* View Along the Way * http://www.viewalongtheway.com Starts and Stops on the Journey to a DIY Home Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:36:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 My STUPID bathroom http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/stupid-bathroom/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/stupid-bathroom/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 10:00:06 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21154 So we have this master bathroom. We bought it like this: Then we demoed it. Removed the popcorn ceilings, took all the junk off the walls and mudded over the holes so it’d be ready for paint. Just when we had it demoed to the PRECISE point of maximum ugliness, we screeched to a halt […]

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So we have this master bathroom.

We bought it like this:
all5
Then we demoed it. Removed the popcorn ceilings, took all the junk off the walls and mudded over the holes so it’d be ready for paint.
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Just when we had it demoed to the PRECISE point of maximum ugliness, we screeched to a halt and left it there.
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(for six years.)
4
*Hangs head in shame.* *Reluctantly hands over Home Blogger Credentials.*

THIS IS SO STUPID, you guys.

STUPID.

Every morning I go in that bathroom, with its unpainted sheetrock ceiling, craptastic vinyl floor, hanging bare bulbs and ugly everything, and things start to get a little more tense and uncomfortable between me and the master bathroom. At this point we’re barely on speaking terms. I’m mad AT the bathroom, as if it is its own fault that it’s stayed this way for six years.

Andy and I are both at the same point, thankfully. He totally backs me up in my awkward fight with the bathroom. It’s helpful to have your husband on your side when you have a falling-out with a room in your house.

(It’s not stupid because it’s ugly. It’s stupid because it’s halfway demoed and has sat that way for 1.5 complete presidential terms of office.)

A few years ago, I talked about this room and why we just couldn’t pull the trigger on updating it. The problem is the layout.
floorplan labeled
The shower stall is a tiny coffin of despair, and the tub is functional but ugly. In that old, old post, we mentioned that we were going to leave the tub and shower as it was and just start fixing other things. But lots of you piped in with incredibly helpful ideas and suggestions for how we could improve the layout.

We loved all the ideas, but we couldn’t settle on one that felt completely right. So we left it there. Again. Did nothing. Closed the door and let NO ONE PASS THEREIN. It was our little secret.

(Except that we put it on the web and all.)

(Details.)

Anyway, we’ve come full circle now. We’ve gotten angry enough at the bathroom that it’s finally, actually going to change, and we have a real plan of attack that we’re going to actually do. (See all these definite action words I’m using?)

Here’s where we are: it’s too much for us to think about ripping out the tub and shower right now. We just can’t wrap our brains around with all the other stuff going on in our lives (more on this in a future post soon – all good stuff and no, there are no babies on the way!). But we think we can make some changes that will make it a reasonable, less STUPID room, and still allow for big future changes if we want.

So the plan is, for right now:
1. Leave the tub and shower as they are.
2. Rip out the vinyl flooring and replace it with something fancy.
3. Completely make over the vanity/sink wall with something beautiful.
4. Don’t make any changes that preclude us from tearing out the shower/tub later.

I think we’re going to tile the floor, and buy some extra tile so that if we decide to do something different with the shower/tub section later, we can easily re-tile that section to match the rest of the floor then.

We’re essentially going to draw a line through the bathroom, fix up one half and neglect/ignore the other half, willing it not to exist.
bathroom_halves
(The whole floor, of course, will get updated.)

I’ll show you my tentative plans (and ask for your thoughts and opinions! Get ready!) in another post, when I have a chance to pull together photos of what exists only in my brain right now.

But THINK MARBLE.
0d2e8e4302ebd4bfa9ce9625f1788e1c
Marble counters. Marble floors. Marble walls. Marble everywhere! Bathing in marble! Brushing our teeth with marble toothbrushes!

Tell me you’ve been there with projects-that-go-on-for-a-lifetime. Have you ever just felt like, this is STUPID?

PS: I’m over at SAS Interiors today talking about creating a meaningful home. Say hi to Jenna for me!

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Flower crushing-mega-death-destruction art project http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/flower-crushing-mega-death-destruction-art-project/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/flower-crushing-mega-death-destruction-art-project/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:00:53 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21042 I don’t know what it is about little boys, but they delight in destruction. Weston builds elaborate, tall towers of blocks or legos just for the one second of BLISS that comes from knocking it down and watching it all crumble to the ground. In that second, he is so alive! The world is HIS! […]

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I don’t know what it is about little boys, but they delight in destruction. Weston builds elaborate, tall towers of blocks or legos just for the one second of BLISS that comes from knocking it down and watching it all crumble to the ground. In that second, he is so alive! The world is HIS!

If you have just a tiny smidge of destruction-joy hidden under the layers of responsible adulthood, you’ll enjoy this project as much as I did. It’s the most cathartic way to create art that I know.

Plus, it’s super cool and turns out an interesting, completely customizable result. Here’s the art we made for Jill’s living room:
How to make art with crushed flowers

Can you guess what that is? Pretend like you didn’t already see it in the title of the post. It’s crushed flowers, which turn into dye to make art. THIS IS THE COOLEST THING, YOU GUYS.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Heavy paper, like watercolor paper or hobby paper
  • Flowers or berries (more on this in a sec)
  • Hammer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Piece of cardboard
  • Graveyard of buried hopes and deep-seated frustrations which you’ll take out on the flowers as therapy. (Optional.)

Materials for DIY crushed flower art

1. Gather your flowers.

I just went around my yard picking anything with color. You totally don’t need to buy flowers to do this project. Just gather what you can find in your yard or growing wild on the side of the road, and test them all to see which produce the best color. The flowers that gave me the most color were lilies and clover. Chrysanthemum worked great too.

2. Lay out your pattern.

Use the painter’s tape to block off the portions of the paper that you want to leave white. We made two versions: one with a tribal pattern and one with a monogram for Jill’s family.
Using painters tape to make DIY art

3. Lay out your flowers

Take everything outside and lay your paper with the painter’s tape design on a piece of cardboard. Lay out all your flower petals on top of the design. You can lay them out randomly or create stripes of color like we did:
How to make flower dye art

4. CRUSH THEM!!!!

This is so fun, I’m actually getting a little bit giddy just thinking about it. Lay an extra piece of paper on top of the flowers and just start smashing the flowers with a hammer. Just crush their delicate little faces. Here’s a little gif I took of Erin so you could see how she hit them. (You may need to click over if you’re reading this in email.)
b372u

5. Finish it out

Remember when you were a kid putting on a temporary tattoo of Care Bears on the back of your hand, how you’d peel the backing off carefully to make sure it was sticking to you before you rip it off? Same situation here.
Making DIY flower dye art
If there are still white/empty spots, just lay the top paper back down and get back to your smashing until it meets your stringent requirements. You can also take the paper off completely, and kind of smush the flowers into the paper to extract the flower dye juice (technical term).
How to use flowers as dye to make art
See all that purple and yellow gooey gunk? That is MONEY. The flower petals have smooshed into gunky dye that you can now spread around with your fingers if you want to.

