Tuesday, August 25, 2009

updates of decorating ideas

I cashed in my AmEx points for Home Depot gift cards and am going to splurge on Ralph Lauren paint. From what I've read, it's much better than Behr and it's a heck of a lot more convenient for me than Benjamin Moore.
Living room: Have decided to go with a more turquoise blue. Believe it is Blue Island.

Upstairs bathroom: Light Sky

Powder room: Harbor

Kitchen: Racer Pink

Woodwork: Picket Fence

Bedroom: ordered a magenta coverlet from Crate and Barrel and it should arrive tomorrow. I still don't know what color to paint the walls, but I do know that I don't want to keep my current soft blue duvet. And I'm not so sure that a bold color is right for the walls. I'm leaning towards either a sunshiney cream or maybe a cameo-ish pink. Something soft and more like the morning light. And even if I don't like the coverlet, at least it will get me further down the road of figuring out what I DO like!

Living room: bought a mirror for $25 yesterday at Ross! Super excited about this. It's a bit oversized but not huge and a square-ish rectangle. Very simple black frame and a 1/2" bevel around the edge. Figure I'll put it up as is for now, but maybe will paint or silverleaf it in the future? And if I don't like it there, I'll just put it somewhere else. It's so simple and basic and cheap!

Dining room: think I've decided to go with the Martin chairs from Ikea. I'm going to head over there this weekend to try them out and, if I like them in person, to buy 4. My original plan was to buy unfinished chairs and either stain or paint them, but really - I'm never going to get around to that and in the meantime the chairs will get all beat up. I like that these are black - I think it will be a nice graphic element for the room and I really like that they stack. Because they really aren't my ideal chair, but they'll work for now. And then once I do get my ideal chair, I can stack these up in the attic and just pull them out when I need extra seating.
Fingers crossed that they're comfortable!

And I really want a new dining table. I have one from Ikea that I bought 11 years ago to use as more of a desk. It's unfinished and I need to stain or paint it, but it's fine. It seats 4 people but is a rectangle so there's room for my larger plates and serving dishes.

But what I reeeeally want is a dropleaf table. The middle section would be wide enough so I and one other person could have a simple meal with it closed, but the sides would come all the way down so it looked more like a sideboard. Then I could open up the sides and it would seat 6-8 people for a dinner party or to play a board game or whatever. I've found several on ebay that are going for between $600 - 1,000 so this is definitely something I need to save up for. And, of course, check out local shops and craigslist. But I'm excited to know it's out there!

adventures in wallpaper removal

Wallpaper is GONE from my living room! I'm so excited. Anne came over on the 15th to help me remove the sage green scroll wallpaper the former owner had put up on one wall of my little house.

It's perfectly fine wallpaper and matched the sage green on the other walls - but both are just so not me. It had to come down. Neither of us had ever dealt with wallpaper before, but Anne had seen an HGTV show where they used a Paper Tiger and thought it was the coolest thing ever.


And she offered/demanded to help several times so in my book, that makes her an expert. I also looked up instructions on doityourself.com and thisoldhouse.com and made a list.

I picked Anne up from the metro at 9am and headed to Home Depot. I had my list and we were focused so we were in and out in supa quick. We stopped at The Bagel Place for breakfast and still started our work at 10:30am.

Anne scored the walls with the Paper Tiger while I attempted to remove that shelf. That didn't work out so well as some of the screws are stripped so I decided to just worry about it later. We sprayed the wall with Dif and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. We got the spray bottle because it's only one wall and it was a heck of a lot easier than having to pour out into a tray and then roll on. It really is more like a gel and didn't drip at all. Kinda weird how the droplets would just sit there on the wall.

And - it didn't do anything.

We then realized that we were dealing with vinyl wallpaper and needed to first strip down the top layer. Not the Dif's fault. So we tore down the outer layer and that came off pretty easily except for a section where the new wall for the powder room meets the living room wall.

We started spraying down the wall with the rest of the Dif, but we were running out. Didn't feel like going all the way back to Home Depot so we decided to see if Target carried it. Anne had to get a new water filter anyway, so this made a lot of sense. Of course, Target did not carry Dif, but I remembered that dishwashing soap and liquid fabric softener were also recommended removal agents so we decided we'd try those and then on the way back, we stopped at Subway to get lunch.

By the time we got back, the small amount of Dif we had applied had dried. I mixed up a bucket of water and Dawn and we applied it with awesome extra large sponges from Home Depot.


And this worked so well! We just sponged on the mixture and while the paper was still damp, peeled it off. I used a scraper designed for use with wallpaper and LOVED it, while Anne prefered using a regular drywall knife. Usually we were able to just scrape the edges and then peel away the paper in long strips. In the picture below, the white section is drywall, the beige is the paper.

The random bits by the green wall were still being stubborn even after wetting it several times and trying to scrape with both the wallpaper scraper and the drywall knife. We managed to scrape away almost all of it and then I just scrunched the last 1/4" into the crack that was already there. There was a piece of molding hiding the crack so I figure I'll just put that back up. Problem solved.
By 2pm, we were completely finished!

