Monday, March 26, 2012

Arranging Pictures

Hello  again.   When you think about  framing and putting together a grouping of pictures,  how hard can it be to hang a few pictures???? Let’s see Uummm,  tape measure,  hammer,  nails,  picture hooks?

Well,  you would think  if you could get the nails reasonably straight and in line,  everything would miraculously come together . . . wrong !

To display a successful picture gallery or family photos, you definitely need to do a little planning and a little measuring. They need to have a defined shape or flow. Otherwise, they can appear haphazard and contribute more to clutter than the decor. Here are a few suggestions for picture galleries. . . .

The master decorator Candice Olson uses “The Perfect Picture Wall” it  is a complete system for hanging 10 picture frames.   You can also add additional frames if you have a larger area to cover.    It uses a revolutionary template  allowing you to determine placement, height and character of frames all without measuring and before the first hook is ever entered into your wall. The easy to use templates safely adhere to any surface allowing you to “Pre-View” what the frames will look like prior to hanging them.

The templates also have a unique leveling system,  so that all frames will be accurately positioned and level every time. The “Pre-View” templates can be moved multiple times to different locations, above a buffet or couch, around a corner or up the stairs until you are completely satisfied with the location. Apply in just moments what formerly took hours of tedious trial and error! You only need a hammer, everything else is included. This system is dah bomb!

 ( family photo collection)

 For precise positioning ,  conventional wisdom suggests that pictures be hung at eye level.  This notion is a fine starting point,  but hardly definitive.  There are many good reasons to hang pieces above or below a standard height.  In any setting,  you will need to react to the architecture and the furniture;  you will also need to follow your instincts.  A few inches’ shift in a hanging arrangement can affect the tone of an entire room:  Move the pictures over a sofa or chair down a bit;  the area will become more cohesive,  cozy,  and inviting. Hang several over a desk – they’ll provide a refreshing view when you look up from your work.  Learn to trust yourself.  If it feels right,  don’t be afraid to do something a little different.

“The Perfect Picture Wall”

I love this grouping!!!

Emphasize a hallway by running a series of photos.

When it’s time to hang your art,  use the method that provides the most stability.  It’s usually best to use two picture hangers,  so pictures don’t swing or tilt.

HGTV’s designer Genevieve Gorder

More options from “ The Perfect Picture Wall

To view their  full catalog of wonderful ideas go here.


One more essential consideration is restraint.  You’ll want to leave some blank wall space in a room so the eye can rest;  what’s not there will allow you to appreciate what is.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our Kitchen Redesign part II

So let’s get caught up folks - before our kitchen island redesign,  our island previously had a lot of painted drywall and not much pizzazz.  Today I will reveal our ( just about) finished island.  If you would like to get caught up even more.  Please visit my previous posts on our kitchen redesign part I here,  and renovation hammer here.

(kitchen island before)

kitchen island 12 24 007

Our home is still very much a work-in-progress. Luckily one of my favorite color combinations is black and white.  Since it’s not in the budget to replace our existing cabinets,  they will remain a timeless clean white.  Our island will be a elegant smokey black! Robert will give our existing cabinets a fresh look.  Using larger crown moldings along the top,  and enclose the space above cabinets for a continues line up to the ceiling. At a later date we’ll change out the stone on the island, and buy a few more stainless appliances to finish off this room.

We accented the island with inexpensive beadboard, casings, and paint Ralph Lauren’s “Black Truffle” smokey black paint.

( newly finished island )

 finished island 001

Finished side profile with new coordinated electrical outlet.

finished island 011

We plan to remove the existing cabinet above the stove,  modify the two cabinets on either side to half the size that they are currently.   This will give us ample storage, stretching the space above the stove area visually, and leave plenty of room for our new hood and vintage subway tile backsplash. I can’t wait to say “bah bye” to our current travertine backsplash. Sorry about the blurry photos friends, our travertine floor really isn’t pink,  although it looks like it is! :-)

(kitchen below waiting for decor changes)

via aurora kitchen before 017

More on our dining room reno soon.