I THINK THIS IS THE COOLEST THING.

(I’m also easily impressed, but I trust you will join me in this.)

6. Remove the painter’s tape and allow to dry

If you still have a ton of flower gunk left on the paper, you can scrape it off first. (We did.) If you love the gunky texture, you have Official Permission to leave it as-is.
DIY flower crush art!

The end.
Flower dye art


I think this would be a fabulous little project to do with your kids, and it’d make great handmade notecards too. Endless possibilities! Endless destruction!!
This is SO COOL! Make DIY art using flowers as dye!



Raise your hand if you kind of secretly love to destroy things. And if you don’t, I’ll think you’re lying.

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Easy no-sew diamond curtains (Anthropologie knock-off) http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/easy-sew-diamond-curtains-anthropologie-knock/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/easy-sew-diamond-curtains-anthropologie-knock/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:00:02 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21013 Remember many moons ago when my friend Erin and I surprised our friend Jill with a low-budget room makeover while she was on vacation? …and I was all, “BRB with the curtain tutorial!” Sorry. We got a little distracted with the whole master bedroom paint situation, then Andy and I went out of town last […]

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Remember many moons ago when my friend Erin and I surprised our friend Jill with a low-budget room makeover while she was on vacation?

DIY anthropologie knock-off curtains!

…and I was all, “BRB with the curtain tutorial!”

Sorry.

We got a little distracted with the whole master bedroom paint situation, then Andy and I went out of town last weekend and also the dog ate my homework.

(We went to Pittsburgh last weekend to watch two beautiful friends get hitched. We rented a fabulous convertible and ate enough food for four months. It was amazing.)
pit

But yes! I want to tell you about the curtains we made!
DIY anthropologie knock-off curtains!


We felt like the room needed something to bring attention up, to help the ceilings feel a little taller and to balance out the pattern and “weight” of the bottom half of the room, plus we wanted to include an element that felt a little more handmade and imperfect, to keep the room from feeling too serious about its life.
DIY anthropologie knock-off curtains!
And ideally, we were hoping for something that would pull out some color from the lumbar pillow on the sofa, so we thought these curtains from Anthropologie would be PERFECT.
3aae770e0dfb27cc3faa41cdfe1ce685
Only one tiny problem: the price. (Cursed budget strikes again!) They’re $99 per panel in the size we’d need, and even if we could spend $200 of our entire $500 budget on curtains (which, no.) – they’re sold out.

So Erin and I got creative and just um, you know, made some.
DIY anthropologie pheasant eye curtains!

Materials:

  • One pair of Ikea Vivan curtain panels (or other simple white curtains)
  • About 4.5 yards of fabric for the diamonds (you could also use an old sheet or something if it’s in a color you like.)
  • No-sew hem tape

(It’ll cost you about $20 to make both panels! Niiice.)

Here’s the short version: this pattern is basically just strips of fabric ironed onto the curtain panels in a diamond pattern with hem tape. Our curtains have 5 full diamonds and 5 half diamonds, but the anthropologie version has an extra row of diamonds that we chose to skip.
Diamond pattern curtain tutorial

1. Cut strips of fabric

Each strip should be 1.5 inches wide. This is the fastest way we found to cut a TON of strips of fabric from one large piece of fabric: first, fold the fabric in half width-wise…
curtain tutorial - how to efficiently cut strips of fabric
and then again in half length-wise. Then measure out every 1.5 inches with measuring tape and make a little notch with your scissors.
how to cut long strips of fabric quickly and easily
And just continue to cut down each notch until you’re left with a nice spaghetti bowl of fabric strips.
how to make your own curtains, cutting strips of fabric
Each strip will be 1.5 inches wide and 4.5 yards long, and will be enough to make one full diamond. Hooray!

2. Attach your first diamond

You’ll just use the iron-on hem tape to attach the strips in a diamond pattern on the curtain panel. The Ikea Vivan panels are 57 inches wide, so each diamond should end up being about 19 inches wide from corner to corner. This is how it all shakes out, and the order we did each diamond:
how to make diamond curtains diagram
Starting at that top corner, lay out your hem tape underneath a strip of fabric and iron the fabric to the curtain panel according the instructions on your hem tape. (We found it MUCH easier to do this on the floor than on an ironing board!)
How to make DIY curtains with no-sew hem tape
How to iron no-sew curtains
To do the corners of the diamonds, just fold the strips back over on themselves. This whole deal is supposed to feel imperfect, so much grace is granted to you at this point.
Making a turn
Continue to move in a spiral from the outside of the diamond toward the center until you have one completed diamond! Yay!
curtain tutorial - diamond fabric close up
Go through and finish all the full diamonds. This, again, is the order we went in:
how to make diamond curtains diagram

3. Do all the half-diamonds

The half-diamonds on the edges are basically the same situation which by now you’ve perfected into an art form and will be taking on the road to audiences across the country. Only difference is the inside of the half diamond feels a little different, but you’ll have no problem with it. It should end up looking like this:
how to do no-sew half-diamonds on diy anthropologie curtains
You’ll also need to trim them on the edges so they’re nice and neat.
DIY anthropologie curtains - trimming curtain edges

4. Hang ‘em high and wide!

DIY anthropologie knock-off curtains!
This was a very simple project you can do on the living room floor while rewatching old seasons of The Office for at least the 8th time, and still feeling incredibly uncomfortable about Michael’s toast at Jim & Pam’s wedding.

View Along the Way: where you can get your fill of outdated pop culture references, five years after they happened.

(It’s a niche market.)

What’s your fave show that’s no longer relevant?



These are Anthropologie knock-off curtains for only about $20 a pair! Easy to make!

PS: in the mood for more inexpensive knock-off projects? Check out ‘em out right here, or check out these 27 (more) brilliant DIY curtain ideas:

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Master bedroom paint reveal! http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/master-bedroom-paint-reveal/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/master-bedroom-paint-reveal/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 10:00:16 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21047 Thanks to my ol’ buddy Benjamin Moore for sponsoring this post! I mean, I just can’t understand why every single person doesn’t have a blog. It’s the best thing in the history of ever. Exhibit A: you guys, with your epic advice and helpful opinions on my last post. You’re all my favorites, and you […]

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Thanks to my ol’ buddy Benjamin Moore for sponsoring this post!

