Wednesday, November 30, 2011

House Colors

One of the projects we've budgeted for in 2012 is getting our house painted. It has been kind of fun to point out houses with exterior paint color combinations we like as we drive around town. Olive green and cream has been a recent consensus between Chris and I.
Like the house above, our house has dark windows & mullions (looks like this house has black ones. Ours are dark brown). So we'll need to choose paint colors that work well with dark brown.

Choosing exterior paint colors is such a big decision! Good thing we have plenty of time to "research".

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Little Light on the Subject

I'm driving myself a little crazy choosing lighting for the family room. What will best achieve the eclectic modern-traditional vibe (aka Beacon Hill Brownstone Chic) I'm looking for?  right now it is feeling a bit more "Beacon Hill" than "Chic". 

Here's a reminder of our blank canvas. (Note that the lamps and side tables in this picture are temporary.)

Do I go with something really modern? 
This arc lamp could go in the far left corner, and task lamps like these could go on each of the side tables that Chris is making

For a look that is a bit sleek and sophisticated like this:
Lonny Nov/Dec 2011
Or, I could go super traditional and pick up a pair of antique alabaster lamps that I saw at an antique store recently. 
With black shades they'd look timeless.
Little Green Notebook
Could I still use the arc lamp with the alabaster lamps?
Decisions, decisions... I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Side Tables, Sword Chairs, and Swords, Oh My!

Over the weekend, Chris set out to the lumberyard to purchase wood for the side tables he's building for our family room. If you recall, we're going for something like this:
Crate and Barrel
Cost Plus World Market
He selected mahogany.
And while I spent the weekend on the couch nursing a cold,  Chris spent the weekend in his workshop sawing up boards into smaller boards.
 Are you as curious as I am to see how he's going to turn this lumber into an actual table???
No pressure, honey :)

In other family room furniture related news, my in-laws sent me an antique corner chair that once belonged to Chris's grandmother. (Thanks Renee and Jim!) 
 When I described it to my mom over the phone, she said it sounded like a "sword chair". As in, a chair men who carried swords could sit in.

Incidentally, Chris's parents also sent us an antique sword in the same package, but I'm pretty sure there's no connection...
We have the perfect little corner for the chair next to the fireplace.
No idea where the sword is going to go...
 I rather like the gold finish of the chair and I think it suits the room, although glossy black would look rather striking against the eventual grasscloth covered walls. At the very least, I'd like to recover the seat cushion. I think it needs something as fun and quirky as the chair itself...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Science Experiment

Thanks to everyone who offered their advice for my propagating hydrangea. I decided to try potting some indoors and planting some outside to see which method best survives winter.

We'll just have to wait and see what happens...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thrifting Fun

Like a itch that needs to be scratched, I just couldn't stay away from my favorite consignment shop for very long. This time, I took Chris and the truck with me to avoid the dilemma I faced last time I went.
A couple of things caught our eye.

The top of this $60 server opens and extends and there's great storage inside. It would be pretty after it was painted.

 This $12 ottoman would have been a good match to the wingback we put in our master bedroom. If only I had fabric leftover to get it reupholstered...

Loved this $23 funky chrome and vinyl chair. Just don't have a place for it.
Interestingly, I saw one identical to it selling at an antique store for $65.

These matching end tables made me pause. If Chris didn't already have plans to make some for the family room, they probably would have come home with us. $46 for both.

 The red leather top is so Beacon Hill Brownstone Chic!

Of course the day I came prepared (husband, cash, truck) is the day I didn't see anything worth taking home, but better to be safe than sorry!
What great thrifting finds have you taken home with you lately?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hot House is in the Hizzouse!

It felt like Christmas came early when I received the Hot House Flowers pillows that I'd been longing for since last summer.

 I love how it looks on the new chair.
I purchased these from Etsy seller, Marley Material, specifically because the pattern was on both sides of the pillow cover (for the same price that others were charging for just one side!).

Since there was leftover Betwixt fabric from the chair, I asked my upholsterer to make two lumbar pillows for the couch.
 I absolutely do not want my dogs to make a habit of napping on these pillows, but Harry looked so cozy and peaceful that I didn't have the heart to disturb him :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shopping for Inspiration

Last weekend was one of the first weekends in a long time that Chris and I were able to relax and have some fun instead of working on the family room. It was so nice! While we were out having lunch, I made Chris go with me to one of my favorite home stores, Butterfield, where I saw this Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams chair.
 I can't remember the price exactly, just that it was 20% off expensive.

I told Chris that they'll look just amazing in our someday dining room...

Sorry, I don't have a source for these images...anyone know?
To which he replied that upholstered dining chairs just aren't practical because of food stains.
I told him they are very practical for people who don't spill food while they are eating. Duh!

