Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

5 Minute Makeover: Floor Lamp

Just about everyone I know has owned this lamp at some point in their lives. It’s functional, definitely does the job, but it’s not so chic.

That was until last week, when I scored a sweet deal (free) on this simple drum shade. Presto, our blah lamp all of the sudden looks somewhat sophisticated!

Of course now I have the renovation bug and I’m dreaming up colors to paint the stem and fabrics to cover the shade a la Room and Board style. Alas 5 minutes is all I have so we’ll save that for another day.

What are some of your favorite 5-minute fixes? Who wants to weigh in on the paint color? Yellow? Bronze? White? What shall a girl do?


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18 Days of Advent

Last week Laura shared her advent-ure and today, our dear friend bo shares about her and her husband Tim’s first Christmas tradition.
Sometimes you get to be the most creative in the middle of a project when things aren’t going well. In this project, for instance, my poor math skills were the problem. I was so excited to make this advent calendar as a way that my new husband, Tim, and I would celebrate the Christmas season, that I miscalculated the number of days that would fit on the bulletin boards. (I thought 6 x 3 = 24, but as you math scholars know, 8 x 3 = 24.)

So, my creative solution to this problem was to celebrate 18 days of Advent. We are starting on day 7, and every day we get to hang an ornament on the tree.
I also wanted my Advent calendar to be more than a count down to Christmas, I wanted to actually prepare my heart and mind for Jesus’ birth. (I usually don’t think about how Jesus fits into the candy canes and mistletoe until Christmas Eve.) I took 18 Old Testament prophesies of Christ and stuffed them in wax paper envelopes with patterned paper covering them. So every day I get to anticipate Jesus’ birth just like the Jews did who awaited their Messiah. –Sara bo Laehn

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Weekend paint transformation

After agonizing over paint colors and painting swatches on the wall, we finally painted the living room and dining room. We did the living room on a rainy afternoon/evening and I did the dining room a few weeks later. We could have knocked both rooms out in one weekend, but it worked to split it up.

We opted to spend a little more and go with Benjamin Moore’s Natura line. It was definitely worth it! You literally could not smell it at all, and the coverage was great. We actually ended up with an extra gallon of paint and will probably end up using it in the hallway and our bathroom.

Adam and I were a great team. He took the roller and I went did the detail work around the windows, baseboards and trim. He didn’t know what he was getting into when we started. We were finishing up the first coat and feeling pretty good about how things were looking. I said, “It’s really going to look great with a second coat.” He paused, and said, “but we won’t do that today.” I told him, actually we would be doing a second coat that day. He was a good sport, but he didn’t mind that I painted the dining room myself a few weeks later. (more…)

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Hanging pictures

Does anyone else start off with grand plans of a perfect wall of hung photos and end up throwing in the towel after one picture is up?

I have been waiting to hang these prints from West Elm (they’re on sale now if you’re interested!) since we moved into our house in February. First one of them was back ordered ’til August, and then I didn’t want to hang them until after we painted – no sense in getting them hung perfectly only to have to do it all over again! So the walls were painted and it was finally time to hang them.

My first step was arranging them on the floor to get them just right.

Then I got out the tape measure and started measuring. This is where things get complicated.

I measured the width of the wall and the height and figured out where the center was. I’ve read how you should get a big piece of craft paper and lay your frames on it and trace around them, then use that layout to hang them, but that seemed complicated too – and I didn’t have any craft paper.

When, I had everything measured, we checked the back of the frames and of course they have 2 hooks. So rather than being able to find the center of the frame and call it good, I had to measure again! About this time one of those laser picture hanging tools is sounding pretty good.

Eventually we got the first picture hung. Adam is so patient with me, one of the many reasons I married him. But I could tell his patience was wearing thin. So rather than go back to my careful measures, we started eyeballing the pictures, measuring a little to make sure the edges were the same distance apart.

The perfectionist in me knows that they aren’t perfect. When I mentioned this to Adam, his response was classic. He said it lets people know we’re human. I can live with that!

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Picking paint, part 2

Last week I shared about the process of narrowing down paint colors for our living and dining room. Once I had narrowed the options down to 7 shades of blue/gray it was time to test it on the walls. I knew the best way to see what the color would look like was to buy some samples and paint.

We ended up using Benjamin Moore paint, so I headed to our neighborhood Ace Hardware armed with a list of colors. Unfortunately they only had one of the colors available in a sample size. So I checked around and discovered that the Woodsmith Store will mix any Benjamin Moore color as a sample. I think they were $4 each. Not bad!

Then I painted, labeled, and waited for it to dry. As you can see from the photo, the colors were all pretty similar, but having the colors on the wall to compare made me feel much more confident about buying several gallons of paint! One of the colors, a honey yellow, looked great on the swatch, but totally different on the wall. (more…)

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Picking paint

When we moved into our house in February there was nothing that had to be changed right away. But I knew I wanted to paint the living room and dining room. They were the same celery yellow color. At first, I didn’t mind it, but the longer we lived in the space, the more I didn’t like it.

The living room faces south, but there are two pine trees and a huge oak in the front yard that shade the house (which is great), but that means the room doesn’t get very much natural light.

I know paint is one of the easiest updates for a room, but picking paint is hard! For months, every time we went to a hardware store I stopped by the paint samples and picked some samples to bring home and tape to the wall.

My first instinct was that I wanted to warm up the room with a taupey brown. Adam wasn’t a fan, and eventually I started to agree with him. Any more brown would make the room feel even darker.

Then I moved on to shades of gray, but they just didn’t look right with the warm woodwork and floors. That was the hardest part, finding a color that complemented the wood.

Laura and Becca were in Des Moines in August and Laura brought her Benjamin Moore paint swatches. We literally spent hours playing with the colors! One of the benefits of working with a professional designer is that they have access to all the colors for a specific brand. Lucky for me, Laura used to work with an interior design firm in LA and still has the swatches!

We had a great time bounce ideas off of each other and trying lots of options. Adam tried to be interested, and we agreed on the colors in the end, but he admitted, he didn’t want to look at 100s of options. Finally I narrowed down the color to a sagey blue/green.

Next week I’ll post on how we narrowed it down to 7 colors that we tested on the wall.

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