I mean, I just can’t understand why every single person doesn’t have a blog. It’s the best thing in the history of ever. Exhibit A: you guys, with your epic advice and helpful opinions on my last post. You’re all my favorites, and you continue to make my little heart flutter with thankfulness. THANK YOU for taking the time to chime in on the paint color for my master bedroom.

In what is probably my fastest turn-around time ever, I already chose a color, got the paint and the room is painted! Awwww yeah. *Brushes off shoulders*

Here again is the before:

And here’s the room when the paint was still drying and we hadn’t put everything back together yet:
benjamin moore hale navy paint color hc-154
(I’m skipping over the process of painting because I’m sure you guys get it: move the furniture, roll things, cut in other things, repeat.)

My first reaction was complete and utter devotion to this color for all of my days. I loved it instantly.

Can you guess which color I ended up with?
Choosing navy blue paint colors
It’s #4, Benjamin Moore Hale Navy (HC-154) – the color that I was most drawn to in the last post and the color that you all voted for the most in our little poll:
best dark blue paint color vote results
My major hesitation was a deep-rooted rebellious streak that wanted to not choose the color everyone else is choosing, since Hale Navy has been so popular lately. Nothing is worse than being predictable, right?! (If I were auditioning for a trashy reality show, I’d emphasize this part of my personality during the audition process.)

But dang, yall. It’s gorgeous. And sometimes the best one for you is the one that’s proven their goodness over time, the safe choice that you know you can count on.
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Of course, I also said I didn’t want to use Hale Navy because I thought everyone else has already used it, so this analogy breaks down quickly and it’s probably best if we don’t take it much further. Erm, we should probably get back to the paint.

Here’s the thing: I have a 100 percent track record of hating every paint color I use at first. But then it grows on me and I stop hating my life. Or I actually continue to hate it and spend the next five years trying to convince Andy to let me near a paint chip again. But THIS? THIS was love at first sight.

I’m finding that the colors I love most in the end are not the colors I love on the paint chip or on the wall swatch. I have to choose the slightly grayer, slightly desaturated version of the color that looks right to me, and that’s how I know I’ll like it when all is said and done.
Best dark blue paint colors: benjamin moore hale navy hc-154
It does not look nearly as fabulous in these photos as it does in real life. Hale Navy (HC-154) is moody, complicated, serious, but you totally want to be its friend.

The paint itself was glorious, you guys. I used Benjamin Moore Aura interior paint in eggshell (although in retrospect I think flat would’ve been even better) and it went on LIKE BUTTA. So smooth. I thought we’d need three coats, easily, but the first coat covered so well that there was even debate about whether a second was necessary.

I’m sold on the value of the Aura paint. Done. It rocked. I wish I could go back and un-paint my closet so I could use the Aura paint. That project was a nightmare and, looking back, I’m pretty sure I used 46 coats of paint and lost at least 4 years of my life to painting those shelves.

I’ve been collecting a few things for this room over time, and I’m super excited to get to decoratin’, because I love how they play with the navy:
art
And speaking of decorating, this room is NOWHERE CLOSE TO DONE. But here it is a little more put back together – curtains in place, bed made.
Benjamin Moore Hale Navy paint color
I think the navy is calling for a few tweaks to what I already have. I loved the way the room looked before we hung the curtains, so I’m considering swapping out the curtains for some simple wood blinds, like what I have in my breakfast nook:

Of course, the blackout curtains are incredibly functional in blocking out light so I can eek out a precious few more minutes of sleep at the crack-o-dawn when Weston wakes up. So that remains to be seen.

This is what still needs to be done:
master bedroom plans
I’m definitely gaga for the way gold and warm wood plays with the navy, so I’ll be finding ways to incorporate that. I played around with some accessories I had laying around to see what pink looked like with the lumbar pillow.
Navy bedroom with pink lamp
Don’t think that shade of pink is right. I tried the lamps from the guest room too:
Nightstand styling
I don’t think that’s it either, but it’s always fun to try things and see how they turn out. I’m still processing the room and deciding where to head next, but taking my cues from these things now, because I’m feelin’ the mood happening here.
art
But the good news is that I’m super duper in love with the paint color. FINALLY. We’ve been in the house for six years and this is the first time I’ve loved the color of our bedroom. (Thanks again for weighing in!)

I think the moral of the story here is this: just do what everyone else is doing, succumb to peer pressure every time and you’ll always be happy in the end. Right? ;)

This post is sponsored by Benjamin Moore, but all opinions are my own, as always!

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Best Benjamin Moore Navy Paint Colors + Decision 2014 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/best-benjamin-moore-navy-paint-colors-decision-2014/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/best-benjamin-moore-navy-paint-colors-decision-2014/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:00:42 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=20980 (I know I still have much to tell you about Jill’s makeover! We’ll return to that shortly. First I need help making a decision so I can move forward with other things in the meantime. Stay tuned!) When we first visited our house to consider buying it, Andy and I both felt that the master […]

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(I know I still have much to tell you about Jill’s makeover! We’ll return to that shortly. First I need help making a decision so I can move forward with other things in the meantime. Stay tuned!)

When we first visited our house to consider buying it, Andy and I both felt that the master bedroom was kind of outrageously large. We actually thought it was a giant waste of space, and therefore a major downside to the house. What are we supposed to do with an adjoining sitting room for goodness sakes?! Have tea parties? Play bridge? Lounge in velvet robes?

Answer: YES. That’s basically all we do most days.

My well-thought-out, not-at-all-accidental remedy for the size problem has been to repaint the master bedroom approximately 47 different times, laying on enough coats of paint to slowly close in the walls on all sides and reduce the room to nearly half its original size.

Andy’s maybe not such a big fan of this plan.

The problem was that I didn’t have a clear vision for the room, and I made the One Major Design Mistake That Makes Decorating Harder. (Read it here. Are you guilty too?)

This gray-green is where we sit today. (It’s Benjamin Moore Silver Sage.)

I chose it before I even knew what I was doing in this room, because I thought you’re supposed to choose paint colors first, because I was a silly little goat and wanted my life to be harder than necessary.

As a result, we’ve stalled out on decorating in this room for years.

Well: that’s enough of that! It’s time to fix this room once and for all, make it beautiful and livable and fix all the things we’ve just been living with. Like a bare hanging lightbulb, broken nightstands and no storage.

