explain how much went into opening this space up... but just know that at least three awkward little rooms were put out of their misery to allow this new open floor plan.

 Heading toward the back rooms, we can see some pretty major updating in the bathroom.  That was then:

And this is now:

We have tried to stay somewhat true to the era of the house (early 60s) - and I love how clean and modern this bathroom feels now.  I can't wait to see it with the paint we've chosen to help set off the white tile and cabinetry. 

The main bedroom (then):

And now, complete with legal egress window (though taken at night, it's very nice and bright during the day!):

 And this funky corner of that room (which also leads into the bathroom) is going to become a great desk corner for the new guest room. 

We are SO excited to have our guest space back in action (and our guests back in comfort).  Yipee!

In the WAY back of the original basement, there was a HUGE rec room with a kitchenette:

 We opted to finish this space into two separate rooms.  The first (corresponding to the first photo above) will be our new his-and-hers home office.  We changed out the small window for a second legal egress window, and since this one is south facing, we have amazing light in here all day long.  I have never been looking so forward to filing papers.  Our office furniture and filing cabinets for my real estate business have been stashed in our garage for longer than I'd care to remember. 

 The second space (replacing the part of the original room with the kitchenette) will become a play room for the girls - and I'm looking forward to being able to say "go downstairs!" when they get too rambunctious, which is usually right in the middle of the kitchen, and right in the middle of cooking dinner.  Funny the things I'm looking forward to, eh?  Filling paperwork and telling the girls to go downstairs.  Lol!

The playroom should be a fun space to decorate.  We're going to free up lots of space in their bedrooms by moving games and things to this room - and they will also have a little room of their own under the stairs, which I think we're going to turn into a reading room.  I've been filing ideas away and am looking forward to displaying some of the girls' artwork down here!

So... there ya have it.  A whirlwind update of the crazy projects we've been up to.  I will look forward to posting as we continue to see progress.  The painters come on Monday, so we have one more day to finalize our colors.   Should be fun!

Stay tuned...

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