Wednesday, April 16, 2014

5 Inexpensive Spring Updates for your Porch & Patio

It may be a little too early to plant all your window boxes or add annuals to your landscaping, but it's not too early to brighten up your porch or patio for the spring.

Here are 5 quick and relatively inexpensive ways to add some bang to your porch without breaking the bank. 

1. Spray Paint Tired Planters.
No need to buy new when you can spray paint your pots back to life. Here are some planters with pattern, color and texture that pop!  

In addition to painting your pots, think about using plants that will look good the entire year. I use small boxwoods in my large porch planters that stay outside all year long. If your planter is large enough, they should stay mostly green all year - even in the harshest of winters. We got 80" of snow this winter but these babies stayed green all year! Here are my pots "before" their makeover. 

2. Use Moss.
Dress window boxes and smaller planters with moss until you can plant flowers or foliage. This stuff grows anywhere and it looks much better than a box of dirt. 

Moss will also transition from season to season. In the spring with bulbs to the winter with bare branches. 

3.  Hang A Wreath.
You can DIY or buy a simple wreath with some color just to brighten the space. Here is a DIY wreath made of painted, leaf shaped paper. 

4. Update Outdoor Pillows. 
You don't have to buy expensive outdoor pillows to spruce up your patio or deck. These are made of inexpensive burlap and fabric paint. 

And for those of you who don't sew on a regular basis, Ashley fom The Handmade Home recommends the ease of a hand held sewing machine. It is great for quick sewing jobs like making pillows, adding detail to curtains and hemming pants. 

Here are two indoor/outdoor fabrics I found on for under $10/yard!

For those who have a sewing machine, here is a great tutorial on  how to make outdoor pillows with a zipper.

5. Paint A Rug. 
You can DIY your own outdoor rug with painter's tape, porch & deck paint, and a canvas drop cloth. Simply sew the edges of a canvas drop cloth to your desired size and create a design using painter's tape. You can sew a rug gripper to the back of the drop cloth for added weight if you want. 

Or skip the tape and use a stencil on a sisal rug to create your design. 

And for the bold and daring, paint a rug right onto your concrete using a stencil. For a complete tutorial, click here.

I will be incorporating some of these ideas in my own front porch later this week. . . that is, after the snow melts!

Happy Creating! {Erin}

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Type A timelines and "to do" lists.

The good news is that the birds were chirping when my alarm clock very rudely interrupted my dreams this morning. Chirping birds must mean that we are getting close to spring, right? And more importantly, the end of the school year! T-minus eight weeks and the kiddos are home full-time. The nearing of this calendar event brings two categories of feelings: the first is excitement to have the summer nearing and a less rigorous schedule to abide by. The second feeling is total panic! There are still so many projects I want to finish before the two-and-a-half month blur known as summer starts! 

So I thought I'd share a few of the "to do" projects on the list in hopes that by putting them in writing, I will feel an overwhelming need to actually get them all done! I'm a little bit type A. A list maker, a list crosser-offer. So this is my online list and I'm hoping to get them all crossed off in the next eight weeks. 

I am still working on our den that I posted about a few weeks ago. So I guess that is 
No. 1 on the list. 

No. 2. Remember my son's room makeover that I posted about in February? Well, what I didn't show you was his dresser that didn't quite get made over.

I don't want to make excuses, but it was just too d@#! cold to paint in my garage! I want to do something two-tone with more modern handles. 


P.S. If you haven't bumped into the Martha Leone Design blog, go there. Now. She has some crazy great furniture makeovers!

No. 3. I found this old telephone table at a thrift store several years ago. I have used it as a place to hide TP and air freshener in my downstairs half bath. 

Some of the inlayed mirrors are cracked and scratched, so those will have to come out.  I am thinking inlayed wood of some variety in place of the mirrors.

No. 4. And finally, I inherited this wood coffee table from my mother. It is a massive table and it has great detail, so I'm going to attempt to rescue it's pickled wood self from the 90s.