We built the upholstered bed (see how to do that here), sewed the curtains (tutorial here) and finally kind of settled on the bedding. Now that we have a design direction and a lead fabric (the lumbar pillow) I’m finally at the right point in the process to be allowed to go near the paint swatches. I have enough information to make an informed paint color decision, without repainting for the 49th time.

I mean, I hope.

We only use this room in the evenings – aside from tea parties and cigar-smoking-while-robe-wearing of course – so I want to go darker and cozier. I want to go navy.
Navy bedroom

Little Green Notebook

I think it’ll tie in the curtains and the bedding, and increase the drama factor by a hundred and six. Or, it’ll just make the room a little bit smaller and I’ll repaint it again. Either way, a win, right?
Best navy paint colors
Here’s where you come in: I needs the helps, friends. On the scale of life’s most important decisions, this ranks. (IF I GET THIS WRONG, ANDY WILL NEVER LET ME NEAR A PAINT SWATCH AGAIN!!)
Choosing navy blue paint colors

Here’s what you’re lookin’ at.

1 — Benjamin Moore Stunning (826): It reads the most purple of all the choices, which makes me nervous. However, a deep purply-blue could be kind of amazing. This is Benjamin Moore Stunning in action:
Benjamin Moore Stunning

Kim Armstrong Interior Design

It doesn’t look nearly as purple in that photo, does it? It looks like a powerful, happy blue. Do the swatches deceive me?!

2 — Benjamin Moore Old Navy (2063-10)/b>: This is a strong contender. It feels clean, classic and nautical. Plus it’s the color Amber and Nick at Wills Casa painted their island, and I kind of want to steal their entire kitchen and wear it as my skin. WHY IS IT SO AMAZING?!
Wills Casa Kitchen
PS: If you’re not reading their blog, your life is incomplete.

3 — Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue (HC-156): Not it. It’s a little softer and lighter than I want, but it’s a gorgeous blue, if you’re looking for one for your house. Here’s some Van Deusen goodness:
Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue

Lindsey Coral Harper for House Beautiful

4 — Benjamin Moore Hale Navy (HC-154): I’m trying SO HARD not to like this color. It seems like lately, everyone and their moms are painting things Hale Navy and I cannot succumb to paint-color-peer-pressure-and-predictability. I can’t use Hale Navy on principle, right? The problem, of course, is that it’s kinda beautiful. It’s grayed-out enough so that I think when the whole wall is covered, it won’t be overpoweringly bright or obnoxious.

Behold:
Hale Navy bedroom at the Nesting Game

Hale Navy guest room at Nesting Game

It’s annoyingly perfect, isn’t it? ARRRGH.

5 — Benjamin Moore Downpour Blue (2063-20)
Definitely too green for what I want, but it’s an incredible color. I want to find a place for this color somewhere else in my house though. See?:
Benjamin Moore Downpour Blue

Coveted Home

It’s halfway between navy and peacock teal, which is a fine place to dwell.

The fabulous people at Benjamin Moore are sending me their fancy Aura interior paint for this room, which I’m super pumped to try out. It also means I need to make a quick decision and probably not live with random paint swatches on my wall for six months.


Five beautiful navy blue paint colors!



So tell me: what color is your fave? Should I resist the call of the Hale Navy on principle? Go with the classic, clean Old Navy? Take a chance on Stunning? Let’s take a little poll, just for kicks! (If you’re reading this post through a reader or through email, you’ll probably need to click over to participate. Your vote counts. Let your voice be heard! …and other election-year cliches.)

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Save the books: how to style a bookshelf for actual book storage http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/save-books-style-bookshelf-actual-book-storage/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/save-books-style-bookshelf-actual-book-storage/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:00:01 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=20918 I must speak out for the books. Someone is hiding them from us! All those volumes mankind has been printing for the past hundreds of years since the invention of the printing press — oh yes I did just bring up the invention of the printing press and no I don’t know when that was […]

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I must speak out for the books.

Someone is hiding them from us! All those volumes mankind has been printing for the past hundreds of years since the invention of the printing press — oh yes I did just bring up the invention of the printing press and no I don’t know when that was without googling it — all the books are disappearing, you guys. It’s an emergency.

All the styled bookshelves are devoid of books! Bookshelves are shelves… for books. I thought?

But if you go hunting for beautifully styled shelves on pinterest, you’ll start to think that in order to create beautiful bookshelves, you must first rid yourself of all those pesky books and replace them with Pretty Things That Need Dusting.
tumblr_m6jkwfOc3X1rw1j0to1_1280

Design by Meyer Interiors

But um. If all our bookshelves are getting cleared of the books and replaced with beautiful tchotchkes, where are we supposed to put… our books?

bookcases1

Elle Decor Magazine
Just asking.

“No worries,” says Pinterest. “You can display your books! …As long as they’re all within your color scheme.”
Bookshelf+bookshelf+styled+black+white+tan+YY6UrVEH0_Xl

Lonny Mag

“Oh, your book spines are not all within the same color palette?,” Pinterest asks, clucking its tongue disapprovingly. “In that case, you may painstakingly recover them all in craft paper. This is your last and final hope for getting permission to store your books out in the open where people might see.”
all-white-bookshelf
Decoist

“Yes, you’ll want to claw out your eyeballs if you ever need to find one of the books in order to read it, but that’s the price of beauty, dahhhling.”

Pinterest sounds like kind of a jerk right now. I didn’t mean to do that. I heart you pinterest, you beautiful, gentle lover.

But for real: what if you need to store books on your bookshelves? Like, what if you own a lot of books and need somewhere to put them? Must you give up on form, surrender to function and replace all your furniture with black pleather overstuffed sofas because Lord Knows, those things must be SO comfortable and easy to keep clean?

I vote no.

To the pleather, and to the Disappearing of the Books.

So what do you do if you own seventy four hundred books, like Jill and her husband do?
living_room_before_3
If you’ve been following along, I just did a surprise makeover for my friend Jill while she was on vacation. You can check out all the posts on her makeover here and the full reveal here.

Jill’s family uses this living room for reading and for entertaining, so the idea of getting rid of all their books in exchange for Pretty Things just seemed like it’d be a silly lack of priorities for their real life. Erin and I painted and restyled their shelves, keeping almost ALL the same books, but in a way that feels a little easier on your eyes and more organized:
surprise_makeover_after_5
It feels cleaner and simpler, but without sacrificing the actual storage of the books. (We had a small stack of books left over, but almost all of them made it back on the finished shelves.)