Don’t forget ya’ll,  I’m giving away one of my handmade burlap Easter bunnies! Swing on over to The Old Painted Cottage to enter, and give Jennifer “props” for her wonderful giveaways. Good luck to everyone!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Our Dining Room

What would you do when the your local meteorologist is forecasting heavy rain for the entire weekend??? 

WEEELL . . . .   ya know what we did??? 

Seen below is our dining room,  in all it’s “getting ready for changes” glory!  Lately,  I cannot get enough of  the vintage industrial vibe.  We snagged this (leaning against the wall) great old sign at a local antique store that was going out of business,  for not too much cha-chinggg$$$. It reads “ATL”short for Atlanta, “DIN” short for diner,  “Great” for great food. I thought what a “feast” for the eyes!

dining windows, meter, silverplate dish 010

Above our retro sign I plan to use a pair of these heavenly filament sconces from Restoration Hardware,  if I don’t change my mind during our redecorating.

restoration scone (source)

A nice addition to any room,  inexpensive and expressive is millwork (molding).  Ever since my husband purchased his new fancy chop saw he’s been getting his grove on . . .

The two windows seen below in our dining room,  he will be injecting the decorative trim moldings.

dining windows, meter, silverplate dish 010

Here’s a closer look at my vision.  The two windows with the black frames are what I’m aiming for.  If your not a fan of black,  you could use light gray? Or white?



To Start,  I plan to punch up these windows by using nicely sized moldings.

dining windows, meter, silverplate dish 011

Here’s a little trick . . .  to create a picture frame like molding,  we will glue two pieces together to create a thicker profile.

dining windows, meter, silverplate dish 012

Our finished piece will have a nice picture frame like profile,   and will be 5 1/4” wide.

dining windows, meter, silverplate dish 013

Clamp and allow to dry.

dining windows, meter, silverplate dish 014

First piece of molding going up . . .

dining windows, meter, silverplate dish 016

Use finish nails to hang and a countersink punch,  sick miter honey!!!

dining windows, meter, silverplate dish 015

The first piece installed,  woo hoo!

dining windows, meter, silverplate dish 020

You can’t beat the beauty of millwork,  big style, don’t you agree? The two windows set us back a “whapping” $68.00! 

dining windows, meter, silverplate dish 023 windows 001

These window frames will be complemented with Ralph Lauren’s “black truffle” paint soon.

Oh, did I mention I’m giving away one of my handmade Easter bunnies!  Swing on over to The Old Painted Cottage to enter,  and give Jennifer props for her wonderful giveaways. Good luck to everyone!

Burlap Bunny


Friday, February 17, 2012

Move away from the wall

One of the most common conversations I have with my clients is furniture placement. My goal is always to make the space feel warm and inviting. Quite often people make the mistake of pushing furniture up against the walls,  or lining furniture up against every bit of open wall space. Which only serves to make the space feel scattered and unfocused.  By floating your arrangement within the space,  your eye is drawn “through” the furniture to the walls and windows, focal point!

FYI A conversation grouping of floating furniture should be about 12 feet from the back of one sofa or chair to the back of one sofa or chair.  And you need some circulation space (30inches or so) around that area so the furniture can “ float”.  These design rules are some times dumbfoundedly questioned ? I usually reply with,  “ We must follow the rules or they might send the decorating Police after us lol !!!!”

Seen below living room designed by Candice Olson

A beautiful area rug over dark wood floor anchors the whole area.

SHNS photo courtesy HGTV

A great layout for a smaller space is this living room ,  the door opens right into one side,  and a console table keeps you from walking straight down that side.  But because the furniture has been placed in a nice conversational grouping in one corner,  people can easily walk through. Keep in mind ( for a small space) you can place the front your coffee table approx 18” from the front of the sofa,  any less is a bit crammed. For larger space 24” is adequate  from the front of the sofa.  If you don’t have the space flexibility,  try reducing the size of your coffee table. As shown below with this round ottoman.  You could also use two 24” x 24” cube ottomans side by side.

South Boston Living Room contemporary living room

  This designer brilliantly used every bit of space in this room. As long as you have a place to set that martini down,  you can even make do without end tables!!!! 


Light saturated living room  living room

The same principle applies to other spaces in your home,  seen below furniture placement video for a home office.



