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Going Grey: Choosing a Paint Color

Happy Thursday! Thanks for all the Facebook feedback after my last post.  Grey is such a popular color and it’s fun to hear what shades all of you have chosen for your own homes.  Two colors many of you mentioned were also colors I’d considered for our living room:  Chelsea Gray and Revere Pewter (both Benjamin Moore).

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(via Southern Living)

I’ve had the above photo pinned for quite some time now. I just love the deep warmth of the lighter gray walls (Revere Pewter) as it contrasts with the island (Chelsea Gray). Both colors give off a vintage vibe and I love that they pair well with a variety of accent materials such as copper, oil-rubbed bronze, natural wood, gold, silver, and marble.

Knowing Chelsea Gray was darker than I desired, I choose to start my paint search with Revere Pewter. I’d  heard so many great things about the color, I was sure it would be perfect before I even opened the sample can. This would be the easiest paint choice ever.

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Chelsea Gray

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Revere Pewter         

Wrong. I loved Revere Pewter when I first painted it on our walls, but as it dried, it got much darker than I desired. Still a lovely color, but not what I was going for. After seeing Revere Pewter on the wall and observing the contrast between trim and wall color, which was greater than I expected, I knew I’d need to go lighter than I thought to obtain the seamless look I wanted. I took a second look at my inspiration pins and realized the wall color was barely darker than the trim, so I headed to Lowe’s and Home Depot to look for a paint color that would fade gently into the background and let my furniture make a statement. With more direction and focus, I grabbed a handful of light gray paint color cards even crossing over into the tinted white color section. When I got home, I held each color up against the trim in various location in my dining and living rooms, easily crossing out all but two options.  I set those two cards on the edge of my dining room table and left them there for a week so that I could monitor them at various times of the day to make sure they worked in all kinds of light.

I also searched online and found the following colors that helped guide me to the right shade and intensity:

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Cloud Nine (Benjamin Moore)

While I monitored my paint cards and pondered over Pinterest recommendations, I made one last-ditch effort to make Revere Pewter work.  I took it to my local Sherwin Williams store and had them lighten it by 75% by adding white to the original color.  Again, I came home, sure that I had made the world’s best paint color even better, but again was not pleased with the results when I painted it on my walls. It just looked purple.

By this time, I was starting to warm to one of the colors that had been sitting on my dining room table for the past week: Silver Birch by Glidden, picked up hastily at Home Depot.

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Silver Birch, Glidden

I decided I liked it enough to buy a sample. When I painted it on my walls, it looked nearly white, but as it dried, it took on a subtle warm-grey tint that just slightly contrasted with the trim.  I let it dry fully and then continued to monitor how it looked in the morning, noon, and afternoon light, and most importantly in the evening with artificial lighting.  I was pleasantly surprised that I loved the color variations throughout the day.  As different light hit the wall, Silver Birch ranged from a white to a warm grey, but never took on yellow undertones.  Sold!

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 The physical work of painting lies ahead of us, but the hard part of choosing a color is done!  If there’s anything I learned from choosing a color, it’s that natural lighting makes all the difference.  What works in one home might not in another simply due to lighting. The paint-card-on-the-table was a great trick that worked well for me.  It required some patience, but it really helped me to see how paint colors varied throughout the day before I purchased and painted a sample on my wall.

I can’t wait to show you the final results of the room.  We’re planning a paint party within the next few months – anyone care to join us?

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Master Bath Remodel…At Long Last

Since I was a very small child, I have had an obsession with claw foot tubs. They are so extraordinarily romantic. Synonymous with roses, candles, bubbles, and soft music, they seem to whisper, seductively, “Come on in, sweetheart. I’ll take excellent care of you.” They are therapeutic; step inside of one and all your troubles (pardon the pun) are washed away. While the other little girls dreamed of Barbie houses, I dreamed of having my own house one day. The most important detail within that house? My very own claw foot tub. It was so much more a need than a want–numero uno on the old bucket list.

It is with great pleasure and big smiles and a swelling, swooning heart that I announce that my dream has finally come true. A few months ago, demolition began on what was my final room in my home to renovate: the master bath.

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What began as a hideously green, small closet-sized room that was no longer functional, soon became double the size with the breaking down of an exterior wall, expanding (and almost doubling) the square footage.

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Then came the fun part! WALLS!! Sheetrock day is always my favorite of any remodel. The space finally is defined and bound, like a present that is wonderfully and beautifully wrapped. The jutting small portion of wall was a surprise. A giant plumbing pipe appeared with demo and threw me for a bit of a loop. Walling it up was the only option, which worried me at first, but it turned out to be a nice little feature, separating the tub from the rest of the space. I chose hexagonal tile for the floor because of its vintage look and cost efficiency.

The finished product is something that still wows me.