In the event that we don't win the lottery before we renovate our dining room, we'll be choosing a less expensive chair.
Like this $239 version from the Home Decorator's Collection.
Here's another option. $299.

This $219 version would work also. Especially since there's a turquoise fabric option available.

This one has a great pull ring on the back like in the inspiration photo. $149.

Or this one from Ballard Designs ($578-$815 depending on fabric choice).
Too bad the dining room reno is at the bottom of our list of priorities.
Then again, that gives me plenty of time to sell Chris on the idea of upholstered chairs...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Remote Magic

 I remember the first time my parents brought home a TV that had a remote control. We called the remote a "clicker" and it was attached to the TV with a long cord. Before then, our television looked like the one in this photo, and the only way I could change the channel without getting up was to make my little brother do it (sorry buddy).

 Technology has obviously come a long way. In fact, it is enabling us to store all the TV components, including the cable box, in a closed door cabinet behind the TV wall and still use the remote.
 A lot of people have asked me how we'll be able to do this. As far as I'm concerned, it will happen magically, so I'll let Chris explain...

It is called an IR repeater or extender.  Essentially we put one sensor behind the TV that acts just like the sensor that the TV has.  When you use the remote, that signal is taken from the sensor (via a cable through the wall) and back to the central unit.  That unit has extenders that essentially do the opposite of the first one on the wall and they broadcast the signal that the first IR sensor picked up and broadcast it to the AV equipment inside the cabinet.  There is also a PS3 module that receives IR signals from the remote and converts those to Bluetooth so that the PS3 can run off of the same single sensor at the TV.  The photo below shows the TV area sensor (the small black box) hidden right behind the TV.

See? Magic!
 By the way, here's what the cabinetry in our butler's pantry looks like with the inside painted black. I had originally thought I'd need to cover the glass with fabric or wallpaper, but the black paint so completely disguises the TV components that I won't have to.
 Before, with white paint.
 After, painted black with all the components inside.


Based on some questions with regard to types of IR transmitters and what I used, here are some links to the products:

The Extender Kit is The IR Extender Kit from Logitech:

This kit has everything you need to connect multiple devices to the main "receiver" point hidden near the front of your TV.   You could use all of your existing remotes with this device, it just transmits the signal through.  One comment asked if you could turn everything off at once, which would be unlikely unless you had a "learning" remote for your TV/Cable Box/Satellite that could handle all of your devices.

Because of this I chose to buy a universal remote so we have one remote for everything.  I picked the Logitech Harmony One:

I would rate the remote 3/5 stars due to a difficult setup and cheap feel.  The IR extender gets high marks, very easy to set up, 5/5 stars.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Base Layer

Ever watch one of those home decorating shows on TV where the homeowner sees their half finished room and starts freaking out because it is not at all what they were expecting? Then the decorator calmly and confidently says "trust me, it will look beautiful when it is finished". Of course, by the end of the show, everything does come together perfectly and the result is a gorgeous new room and very happy homeowners.

Well...we're at that "half finished" stage in our family room.
 The large pieces of furniture are in place (the lamps and side tables are temporarily borrowed from another room).
 But we're still waiting on the pillows and other accessories.
And of course the wallpaper. Without the wallpaper, we can't hang drapes or any artwork.

It is a strange feeling to be both the skeptical homeowner and the confident "decorator"...
Though I can honestly say that there are things that I already love about this room, so I'm breathing a sigh of relief. It is pretty cool to finally begin to realize the vision that has been in my head for so long!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Accidental Propagation

We have a beautiful hydrangea in our backyard. In the early summer, its blooms were bright blue. As summer continued, the blue blooms started to mellow out, turning celadon green or periwinkle then eventually purple.  It provided enough blooms all summer to fill the vase on my desk with fresh flowers every week or so.
 A couple days ago I noticed the vase of hydrangeas on my desk hadn't had to be refreshed in a while. In fact, not since the beginning of SEPTEMBER. The petals were still soft and firm, so I figured I should at least add some fresh water to the vase. That's when I noticed that the roots had started to propagate!
I can barely keep a cactus alive, so how was I able to magically propagate hydrangeas without even trying?
Even more importantly, now what do I do?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Surprise Inside

Since I already had the trim paint out to paint the family room, I thought I might as well finish up some unfinished business in our mudroom.
We completed the mudroom "mini makeover" back in June, with the exception of painting  inside the little bench seat. That's right, the little seat opens for storage. Too bad it was so gross. No way would I store anything in there!
 With a little vacuuming and white paint, however, it wasn't looking so bad anymore.
 But I can do better than white paint...
Tell me this isn't a perfect spot for stashing away hats and gloves?
 Just in time too! Who would have thought we'd get snow and need hats and gloves so early in the season?!?
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