Simple sketch of floating furniture grouping,  notice how the sofa is pulled away from the wall.

make sketch to analyze furniture placement


Finally,  if you really want to create an open elegant room,  try changing your arrangement to create intimate seating and a sense of airiness.

Thank you for visiting! I feel blessed to have you on board!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Architectural Salvage and a winner!

The real key to a good design is to introduce the unexpected.  I always rely on architectural salvage to pull this off! Take a look at a few of these gorgeous antiques, enjoy . . .




Massive Ha??? Not really sure what it is,  but very intrigued by it’s size and aged patina color!!!


Congratulations to Tracy Fisher IN,

She is the lucky gal who snagged one of my hand knotted burlap table runners!!!!

single layer burlap table runner

Photo courtesy of A Country Farmhouse


In closing, I would like to share one of my Grandfather’s favorite sayings

“ Everything in moderation including moderation!”



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Renovation Hammer

We've got some catching up to do,  week two of our renovation.  I can honestly say it’s been super fun,  since Robert turned 50yrs old last April. He seems to be a bit more mature in his mid life. So I thought, ha-ha- once an adrenalin junkie always an adrenalin junkie.  So Cal had a bit of rain last week,  and he decided to go out for a mountain bike ride, once the rain passed  . . . Ooops just a bit muddy!!! :-)

muddy mountain bike

I’ve had a few “do-it-yourselfers” interested in the mill work I chose. The reason I like to work with beadboard paneling and casing,  is because  you can get a nice professional look for a fraction of the cost of more expensive moldings.   See below for a detailed list of expenses.

Our cookie cutter home has laminate coated kitchen cabinets. yikes! Curious about painting  - Robert and I paid a visit to our local paint store,  and luckily found out that laminate could be painted over as long as we prime! Yeah!  They recommended Zinzer stain blocking primer.

The drawers and doors on the island could be painted.  This will be a substantial savings!!! :-) I was hoping not to replace the them,  this will leave more cash for vintage  lantern above the island, and additional upgrades.

With everything primed, we were ready to paint the island. I selected {Ralph Lauren Black Truffle.} It’s a lovely smoky black color.   The dark tones of the paint will complement and blend with the existing white cabinetry. Thus resulting in a stylish eclectic vibe. More plans for our white laminate cabinets at the bottom of this post.

Seen below first coat of paint . . .


island jan 31 003



island jan 31 006

Existing outlets to be replaced with black.


island jan 31 004

Note to mom: I promise to clean up the unsightly clutter behind cupboards. Even concealed places must be tidy and organized. Right mom?

island jan 31 005

Remove all doors before painting.


Fine grade steel wool between coats, for a smooth finish.  Always be sure to follow with tack cloth.

island last day 003

We chose a marine varnish, to repel any water spills on painted wood work. 

island last day 002

Here’s a sneak peek at the kitchen island,  before a few finishing touches and maybe a faux finish? We might have to break out the destructive sander ??? Isn’t this “VINTAGE  BLACK” out of sight?

finishd kitchen island 011

Really makes a bold statement don’t you think? . . . . “holla” ….


finishd kitchen island 002 

Next topic of discussion, We are planning to rework the two main kitchen walls.  First upper and lower cabinets on the wall with stainless cook top. Plan of action will be to carefully remove the cabinetry directly above the hood then build larger hood surround out of ? you guess it,  more beadboard paneling and moldings.  See custom beadboard hood on our inspiration photo below.

beadboard hood

Modify the two cabinets on either side, to half the size that they are currently. This will give us ample storage space,  stretching the space above the stove area visually,  and leave plenty room for our new custom built hood.

via aurora kitchen before 017 

Second will be to select larger crown for the top of cabinets. We plan to use my favorite casing again to conceal the opening around the fridge.

via aurora kitchen before 010

Island upgrade expenses

two 4’ x 8’ beadboard panels $20

casing moldings                        $13

caulking                                   $5

paint & supplies                        $63

hardwood floors         Dream on!

Total                                         $91


WOW, I think we’ll have enough for a new farm sink at this pace. lol 

Thanks for listening,  can’t wait to share more renovation with you!