This is my little process for creating bookshelves that store books but still feel pretty and clean. It’s the same process I used for the bookshelves in our office, which store many, many actual books made of actual paper:
Bookshelf styling tips: How to make your bookshelf beautiful when it has to store actual books

1. Empty the shelves

Of everything. This is a pain, but completely necessary to get a fresh slate and allow yourself to see things a different way than How They’ve Always Been.
Empty bookshelves: how to arrange books on a shelf

2. Call forth the tchotckes!

Collect All The Pretty Things in your house that you might want to display. This is the time to pull out everything you’ve been storing with hopes of displaying it someday: your grandmother’s cool vintage teacup collection, smallish frames with meaningful photos, mementos from your wedding day, spare vases in closets, pretty ornaments, colorful jars, anything that you’d love to look at. It’s all fair game at this point! Make a giant pile that inspires your spouse to think you might have lost it.

Erin and I shopped Jill’s house for anything that might look pretty tucked inside the bookshelves, and grabbed a few things on clearance at target or from our own piles of yard sale accessories. This is a small portion of our pile.
Collection of decorations
We found some beautiful things hidden in cupboards, like this beautiful silver tea set which deserved more appreciation!
tea set 1
When I was doing the bookshelves in my house, all my animals came out to play, which inspired Andy to call out: “WHY IS THERE A ZOO IN OUR OFFICE?!”
Collection of animal statues

3. Sort the books by color

We laid out the books in a rough gradient by color, like this:
how_to_style_books_on_a_shelf
It doesn’t have to be perfect, but just try to roughly group together all the reddish books, all the bluish books, etc.

4. Add small groups of books to the shelves

I like to work in “batches” of books, so I grabbed about 8-10 books from the pile and moved them to the shelves. Here’s a little batch of bluish books:
How to arrange books on shelves like a designer
These are all the little batches from my own bookshelf wall:
The trick to styling bookshelves like a pro!
If I did a batch of books standing up against the side of the shelf on one side, I grabbed another batch and did something similar on the opposite side, basically creating “pairs” of batches to keep things roughly balanced:
Creating a balanced bookshelf

5. Change it up

If one batch of books is standing up, grab another batch – a batch of any color! – and set it on its side. Alternate the way the books are stacked every time:
How to arrange books on shelves like a decorator
**In my opinion, this is the single easiest thing you can do to take your bookshelves to the next level. Just go through and change the way some of them are oriented. It’ll make a world of difference without changing how many books you can fit!**

6. When all the books are shelved, bring on the pretties!

Start slowly layering in your pretty things now. Put some on top of the book stacks. Put some peeking out from behind the books and prop some in front of the books. The trick is to make it feel like there are layers of interest, not just a line of books that are all the same depth.
the trick to styling bookshelves like a pro!
For extra credit, you can even hang things on the fronts of the shelves.
shelves

Elle Decor

7. Tweak until it feels right

Now just start playing until it feels good and balanced to you. This is weird, but sometimes it helps me to squint so everything looks blurry, then see what stands out. If it feels like there’s a lot of pattern and contrast on one half of a shelf, I’ll rearrange until it feels more even.

And sometimes I can’t “see” what needs to be changed until I take a photo. When you think you’re just about there, take a picture of the shelf and see what doesn’t look right in the picture. I don’t know why it makes a difference, but it helps me every single time.

* * *

Aaaand that’s it!
surprise_makeover_after_5
It really all comes down to making it look a way that’s visually pleasing to you. A hundred different designers could come in and rearrange your shelves a hundred different ways. There’s no right or wrong, so give yourself some freedom and some grace!

And let’s all unite to Save the Books! Are you in?

Simple steps to decorating your bookshelves with ACTUAL books, like a designer!


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Just a little flash-mob surprise makeover reveal. That’s all. http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/just-little-flash-mob-surprise-makeover-reveal-thats/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/just-little-flash-mob-surprise-makeover-reveal-thats/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 10:00:49 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=20849 Imagine if you left for vacation and your living room looked like this. Then a week later, you walked back into your house and it looked like this. What if you were expecting to see this: But instead you saw this: What would you DOOO?!! Jill did this: And smiled a lot, and cried a […]

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Imagine if you left for vacation and your living room looked like this.
living_room_before
Then a week later, you walked back into your house and it looked like this.
A room makeover in only a week with just $500!
What if you were expecting to see this:
living_room_before_3
But instead you saw this:
surprise_makeover_after_5
What would you DOOO?!!

Jill did this:
3
And smiled a lot, and cried a little.

Erin and I were a bundle of nerves all day waiting for Jill to get home. Here we were waiting, minorly freaking out, watching the clock and kinda sweating a lot and being really, really not cool about things.
erin_kelly
I mean, what if she HATED it?! Or worse, what if she was ambivalent and clearly trying to be nice? What if she was just like, “Oh, that’s nice. Thanks guys. Welp, guess I’ll go unpack now.”

I just — that just wasn’t an option.

If you’ve been following along, Erin and I were co-conspirators on a surprise room makeover for Jill. We had one week and $500 to pull this whole thing off, and – oh I forgot to mention – the air conditioning went out in their house mid-project (in Atlanta in June! Read: sweatshop conditions) AND I got the flu. But we did it!

We turned this:
before
Into this:
Make over a complete room for only $500 in one week!Updated living room on a budget!
And this:
before2
Into this:
How to COMPLETELY make over an entire room on a tiny budget!surprise_makeover_after_4
Did I mention we had just a few short days and $500 very small dollars? I think they were tinier dollars than normal, guys.

So here’s what happened. First we analyzed Jill’s style (without her even knowing! Is that creepy?) and figured out what we thought she’d like.

Then we made a design plan based on that bird fabric, which turned out to be Windsong by Heritage House:
Transitional living room design plan
Then we created a space plan for that tough layout. (See how to do that here!)
jills_room_layout
Once Jill and her family were finally out of the house, we invaded! All that grolive trim and wallpaper got painted – and it felt like SUCH a breath of fresh air!
after_painting
The sofa and chairs came from craigslist, the rug came from Erin’s house and the coffee table is actually just two wicker trunks we found for $30 each. (They’re from Target originally but we have this incredible discount-store-heaven nearby us which sells Target overstocks.)
surprise_makeover_after_7
If we were designing this room for looks and not real-life, I think a glass coffee table would’ve been a little better here. It’s a small space and naturally very dark, so something that takes up less visual space and allows light to pass through would’ve been a little better, but Jill has four kids and we knew she’d appreciate the extra storage in the trunks.

