Monday, April 22, 2013

Bedroom Makeover: Part 4: New Life for an Old China Cabinet

A china cabinet seems like a wasted piece of furniture to me. I've used this one as a bookcase in the past but it currently has a new life as a cabinet for belts, hats, scarves and jewelry. 

On a bad day, when I hadn't bothered to keep things tidy, I took this picture.  I have to be creative since  I only have half a closet and a nightstand in the bedroom for storage. I started using this cabinet to relieve some crowding. I also use the peg rack on the wall for hanging  scarves and bags. Things got a bit out of hand over the winter for a myriad of reasons. Notice the duct tape over the vent. Zebra duct tape is classy, don't you think? We were suffocating one night and at 3 a.m. it didn't seem like a bad solution to reduce the amount of heat pouring into the room.

Then, I woke up.

When I decluttered and painted this room the cabinet seemed too dark and somber for the new space. I love this finish but it was paint. My daughter and son both had reservations about redoing it. I pointed out that this is not that BIG furniture decision--whether or not to paint over wood. This wasn't the original finish. I also have other pieces with this finish and would never use all of them together in the same space since it would be super matchy-matchy. When did this decorating by committee start?


 Part of the problem with this storage solution is that you can see the contents through the glass.



I started by removing the hardware and popping out the glass, so I could paint the decorative piece in the door. The glass was held in place by these little pieces of trim on the inside.


Removing the glass made me nervous, but there wasn't a choice. Besides, I had an idea for it. 

 The finish was smooth so a quick dusting was all that was needed. I used spray paint, which seems like cheating but I thought it would work well for all the nooks and crannies on this piece. It gave me a smooth finish and made painting the inside much easier than trying to brush paint awkwardly on the inside. In order to continue making the best storage use of the cabinet and neaten up the look I decided to cover the glass with burlap to hide the contents when the door is closed. I used spray adhesive and smoothed the burlap down. Then I only had to think about which side I wanted facing out--smooth glass or the textured fabric.

I decided to place the textured side out and went about replacing the glass and trim. I added wood glue for a little extra insurance.


These things are always so messy...

Once the painting was complete (this project took 3 1/2 cans of white semi-gloss) I allowed it to dry thoroughly. 

 The last step was to use sand paper to remove paint from certain areas to give it a slightly aged look. Not too much since I was going for a fresh clean look.



We placed it back in its original spot and I organized my accessories. It's nice to be able to see things and painting the inside white really brightened everything up in there! 


 I love the contrast of the rough burlap with the glossy white finish. And my skeptical offspring both gave it high marks when they saw it, admitting that it looked much better and suited the new room really well. I wasn't sure how I'd feel with all this white but it is very refreshing.




Friday, April 19, 2013

Custom Roman Shade Tutorial

One of my daughter's friends posted a project she did for her new house. Custom Roman shades. Pinterest is brimming with several versions of this concept, but you know me; have spray adhesive, will decorate. I needed a large 60" shade for over the bed. I've never worried about privacy much before since the window is high, but my new neighbors have a boat parked right outside our bedroom and when they are standing in the boat, they can look straight into our bedroom. 

I purchased the cheapest shade in that size I could find, $54 at Lowe's. Buy the cheapest thing that has good hardware. What it looks like isn't going to matter when we are finished.

Decor-cat. She is supervising all these projects.


I wanted the shade to fall, when fully closed just to the window sill above the new headboard. I measured the distance from where the rod would go to the sill, measured again, then measured 3 times on the shade before cutting all those cords holding those little sticks together.

This was the scariest part!


Once you cut all those cords you can see how easily the entire shade could come unraveled. The next step is to tie knots in all those cords, to secure them. This is a bit tedious and I wasn't sure about my knots. Perhaps you know a Boy Scout.


Once you've got the length you want, ON THE FRONT spray your adhesive and then lay your fabric down starting in the middle pressing toward the edges until it's secure. I did it in sections, starting at the top.



Make sure not to glue over the grommets at the top. 