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That tub. MY (it is the most important adjective) glorious, romantic, seductive, beautiful tub. Purchased at a flea market at less-than-perfect condition, it was refinished and restored back to its former glory. Sometimes when I am soaking it all up (again, the puns…you must forgive), I wonder if there was another woman who once loved it as much as I, perhaps with the same struggles and worries needing to be forgotten, letting them all go as only such a tub allows. At first, I wanted to fashion my vanity from an old dresser, but could find nothing to fit the bill. I opted, instead, for a double-the-normal-size pedestal sink. I adore it. With a large Hobby Lobby basket with towels below and a framless, vintage mirror (thrown in FREE with my purchase of my tub at the flea market–yes, please!), it perfectly pairs with the tub. A simple stool, rug, and a few other small trinkets and do-dads here and there create a tranquil, relaxing sanctuary.

We all need a sanctuary. I feel like the luckiest lady in the world to finally have mine.

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From Blue to Beautiful: A Bathroom Remodel

Today we are so very excited to bring you the story of our first design consult job! Heather contacted us a couple months back, asking if we would be interested in helping her with the design of her upcoming bathroom remodel. It was rather surreal, as our dream of consulting was finally being realized. We headed on over to see what we were working with and…holy wallpaper!!!

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The floral wallpaper and blue fixtures were visually overwhelming and we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us, but were excited to take on the challenge. The first big decision to be made was color scheme. Monochromatic (all whites and grey tones) or contrast (add in some dark wood and color)? Heather readily agreed with our initial suggestions of subway tiles for the shower surround, hexagonal white tiles for the floor, and grey for the wall. The vanity cabinet, however, was not such an easy decision. After nights of pinning ideas, shopping online and in local stores, and wrestling and grappling over choices, we all decided finally on a dark wood, stream-lined, carrera marble-topped piece. Beadboard, a shelving system above the toilet, and lots of primary colors for decorative accents rounded out the decision making to transform this dated bathroom into a classic, yet playful bathroom suited for kids. Here are the fabulous results:

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The styling was an absolute blast. An impromptu photo shoot of the family’s four beautiful kiddos provided sustenance for cute frames, purchased from Target and Tuesday Morning. The artwork is a mixture of framed pages from the family’s favorite bedtime story, “Goodnight Moon,” a fun graphic print, and an framed anchor. The anchor is fabric from Hobby Lobby and the mat surrounding it was cut from scrapbook paper from the same store. An estate-sale frame provides the contrast needed to complete the look. Another personal touch comes from the fun, polka fabric-covered initial for the family’s surname. The fun vase on the vanity countertop is a recycled bottle, covered in yellow burlap, mirroring the whimsical knobs on the cabinet doors, another Hobby Lobby find.

We could not have asked for a more wonderful job for our first. Heather and her amazing family were such a pleasure to work with. She never got overwhelmed with the decision-making process and listened to each suggestion with great attentiveness and consideration. Thank you, Heather, for reaching out and giving us this opportunity to express our creativity in your home.  We hope your family enjoys their new room for many years to come!

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Design Crush DIY: Greeting Card Art

So glad to have you back for Design Crush project No. 2.  Today we’ll put those cute and clever greeting cards to use. Here’s the Rifle Paper Co. card that inspired this project for updating the art in my master bedroom.

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A clipboard is a cute and easy way to display cards, but I bought this card with another idea in mind.

Here’s the artwork above the bed that needed a little tweaking.

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It took me the longest time to decide what to hang over the bed.  The wall needed something extra due to the ceiling height, but  a large piece of artwork would compete with the bed frame. So, I dusted off some old frames, popped in some scrapbook paper, and painted our initials. That was three years ago.

However, something about the “A” had been bothering me for awhile, and when I recently found the Happily Ever After card, I knew it would be the perfect piece to make a subtle yet satisfying change.

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Once you have your framed paper ready, it’s easy to create

DESIGN CRUSH DIY: GREETING CARD ART

STEP ONE:  GATHER SUPPLIES

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Framed paper / Greeting Card (envelope optional) / Double-sided tape / Scissors / Photo Corners / Scotch Removable Foam Squares

STEP TWO:  LAYOUT YOUR CARD

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This was an important step in my case.  Since I was trying to hide the “A” I realized I needed to use the envelope as well as the card.  Laying out the envelope and card before applying adhesive ensures that you get the placement perfect.

STEP THREE: TAPE CARD TOGETHER

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I chose not to cut the cover off of my card before framing.  Instead I cut several pieces of double-sided tape, placed them on the inside of the open card, gently closed the card and pressed it together to ensure that the card would stay closed when hanging on the wall.

STEP FOUR:  ATTACH ENVELOPE

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Place the taped card aside and cut several more strips of double-sided tape to adhere to the back (flap-side) of your envelope.  Then gently press the envelope to the scrapbook paper to secure in place.

STEP FIVE:  ADD PHOTO CORNERS

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Slip one photo corner on each of the four corner of the card.

STEP SIX:  ATTACH FOAM SQUARES 

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Four adhesive foam squares should be enough to securely attach the greeting card to the envelope/framed paper. I made sure to place the foam squares over the back of the photo corners to  ensure that they stayed in place.