I found this amazing DIY mirror on the blog Crazy Wonderful. Hmmm. Maybe a faux inlayed top?

Mark. Get set. Go!
Chirp chirp! {Erin}

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Design Dilemma: Decorating Rooms with High Ceilings

Rooms with high ceilings are often architecturally interesting and can make a room feel bigger than it appears. When I think of high ceiling rooms my mind drifts to the modern industrial look of loft living. Brick walls, detailed ceilings. The height of the space is a character in the overall design of the space. 

Ok, now back to reality. Chances are if you live in a home with high ceilings, your space probably looks a bit more like this:

Tall and intimidating.

My living room has cathedral ceilings and so I have spent a lot of time looking at pictures and reading design articles on how to make a tall space cozy and inviting. Here are some consistent rules of thumb:

1. Scale: Furnishings, artwork and lighting should work in tandem with the scale of the room you are decorating. Generally, tall spaces call for furnishings, art, etc. of a larger (or taller) scale.

Here, the large scale of the artwork automatically brings the height of the room down and works in scale with the tall ceilings.

If you don't have the budget for a wall-size masterpiece, consider hanging smaller art in stacked groupings for a similar effect.

The neutral wall color in both of these rooms also helps to focus on the furnishings and art. The tall walls become a backdrop instead of a focal point.

The scale of window coverings is another element to consider. Taller window coverings of the same or complimentary color as the wall will unify and soften a tall wall.

Here, the majority of the curtain is the same color as the wall (softening the space), while the dramatic trim detail brings your eyes down towards the furnishings.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken! The bold curtain color in this room balances the bold hues in the floor covering and artwork. The neutral wall color is the unifying backdrop.

2. Focal Walls: Another way to tackle high ceilings is to create a focal or accent wall. Here, a fireplace wall is made the focal point with color and the large scale artwork that balances the mantle.  

Floor to ceiling artwork also unifies a tall wall and gives a focal point for the room. 

A floor to ceiling bookcase works in a similar fashion. 

Ceilings are walls too! Here, a painted ceiling combined with stacked artwork brings the ceiling height down and unifies the room. 

3. Architecture: You can also use architecture as a design tool. There is a rule of thirds that some designers use for tall spaces.  This general rule says that the bottom third of the room is furniture, the middle third is artwork and the top third is open space. This room is a perfect example of this design rule. The trim above the curtains and the varying wall colors draw the eyes to the lower two thirds of the room.  

The repetition of architecture plays a key role in unifying this tall space. 

Beams and architectural detail are also a popular way to bring ceiling heights down and unify a tall space. The large lanterns also bring the eye down. 

Looking at a before and after sketch using these principles tells the best story. In the first sketch, the room has furnishing and decor that look dwarfed by the tall ceilings.

 In the second sketch, the same furnishings are balanced by tall window coverings, stacked artwork, a tall mirror over the fireplace and a large pendant light that helps move your eye down. 

Happy Decorating! {Erin}

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My DIY Vintage Crate Headboard, Big Boy Room Update

The poor third child! When we found out I was pregnant our middle child was only 8 months old and we had just moved into a house with just two kid's rooms and a guest room. Vince's crib was thrown into the guest room in the corner of his "nursery". And so the 3rd born story goes, when he moved into his big boy bed I had every intention of finding a headboard, the last 2 years, for his modern platform bed we scored for a steal. Poor thing kept even asking me for the last year when he was going to get a cool headboard! My kids are weirdly into design- they appreciate it when its good, they always suggest things and they look forward to changing things up. Pretty much I have created 3 mini monsters for my poor husband to add fuel to my fire:) 

So several months ago I found these huge vintage bulb crates that were in great condition at the antique place. It was too easy to pass up. These crates were large enough that I would only need 4 and they had some depth to them which is what I needed to fill the space between his mattress and the wall. It was like one of those moments where the stars align. No huge DIY strategy and complicated tools needed, just a vision! So without further ado....