Erin made those curtains! They’re a DIY version of these Pheasant Eye curtains which cost $100 per panel from Anthropologie. See how to make your own here!
DIY Anthropologie Pheasant Eye Curtains
Let’s talk about the bookshelves! Jill and her husband own ALL THE BOOKS. Every one of them. But you know what’s kind of awesome? Look at the difference between the before and after, how much easier it is on your eyes.
living_room_before_3surprise_makeover_after_5
We did that while keeping almost all the books! We had just a small stack leftover that got stored in the cabinets below, but doesn’t it just look so much more clean and simple now? You can have a beautiful bookshelf and still store (a lot of) books! UPDATE: Here’s my process for styling their bookshelves.

Erin and I made the art on the shelves. It’s made out of FLOWERS, you guys!!! I can’t wait to tell you about this project! SO FREAKIN COOL.
DIY pressed flower art
I couldn’t believe what a difference the chandelier made. We hung it low over the seating area and not only did it make things feel insta-elegant, but also super cozy for conversation. The chandy was $40. (Now I’m grabbing both your shoulders and shaking you with joy and fervor: FORTY DOLLARS!)
Redo a room for $500 in 7 days!
The tree next to the sofa is just a branch from the japanese maple in my yard. True story: I just cut a longish branch without paying attention to the tree, and now our tree looks lopsided and weird, because Lack of Foresight. But doesn’t it look kind of amazing just plopped in a vase, for free dollars?
surprise_makeover_after_9
We pulled out that rust color in the curtains and the branch because the cabinets in Jill’s kitchen are red. (You can kinda see them behind her in this pic:)
4Adding this color to the other side of the room made the kitchen colors feel intentional and really tied this room into the kitchen in a major way.

Actually, that was just a happy accident, but it happened, so we’ll just take credit for that as if it was on purpose.

So here’s the budget breakdown for the whole makeover:
Couch: $100
Chairs: $70
Black & white pillows, plant & frames (all from Ikea): $105
Trunks: $60
Accessories: $100
Curtains: $25
Picture frames (four on the mantel + 2 for the art): $50
Chandelier: $40
Paint: Gift from Jill’s mother-in-law
Total: $550

And we sold Jill’s existing couch and put the money toward the total, so we actually came out RIGHT ON BUDGET. WHAT!

Even working all the hours in a room with no a/c, the end result of giving this gift to Jill was worth every second. Erin and I had so much fun and couldn’t have been more happy to bless our bud this way. Jill said the room makes her smile and she loves it!

One more before-and-after, for the road?
living_room_beforesurprise_makeover_after_3
Yay!

Thoughts? What would you do if someone changed your house without your permission? Restraining order?

Come check out this transformation! Only took one week and $500! Tons of great ideas!


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Jill’s Surprise Makeover: Painting + Furniture http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/jills-surprise-makeover-painting-furniture/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/jills-surprise-makeover-painting-furniture/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:00:18 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=20817 How to be the worst person in the world: invite all your friends to a painting party and then not come. I was all, “Lol, jk guys. I’m sick. You can still come and paint Jill’s living room though.” I didn’t mean to be a terrible person, but in what was the most awful timing […]

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How to be the worst person in the world: invite all your friends to a painting party and then not come.

I was all, “Lol, jk guys. I’m sick. You can still come and paint Jill’s living room though.”

I didn’t mean to be a terrible person, but in what was the most awful timing of my life, I got completely laid-out-sick and couldn’t get off the couch the day of the painting party Erin and I had organized for Jill’s surprise makeover. It was awful: flu-like symptoms, topped with massive waves of guilt for being horrible.

I basically called in sick to life. My mom came to take the kids so I could lay around moaning and wishing I was never born, and she snapped this picture of Weston, because when I get sick, the kids start to look a little homeless. (Note the collar tucked inside the shirt, shoes on the wrong feet, solid understanding of color theory and pattern-matching.)
homeless
Poor buddy. Why doesn’t he have a mom who will dress him like a proper person? (I do choose my battles carefully on the clothing front though. Mila’s getting really into dressing herself, and also wearing her brother’s clothes, which I think is hilarious and awesome.)
mila
Nice abs, babe. She specializes in creative blends of different styles, unexpected accessories and wearing underpants on top of pants. I would keep my kids at this exact age for all time if I could.

How’d you get me talking about this? Oh yeah — the painting party.

Remember, this is Jill’s dark cave-like living room, with old wallpaper and grolive (new word for gray-olive) trim.
living_room_before
The bookshelves were an orangey-brown pine which Jill hated.
living_room_before_3
The wallpaper was actually probably really nice originally – it was a diamond-textured grasscloth – but it was old and stained, and just needed a refresh. Jill’s been dying to paint it for a LONG time, but knew it’d be a ton of work.
old stained wallpaper

wallpaper_before_2
Yes – we decided to paint right over the wallpaper, with the permission of her mother-in-law who owns the house. We loved the texture and pattern of the grasscloth, plus the wallpaper had been there for a long time and nobody wanted to venture beneath it and open that pandora’s box.

So a bunch of Jill’s friends who love her and were excited to do this for her, came and painted the room one night.
painting_party_1
Except me, because unexplainable summertime influenza/black heart.

But look how much brighter already!
living_room_beforeafter_painting
The heavens have opened and light is pouring through in rivers of glory!

We used a color called “Daydream Haze” for the walls. It’s a color that Jill used in her master bedroom and LOVES, so it was a safe bet. To lighten it up a little bit, we had it mixed at half-strength. (If you really love the hue of a paint color but wish it was a little lighter, you can ask the person at the paint counter to mix it at half-strength. They basically just put in half the color, so it’s exactly the same, but whiter, if that makes sense.) The trim is called “Ivory Dust.”

In a perfect world, we would’ve painted her ceiling too, but if you started painting it here, you would’ve had to repaint the whole downstairs and we had one week and $500, so it didn’t happen.

Jill had been talking about white-washing the stone on her fireplace because she didn’t like it, but once we painted the bookshelves white, the fireplace turned amazing.
living_room_before_3
fireplace
(Sorry for the terrible night-time photo!)

We also got them a new couch!!
sofaAnd not just any couch — the most amazing couch anyone has ever bought on craigslist for under $100. It was listed for $270 and I talked the guy down to $100. (I KNOW.) One hundred tiny dollars for this gorgeous sofa that I kind of wanted to keep for myself - see? Black heart – but am planning to love forever from a distance. Here it is in this messy garage-whose-owner-shall-not-be-named with the pair of chairs we also bought:
garage
The chairs were $70 for the pair. They’re little cane chairs which had really nice light blue upholstery and a medium-toned wood. We didn’t do a thing to them.