 The little flap that hangs down to cover the hardware needs to be covered as well.



When you are finished it should look like this.


So far so good, but there's a bit of a rough edge at the top that needs finishing. I used a thick canvas binding for this.


Now you are ready to flip it over and fold the edges under to "wrap" the shade


This bedroom window isn't visible from the street, but if it were in front, I'd have put some white broadcloth on the back to give it a better look from outside. 


In my case, just covering up the rough edges was good enough. 


This is the finished product let down completely.


This is the way it looks in the daytime. I am very happy with the way it turned out!


The cat supervises production, but the beagle is in charge of quality assurance and the stamp of approval.









Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Scandinavian Bedroom Makeover: Part 3: Dressing The Bed

Once the color was on the walls I felt so happy.  I'd already dismantled the metal bed frame and taken the pieces to their new home in the garden. They'll make wonderful trellises for climbing vegetables. Soon I'll take you on a garden tour so you can see what other kinds of recycling I've been up to out back.

So, the bed.

Phase 1: Getting rid of the dust ruffle, was my first mission. With it removed I decided to "wrap" the box springs with enough fabric to hang just low enough to cover the frame. For this project I used a painter's drop cloth I picked up at Lowe's. At 9' x 6' it required very little cutting and piecing together. I love a quick fix so this project was perfect. I measured the width of the box springs leaving enough to tuck under the mattress and to hang over the frame. Then I used a spray adhesive to attach it to the box springs and a glue gun to attach the bottom to the frame. at the corners I folded and glued. You could sew this if you wanted but I didn't see the point.

Ironing however. Ironing would have been a good idea.

Phase 2: For the headboard I created I used a 3' x 5' piece of thin plywood, the remaining drop cloth, fusible quilt batting, needled batting, gimp, and nickel upholstery tacks.

I didn't bother to paint where the headboard was going to go.


             I used spray adhesive to attach the batting to the plywood. I used 3 layers of batting to give it some cushion. If you wanted it even softer you could start with a layer of foam. Over the batting I placed the needled batting and ironed it all together following the manufacturer's instructions.




Once I had all of that ironed together I laid the canvas (drop cloth) over the entire thing and ironed it. I learned my lesson about that from the "dust ruffle." I then flipped it over and using a staple gun attached the canvas to the back of the plywood, pulling it taut as I went. I was so into this part of the project I failed to take photos.

The next step was to nail it to the wall. It wasn't that heavy and the nails were in studs on both sides. You could make a beefier version of this if you wanted to use a thicker plywood or lots of foam.  Below you can see it nailed in place.

Those nails showing aren't too attractive, but they'll be covered with gimp in the same color as the canvas to give it a finished look. I measured from the side to where I wanted to place the gimp all the way around the headboard. Then used a shot of adhesive spray along the gimp before securing it over the line I'd drawn. Then it was time for the upholstery tacks to give it a bit of sparkle. 






I was trying to be so careful to get the tacks in a straight line, but you can see the result. The tacks bend ever so slightly making them shift from where you start hammering them in. I decided having them farther apart would be okay. I removed these wonky ones. 







I had finished painting the accent wall the other day when I realized that the lamps, which had been about 6 inches closer to the bed would have to be moved to allow the curtains to hang between them and the headboard. Down they came, and out a few inches on each side they went. There is always something you don't anticipate until you are in the middle of a project.

Or is that just me?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Scandinavian Bedroom Makeover: Part 2: Decisions and Acquisitions

 I love paint. I'll basically paint anything that will sit still long enough. It's the Spanx of decorating; it covers a multitude of sins.

My overall idea for this room was fresh and clean with lots of natural textures. White for the room except for an accent wall in blue (see Hotel Savoy room from previous post). I was after a shade of blue that  reminded me of my inspiration room in Copenhagen, sailing through Swedish Channels, and the friendliness of the Finns. Surely not too much to ask of a wall color.

Have you ever picked a color because of the name? A friend's bedroom was Swiss Chard once. I loved that.