STEP SEVEN:  ATTACH CARD 

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Flip your card over and double-check the placement before gently pressing the card in place on top of the envelope/framed paper. The foam squares  will bring some dimension to the piece.  You can achieve less dimension by putting the entire piece behind glass or by using photo splits or double sided tape instead of foam squares.

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STEP EIGHT: HANG AND ENJOY

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I’m pleased with how this simple project turned out.  Not only does the card pick up the colors of the scrapbook paper perfectly, but the hand-written font and sweet little message are gentle reminders that, even amidst the struggles of life, I can choose to love and live happily ever after.

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Next in this DIY series, I’ll show you an easy and fool proof way (I promise) to create beautiful, hand-painted lettering.

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My Favorite Therapy

I can never leave my Christmas tree up past December twenty-sixth. 

This is one of my favorite days of the whole year. I am itching (literally, because the dry and brittle pine needles on my tree and garland are none too gentle on my skin) to get all of the holiday decor out and get things back to normal. I also take the opportunity (i.e. pine needles EVERYWHERE) to do some deep cleaning. When I’m done, every new toy and gadget is in its place, there are usually several bags of Goodwill giveaways, and I sip on some hot chocolate and begin thinking about the new year to come. 

I would say that eighty percent of my daydreams consist of bettering my home. I like to set apart an hour or two on the day after Christmas to make little goals for the house in the year to come. This year, I’d love to remodel my master bathroom (the thought of finally having a claw foot tub makes me absolutely swoon), finish installing crown moldings (living and dining rooms are all that is left), extend my front flower beds to the sides of my house, and brick my back patio. To save some cash, that latter project will be DIY, with the help of my mom and brother, who always come to my rescue when I get such hare-brained ideas. I also thought about how I will decorate for family gatherings, such as my children’s birthday parties and my sister’s high school graduation bash. I grin thinking of the possibilities and the memories. 

Another integral part of my day of reflection is going through my magazines (Country Living, Southern Living, and Better Homes and Gardens mostly) from the previous year. I collect them all from the tiny bench in my living room and have at it, tearing those pages I can not live without and placing them in an expandable folder since I’ve had since high school. I like to think of this as the original Pinterest! After I have purged these books of their gems, I cart what’s left over to my classroom, to be used by my teenage students for collage projects on whichever literature I decide we will delve into that year. 

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I return to my old, expandable folder often. Sometimes, when I’m having a particularly dreary day, I get lost in its contents. This is my favorite therapy. It is filled with so many visuals that make my heart swell. When I am remodeling a room, I take out some clippings and leave them out indefinitely. Much of my home was birthed by this kind of inspiration. There is this one photo of these GORGEOUS, worn, barnwood floors that I found when I was probably fifteen years old and I can remember thinking, “If I could have floors like THOSE, my life would be complete.” It’s no surprise that the first thing I said when I walked into my current home for the first time was, “OH, those FLOORS!” They are nowhere near as beautiful as the ones in that long-ago magazine clipping, but they sure do make me happy, nonetheless. 

Regardless of the time of year, it is important to take time to reflect and resolve. I find I often overlook any bad my year may have possessed. I think of the happy times, the goals I achieved, how far I (and my home) have come, and I send all those joyous vibes to the next year, knowing many more moments, and magazine clippings, of wonderful and inspiration are yet to come. I don’t know what I will do when I’ve completed all the projects I have for my home. Buy a new one, I suppose. It is the most wonderful addiction. 

No matter what is in your expandable folder, may it ever be growing and bringing you joy.  

 

 

 

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Something To Remember My Life By

As a photographer, I often accept money to capture others, but I could never place any value on a great photo. They are what we have to remember our lives by. When memory fails, they tell the stories that make up who we are. For years, I was unhappy with my Christmas tree decor, never feeling I could get it “right.” Then, last year, it hit me. PHOTOS! So I rummaged through the photos on my phone from that year, uploaded my favorites to the PostalPix app, and attached them to their respective branches on that happy day they came in the mail. It was therapeutic to hold those moments in my hand and display them for our family and guests to discuss. When the season ended, I put them together with a little twine, labeled 2012. I know we will look through them often and I hope someday my grandchildren will look at them and ask me about every captured moment, every smile, and see what a wonderful life our family has been blessed with.

 

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Putting the photos up this year was just as joyous an occasion. Our tree tells the story of our year, filled with lost teeth, dance recitals, birthday parties, trips to Disney World and the lake, fun with friends, and lots of big smiles. This prepares me for the new year and gets me in the spirit of resolution, wondering how I can make the next even better for myself and my children. And wondering what will grace our tree next year…and the next…and the next…someday giving me a pile of photos, categorized by year, giving me something to remember my life by, chronicling the two most beautiful babies, my greatest gifts–the only ones I ever really need.

Merry, bright, and happy holidays to you and yours.