I really liked how the arms of the chairs and the arms of the sofa mimic each other’s shape. See that? Fancy, right?

In the last post I showed you the layout we landed on, so we bought the sofa and the chairs intending to face them toward each other:
jills_room_layout
Okay, so ready to see this all come together?

Next post, should we do a reveal? What do you think?

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Decorating 101: Space Planning (and more on Jill’s surprise makeover!) http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/decorating-101-space-planning/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/decorating-101-space-planning/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 10:00:07 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=20744 I’m excited to show you guys Jill’s flash-mob surprise makeover results! But I thought we’d start with a little chat about how we handled her room layout. Let me just forewarn you that the furniture, rugs and finishes in these little layout sketches are all horrible and not at all representative of the design for […]

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I’m excited to show you guys Jill’s flash-mob surprise makeover results! But I thought we’d start with a little chat about how we handled her room layout.

Let me just forewarn you that the furniture, rugs and finishes in these little layout sketches are all horrible and not at all representative of the design for her room. Before you proceed, you must swear to me that you understand that and that you will not judge any leopard print rugs you might encounter today. Check the box that you agree to these terms, please.

Here again is Jill’s living room, the before:
living_room_before
This is the layout before:
layout_before
It’s a long, narrow room with four hundred doors, pass-throughs and windows to account for. I’ll walk you through our process for figuring out a space plan that made sense for Jill’s family, and if you’re working on a floor plan, hopefully it’ll help you settle on something functional too.

Start with function: analyze how you use the room

This is the room that Jill and her family use to entertain company, so we knew we needed a layout that facilitated easy conversation. They also use it as a reading room. And they own some books, like a billion, which we needed to store. Finally, they keep some toys and games in this room so storage for those things was a must as well.
living_room_before_3
This will be controversial, but if you use your living room primarily to watch television — this is a safe place and you can admit that — it’s okay to lay out your furniture for that purpose. The point of design is to create spaces that work for the way they’ll be used. However, if you’ll also be entertaining, you’ll have to work a little harder to create a dual-function layout that can support conversation, laughter and the playing of Taboo and Balderdash, or other board games of choice.

Not Chess or Risk though: no one wants to play that boring crap.

Create Zones

Especially in long, skinny rooms like Jill’s, sometimes you need to split the room into different zones. If you can’t sit in one part of the room and easily converse with someone sitting in another part of the room, it’s safe to say your room needs separate zones.

That’s what was going on in Jill’s living room. It was too long and narrow to create one conversation space:
dumb_layout
So we needed to define one area – the conversation area – and use the rest of the room for a different purpose. Once you split the room and think of it as two separate spaces, it gets much easier. We essentially thought of these two zones as two different square rooms.
Using zones to create a space plan
I think Jill’s living room would’ve been really nice with a table on the other half, since their kitchen is on the opposite side of that half-wall:
Designing a space plan for a long, skinny room
But functionally, they didn’t really need a table there, and we didn’t have time or budget to go find another one anyway, so we just went with a little reading area with the recliner that was already there. (The Husband requested that the recliner stay, and I was not going to be the one to take his recliner, yall. I’m not a monster.)
layout_zones
IGNORE THAT LEOPARD RUG. I’m using this floor planning software that only offers ugly rugs and furnishings. I’ve been backed into a corner.

Measure everything

Get the room’s full dimensions, obviously, and the placements of all the doors and windows, plus the dimensions of any furniture you’ll be keeping. I use floorplanner.com (and its ugly rug selection) to play with layouts, but ain’t no shame in going old-school: you can also just measure and cut things out with paper and play with the layout that way, like this:
layout_drawing

And try anything

Get crazy and try weird layouts. Just move stuff around. Can’t hurt nuthin, yo. I recommend commenting to your husband how much you enjoy watching his muscles ripple while he moves the sofa for the sixth time. Decorating keeps marriages strong.

Create traffic flow

A good rule of thumb I use is that you need about three feet of walking space around the furniture. Plus you want an easy route for your wild children to run through the room. I mean for adults to slowly walk through.

Orient toward the focal point

What’s the focal point of the room? If it has a fireplace, bam: the decision is made for you. Nothing is worse than a room where the furniture is not oriented toward the fireplace.

The easy start for laying out a room is to orient your largest piece of furniture toward the focal point. You can start there and then play around with other arrangements if necessary. If we did that in Jill’s room, it would look like this:
layout_1
Which is not a terrible starting place, but it’s not where we ended up.

If you don’t have a fireplace, your focal point might be architectural, like large windows or bookcases, or without something like that, you can create a focal point with large-scale art or mirrors, or even patterned curtains. Don’t be intimidated by deciding what’s the focal point of your room. It’s really just whatever you want people to see FIRST when they walk in. (But if you have a fireplace, it’s the fireplace. Kelly’s Rule.)

Try symmetry first.

If you can create a symmetrical layout, more times than not, it’s going to be the best option.
Creating a symmetrical layout

Design by Greg Natale via Design Addict

That doesn’t mean an asymmetrical layout can’t be awesome and perfect in your space! Just know why you’re doing it.
asymmetry
Designer Kelly Giesen via House Beautiful

And if you’re not sure? Try symmetry first.

Go off the wall!

In most rooms, the layout looks better when the furniture isn’t all clumped up on the wall like 13-year-old Kelly at the junior high dance. Bring it out into the room and float it. Jill’s room, especially, would be super weird will all the furniture against the wall:
bad_layout
You’d break your neck trying to have a conversation with someone sitting on the other sofa – plus it would impede the traffic flow through the room – so we pulled some of it off the wall and floated it.

Jill’s Layout

We landed on this arrangement:
jills_room_layout
We used the pair of chairs to separate the zones and the rugs to define them, and we left the wall opposite the fireplace open for easy traffic flow. If we’d filled that space, say with a console table, you can see how it would’ve been harder to walk from one pass-through to another:
traffic_flow
The reason why we went with this layout and not this one:
layout_1
…is that we liked how when you walked into the room through the pass-through, you could walk right into the seating area and plop right down wit yo bad self.
Traffic flow
With the first option – the sofa facing the fireplace – you would’ve walked right into the back of the sofa. Plus, it felt a lot more crammed with that option in real life than it looks in these pictures, for some reason. I guess you’ll have to take my word for it?
traffic_flow_3
Orienting your largest piece of furniture toward the focal point is a great starting place, but it’s not necessarily always the best option. We considered the focal point (the fireplace) and the traffic flow and landed on this layout.