So as I mentioned they are boxes so we just cleaned them really well and then hung them like picture frames! At $15.00 a box, this was a huge value for a headboard and not a lot of blood sweat and tears! Here are some pictures of D hanging them. He's always asking when he's gonna make his big depute! Here it is D! You can't tell but Vince (to the left) has a big smile on his little face:) 
I already had a lot of the accessories for Vince's room as I knew I wanted his headboard to have some kind of reclaimed look. I got the animal heads at Z Gallerie almost 2 years ago but they still have them! You may recognize those red Nate Berkus for Target mirrors. I also bought those at least a year ago when they discounted them to $17 a piece! I love these mirrors! They are made so well and they are some kind of resin rather than painted so I think they will hold up well. The side tables are also Target and I believe they still have them on sale in some stores but not online:( The little owl lamps and burlap shades are from World Market. And the cute little owl rug was one I could not pass up as it was a steal from Pier 1 Imports and I love the colors. You can't tell from the pics but the owl's eyes are little pieces of amber color jewel! He will most likely outgrow this but it was used in front of his crib before we transitioned his room and he can use it a tad longer as he's just 5, right?!
Can you see that awesome chandelier in the mirror background?!? That is one of my most favorite lights I have in my house! And the best part, you can pick it up at Lowes by Allen + Roth Lighting! There are A LOT of pricey versions of this style of light and this one is made well and is a good size at 18 inches too! I think it goes perfect in a boy's bedroom!
The dresser in the next photo is an oldie but goodie but sadly on it's way out:( It was a flee market find and it was the first thing I bought when we started filling out our paperwork to adopt our oldest! I was so excited and even though I knew we were going for a boy and it was a tad girly (it was also originally painted off white in his room) I loved it for a baby. I painted it this teal color for Vince's nursery/guest bedroom and it is still hanging out in there but he is in need of a bigger more functional one soon! I'm thinking of redoing our dresser for him and getting new in our master. We shall see...
The bedding is a mix matched situation which is my most favorite look for a kid's room. I love using grown up bedding with fun patterns rather than kid bedding with too much of the theme going on in the bedding itself. It gives a more collected look and also is a much easier transition though their many phases. I am planning to go even more this direction with my oldest sons next bedding as we enter the much dreaded poster phase... Lord help me! You may recognize the red and white star coverlet and shams which are actually from my oldest son's room which we are also phasing out of the cowboy theme... so sad, but glad we can recycle it in Vince's room... yet another plague of the youngest!
 The chevron duvet cover is from West Elm and was purchased a couple years back but they still have it too. The green leaf sheet set and the yellow star shams are from Garnet Hill. If you have never looked at their sheet sets before they have the cutest mix of patterns that can be easily used with lots of different bedding looks. You have got to check them out when they come out with their seasonal stuff as they have the cutest winter/holiday sheet sets and if ever I have a lake cottage which is most likely a no, they have the cutest "lake cottage" sheets sets. They are also insanely comfortable and wash well! The hand painted tree pillow and the burlap and red and white stripe decorative pillows are all Etsy finds! Every room needs a little Etsy and if you have been following along with me long enough you know I strongly believe that! 
So there you have it! Still have lots to fill in as this room transitions. I would like to decide on the dresser for him. Do some sconce barn lights (which I already have) and a new bookcase and maybe some kind of upholstered reading chair. I still love the solid white drape panels in his room but am ready for a change for these as well. Stay tuned...
I will be taking a hiatus from my own projects for a bit. We are off on spring vaca fun soon and if you follow us on Facebook or Instagram you know I just found out the sex of my friend's baby so I can plan a top secret nursery for them to come home to! She is due in like 7 weeks so I will be thinking nonstop either pink or blue (I can't tell you which) for the next several weeks. It was defiantly strange to open someone's ultrasound results and then not get excited with anyone... LOL! Now I have to avoid them for this time so I don't blurt it out! 
Cheers!! Happy Spring & April Fools Day!
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