At Lowe's, I grabbed a couple of shades of blue my eye was drawn to and glanced at the names but the colors were either too gray or pale, too bold or dreary. I finally settled on Scandinavian Sky for the accent wall and Snow Storm for the rest of the room.

The blue was perfect but I was more than a little swayed by the name, I'll admit.



I really wanted curtains with a big weave and those massive nickel grommets you see everywhere. I found a pair at Home Goods and LOVED them but one of the plans I had for this room was to raise the curtain rod all the way to the ceiling and there were no panels longer than 84" to be found. I also began to think about how trendy those grommets are if I'm seeing them everywhere. Like the current rage over subway signs. LOVE THEM, but once I start seeing them mass produced, I'm no longer interested.

I decided to go with burlap and ring clips to get the natural texture I wanted. Meanwhile in Home Goods I found a pillow that gave me both a pop of color and that bird/branch motif I'd seen on the wallpaper on the hotel accent wall.

If I'm not sure if I'm making good design choices I pile fabrics, paint chips, and hardware together. If it's pleasing to the eye in a heap, chances are it will look good when the design is executed in a room. For bedding I chose white everything from Target and I found a shelf on the clearance aisle there with a clean design that screamed "ya dorka dorka ya" or something just as Scandinavian as that.

I'm loving the bold, clean look already.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Scandinavian Bedroom with a Southern Twist: Part 1: Inspiration

Spring comes along every year and I open the windows, clean them, and look around. This spring I feel a bit like those British housewives who tore down black out curtains after the war and realized just how they'd been living the past several years. I'm asking myself "How long have we been living like this?"

I'm not sure what happened or whether it was the acquisition of dogs and bees or the trauma of planning a wedding then some  unexpected life crises that caused it, but at some point the private rooms in my house became...neglected. The bathroom, office, and master bedroom fell out of attention getting favor while the rooms everyone can see-- living room, dining room, kitchen and den --were redecorated (There is a spiritual lesson there). At any rate I woke up one day, looked around and realized the bedroom we were sleeping in was depressing. Tired. Cluttered. Devoid of style.


The window over the bed has always flumoxed me. There isn't another wall for the bed to go on and it causes all kinds of design issues since you can't hang anything there and there must be window treatments. My charming new neighbors have a trampoline. And a boat, that I can see from here. Oh yeah, I guess they can see me too. The head/foot boards were originally part of a metal canopy. When I tired of it I took off the top part and placed Styrofoam balls over the open tops. I then painted the entire thing with a hammered metal paint and at the time (15 years ago) it wasn't a bad quick fix. Later, thinking we'd be moving and I needed to neutralize  I painted it this boring green and added plain white curtains. The bedding is a hodgepodge. There are 3 eyesores not shown in this photo since I'm sure how strong your stomachs are: a ceiling fan, of the shiny brass and dark wood variety, a window unit, and an old television much too large for the space with lots of dusty cords attached. 

Admit it. You wouldn't have known this was Styrofoam if I hadn't told you.
I have watched this TV a total of ...let me think...oh yes-- zero times.

Men crack me up. When I told my husband I needed to do something about this space he said, "Why? What's wrong with it?"

Clearly, it has a television so in Man World it is a design success.

I turned to Pinterest for "pinspiration" and noticed that I kept being drawn to the same kind of rooms: 


You get the idea. I finally realized where this fascination for white was coming from...



Copenhagen. Okay, more specifically an attic hotel room at the Hotel Savoy in Copenhagen. As soon as I entered I realized the error of my ways. White could be restful and calm. It wasn't scary at all. All my life I've been afraid of white the way some people are afraid of color and phone calls from their mothers. I don't think I've ever had a white wall in my home. Ever. In 30 years. I like color--what can I say?

The blue on the bed is a little dark and I'd need a pop of color, some textures, and no wallpaper. I love that bird and branch motif on the accent wall though. How to work all that in?

I'll keep you posted.