Here’s a quick recap:
Easy steps to laying out your furniture like a designer would!



  1. Measure your room and your furniture.
  2. Use paper that you’ve cut to scale or a floor planning software to play with different layouts.
  3. Analyze how you actually use the room, in real life and not fantasy world.
  4. Decide whether you’ll need different zones or just one.
  5. Define your focal point and orient the largest piece of furniture toward it to start with. Lay everything else out symmetrically, with the seating facing each other or floating off the wall, if it works in your space.
  6. Consider the flow of traffic through and into the room. Leave about 3 feet of walking space through the main pathways.
  7. Begin tweaking from there until it feels right to you. You’ll know you’ve hit on the right layout when it functions well for what you need and it just feels right.

Have you ever had to deal with a tough room layout? How would you have done this room? What’s your least favorite board game? (I hate Scrabble. Can I still be an American?)

P.S.: Check out the rest of the Decorating 101 posts right here!

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Jill’s surprise makeover: the plan http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/jills-surprise-makeover-plan/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/jills-surprise-makeover-plan/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:00:07 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=20706 Two hours of pushing with no medications, not so much as a tylenol: that’s how my firstborn came into the world. He looked like a grumpy old man with pointy elf ears, and dang if I didn’t want another one almost immediately after. I forgot the puking-with-every-contraction part of labor, and felt myself romanced and […]

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Two hours of pushing with no medications, not so much as a tylenol: that’s how my firstborn came into the world. He looked like a grumpy old man with pointy elf ears, and dang if I didn’t want another one almost immediately after. I forgot the puking-with-every-contraction part of labor, and felt myself romanced and whisked away by the tightly-curled baby fists and milk-drunk baby sleep faces.
25555_898982474800_7902338_n
Room makeovers are basically the same thing. Except at no point should you be pushing eight pounds of anything out of your ladyparts.

But still: you forget the hard work, because the end result is delightful.

Right about this time last year, a few friends and I went in on a surprise makeover for a mutual friend. We had one week and about $200 to pull it off, and you can see the before-and-after here.

It was exhausting and addicting, and when Erin asked me if I wanted to do it again, I said yes so hard and so fast. We weren’t planning on making over a room: this one just happened.

This is our mutual friend Jill and her (gorgeous) family.
jill
They live in the house where her hubby grew up, but they’re renting it from his mom, so they haven’t wanted to invest the time or energy in really making it their own. They’re a busy family – probably just like yours – and the thought of tackling their living room felt a little overwhelming, plus they weren’t sure how long they’d be in this house, so they just… lived with it.

Jill talked all the time about the changes she would make if they had the time or budget… and Erin and I just steepled our fingers in a Finger Pyramid of Evil Contemplation and said “Eeeexcellent,” taking notes of all her preferences so we could surprise her with a makeover while they were out of town.

This is their living room:
living_room_before
These are the things Jill never loved about it:
1. It’s DARK. Like, really, really dark. There’s just that one tiny window and a door with a small window for natural light. All the trim is grolive (a word Erin and I invented for gray-olive) and the dark orange-wood bookcases and stone wall just contributed to the cave-like quality.
living_room_before_2
2. The layout is TOUGH. Right now there’s just the one sofa, with a distant recliner in the far corner. It looks like this:
layout
The room is long and skinny with a million doors and pass-throughs. Total head-scratcher for Erin and me on how to lay it out better! As it was, if they had company coming over, one person sat on the sofa, one person sat on the recliner in the far corner, one person sat on the fireplace hearth and one person sat on the floor. Basically impossible to have a real conversation.

Ready for our devilish scheme?

The challenge:

Completely make over this room with new furniture and new everything, for under $500, in one week, without Jill suspecting a thing.

We originally thought we had about a month to plan before Jill’s family was going out of town for a few days. But then at the last minute, we realized they were leaving for a different trip and would be gone for a week, so we’d have more time to execute the plan. However, they were leaving the next day. And we’d have one week to do everything: the shopping, the painting, the projects, everything.

*Nervous gulp.*

The process:

1. Analyze Jill’s style.
Obviously we wanted to make a room that Jill would love, so it’s not about Erin’s style or mine. You can see how we analyzed Carrie’s style – and how you can do this for yourself – in this post.

Jill’s pinterest boards were a big help. Her style skews pretty traditional/transitional, and she loves blues and neutrals. Here are a few rooms she had pinned:
calming-basement

Favorite Paint Colors blog

3cb3cc1e389859d0da986b03f69af7fe
Atlanta Homes Mag

cozy-bedroom-design-w8zqj7a8
BHG

That’s just a small sample, but the girl is consistent: soft blues, neutrals, traditional furniture. Makes it easy for us!

2. Find a better layout
We’ll talk about this in the next post, but we just couldn’t leave the room this way: it didn’t function for them. I don’t care how pretty a room is if it doesn’t work for the people who live there. Finding a more functional layout was a major priority for us.

3. Create a design plan
Did I mention we had one tiny week and $500 itty, bitty dollars? We had to use what we could find on a rush, in a week. So here’s the design plan.

The plan

The lead fabric
Remember in this post when we talked about the major mistake to avoid when you’re redoing a room, and how starting with a lead fabric will solve all your problems, fix your life and help you lose ten pounds? Meet our lead fabric:
Neutral bird fabric
Erin found several yards of that at a yard sale. For $3. MAJOR score. It looks just like the bird fabric in Jill’s inspiration photo above, and it has all the blue/grays and neutrals that she loves, with a nice transitional bent. (I have no idea what that fabric is called or who makes it! Anyone know?) (UPDATE: Thanks, Liz! It’s Heritage House Windsong fabric, which runs $30/yard. Win!)

We also liked that the birds are a little more saturated in color, so to keep everything feeling updated and fresh, we decided to bring in some graphic blacks and whites with teals and that beautiful rust color.

Here was our rough working plan:
Transitional living room design plan
Jill’s husband and her mother-in-law (who owns the house) were privy to the plan, so we knew we had carte blanche permission to change anything, including painting the bookshelves. The only restraint? One week and $500.

Did I mention we only had a week?

And $500?

And needed all new furniture?

NO PROBLEM! *nervous laughter.* *runs and hides in a hole.*

Stay tuned for all the details! What do you think — could you do a whole room in a week? It seems easier when it’s someone else’s house for some reason. Said the girl who’s on Year Six of making over our house.

The post Jill’s surprise makeover: the plan appeared first on * View Along the Way *.

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