We also discovered that the previous owners had tried out some decorative painting before going with the wallpaper. Kinda funny. Mid-process we wondered if the Dif was ruining the wall, but no, it was just where they tried ragging and sponging the sage green.

Next up: painting!

Friday, August 14, 2009

powder room ideas

The 1st floor powder/laundry room was only built out in the Spring, right before the old owner put the house on the market. So it's all bright and new and shiny - and WHITE. Walls are white, fixtures are white, washer/dryer is white. The floors are a very nice fake wood so that breaks it up a bit, but still.

So I'm going to paint the walls navy. And the ceiling.

I'm really excited about this - I see small rooms painted dark colors all the time in magazines and design houses and blogs and now I get to try it out myself.

I think the navy will look very crisp against all of the white and will make the room cozy and warm.

And I definitely want to do the ceiling. Dark walls with white ceilings make me feel like the room's underwear is showing.

I actually convinced my mother to paint her dining room ceiling the same sage green as the walls and it's just gorgeous. You forget just how small and awkward the room is because the color is unbroken.

Though I do plan on leaving the molding white, which hopefully will give the room the same feel as this brown and cream one.

Then I'll add some shelves above the toilet and put overflow vases and platters up there for decoration and storage. It's all about finding extra storage in this house!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

weekend projects

I'm so excited - this weekend my friend, Anne, is coming out to help me strip the wallpaper in my living room. And then on Sunday, I think I'm going to start painting. This is the first weekend where I haven't had any activities in months and I'm so freaking excited to get started on the house! Yay!

Monday, August 3, 2009

living room ideas

Walls: Bright, clear, dark sky blue. The color of a perfect summer sky.

Floor: rug in sisal, jute or pale wool.
At first, I was very anti-rug. But I like to slide my coffee table closer and further away from the couch and want to protect my floors. I will probably have two rugs - one in the living area and one in the dining area.

Couch: slipcovered in natural or white. Ideally I’d get something new and a little higher than my current couch, even though I am attached to it for sentimental reasons. But I don't want to get just anything so a slipcover will do for now.

Accent chairs: Current is a wicker armchair, but it’s a bit too large. I’d like to get two matching chairs that are a bit smaller. Recliners would be awesome as then they’d be good for when I have guests over to watch TV, but the overall scale would have to be on the small side.
(no picture - need to research this more)

Dining table: I assembled my old Ikea unfinished dining table and there’s plenty of room for it. Like I could also have a corner cabinet and there’d still be plenty of room. But I don’t know if I should get a corner cabinet or if I should get a larger dining table. I do know I need to wait a bit until I decide if I am getting different accent chairs or a different couch or both. I do like the idea of a drop-leaf table, like the Pottery Barn Shayne table in white with stained wood chairs:

Or the Crate and Barrel Trestle in dark wood, maybe with gray wicker chairs:
Of course, that would be if I didn’t have my current wicker chair in the living room. Otherwise it would be just too much wicker.

While I wait, I think I’m going to get some cheap chairs from Ikea and stain those and the table the same brown.

Sideboard: something large, wood and a bit rugged. I definitely want enclosed doors so I don’t have to worry about making sure my platters and such are attractively arranged. I want to be able to just stuff it all in and keep it dust-free.

TV stand: more of a dining room buffet, but with sliding doors so I can keep them open without worrying about someone running into it. I’m not really sure if I want something with glass doors or solid. Probably glass to balance the sideboard since they’re kinda along the same wall.
Art: My mom is giving me one of her antique quilts – it was made by a great-aunt or great-grandmother or some other great-ancestor. If I’m remembering correctly, it’s a gorgeous quilt made out of silks in blues and purples. I am going to hang it behind the TV to help make the focal point of that nook not the TV itself and to add a different type of art to the room.

Behind the couch, I am going to do a gallery wall. I have four paintings by my grandfather that I just love and in previous places have scattered them throughout. But this time, I am going to buy a mirror to center above the couch and then cluster the paintings around it. Will also add one or two of my assorted decorative salad plates, maybe a smaller painting or framed photograph, maybe a vase on a very small shelf. But it will be something that will grow with time and eventually take over the entire wall.

I might add another mirror to the dining area wall that faces the windows. It will help reflect the light and the view and expand the space. And I love mirrors. I don't like overly ornate frames around pictures, but I adore them around mirrors. It might be mirror-overkill since the space isn't that large to begin with, but I do think I'll at least try it.


I really like the light in my house. At night, there's a streetlight in the middle of my court that looks like the moon through my curtains. In my bedroom, another streetlight casts shadows from the trees on the wall. The morning light comes through my bathroom window and lets me see if I've put on too much blush. And downstairs gets such a nice glow, even when the shades are down.

This was one of my biggest concerns about my house. My Adams Morgan apartment had huge windows and let in all of the beautiful afternoon sun. Some of my favorite times in that place were weekend afternoons when I would take a nap with the sun streaming in. It made me feel like I was on vacation. My new little house has standard sized windows, is a middle unit and just never feels all that sunny. But I really think the quality of the light is better, especially in the morning and evening, which is when I'm home the most.