Sunday, May 29, 2016

Easy Coffee Table Decor

Every so often I like to post these little ideas I get on the fly that are so easy and simple I question whether to write about them. This particular idea is one such post.
I am always looking for something cute that can be customized to match your color scheme and be inexpensive.

Decorative sphere's all assembled in a bowl are lovely for the coffee table.  However I could not find the particular colors to match my current color scheme in my family room so I decided to get some left over yarn, and styro foam balls and cover them in yarn. The great thing is you can get styrofoam balls in different sizes and this helps when you just have left over pieces of yarn from your knitting or crochet projects. Add a cute basket and voila, a simple way to use left over yarn and make a centerpiece for your coffee table :D

Family Room Before and After

Hubby and I are constantly dreaming and scheming with ideas for home design. I believe to truly be able to help others, I have to make sure each idea is tried and true. When moving into our 1984 Colonial home we knew our dreaming and scheming would have to take charge and our individual skill set would have to come into bear.  On the list first was the large family room which was stuck in a time warp.

My belief, as an Interior Decorator is that trends are not where it is at in home decor and design, but timeless design is. That being said, I love to take an older home that was built in the 70's and 80's and leave my visitors guessing as to the true age of the home. That means "de-dating" it. When a home transitions from 1970 or 1980 it should glide into "date unknown." Why? Because that is lasting design. If you can't date the home you're looking at visually, you've done it right in my book. That means merging the past and present in clever ways and it should not mean costly updates.

The family room was dark and dusty before we took it into a new direction

Now I understand there are people out there that will love this look, and say leave it alone. My response is, if grass cloth wall paper and pine tongue and grove paneling "float your boat" by all means embrace it and love it. At the end of the day we all have to love the space we're in and I say do what you love. If done right almost any design can be a great feature.

Our family room before was a huge dust trap in part due to the glass cloth wall paper. It was also dark for my tastes so we decided to strip as much of the grass cloth off the walls-- a nightmare and go with textured paintable wall paper. We also painted the tongue and groove wood work. Sorry guys, but it's always a personal choice and I can't stress this enough, "do what you love."
Family room before and after

This is just one more example of what paint can do to a space. Depending on what you love, it can re-create a space. What I love is, it blurs the line a little between yesteryear and today.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Easy cabinet refacing idea

We all have had cabinets from one home or other that had old, original cabinetry that could use repainting, replacing or refacing. All ideas have their pros and cons but you can do this easy trick to get an awesome new look to your cabinets.
The cabinets in this kitchen were originally your solid dark wood cabinets that were built with the home in 1984. As shown in the photograph below:

The cabinets were in great shape, with a heavy lacquer finish. Overall the kitchen felt extremely dark even though it had a huge bay window (not visible in this photograph) to the right. The idea was to keep the cabinets since they were solid wood and paint them. However, the first go around with paint left much to be desired. Hubby used semi gloss paint and as a result the cabinets needed touching up every few months. They also did not wipe clean very easily and if one scrubbed too hard you took paint off. We could have removed the lacquer and stripped them down but with a long list of renovations to undertake, we wanted a simpler solution.

Here's an up close picture of the cabinets with the textured wall paper applied and painted:

The idea: High gloss paint and wall paper. Yep, wall paper. Textured to be exact. This idea has held up well over the past six months. That is how long I test an idea before I decide to write about it. We did not clean, scrub, or do anything special to the cabinets. I went to a favorite standby of mine, textured wall paper, with a bead board relief. We did not wet the pieces but cut them to size so that they fit into each cabinet door inside the mold frame work. We also did not wet them in water and then gingerly applied the pieces, we simply painted on wall paper paste on each cabinet door, and applied the dry cut wall paper pieces over the paste. and pressed into place. After that was completed, we waited to the next day and simply gave everything a fresh coat of pure white high gloss paint.
The result:

 This technique was not that expensive, a gallon of high gloss white, double roll of textured prepasted bead board wall paper, and wall paper paste. All new cabinets, and they wipe down easily, on both the painted wood AND the wall papered sections. It's six months and they still look new!! Give it a try!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Taking a vision to reality in home design

One thing I know for certain is that you can not be afraid to take risks. As the saying goes with big risks comes big reward. That doesn't mean to say you should throw caution to the wind or go beyond your scope of abilities, but it just means trying something that is different, and doable.
I work with my husband on every home design endeavor. We both bring different abilities to the you will see what we recently did to this kitchen dining nook below.
dining room built ins
© Dawn Gagnon Photography
I guess you'd say, we existed before Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV's show "Fixer Uppers." Which we happen to be huge fans of because they embody so much of what we love and believe and we share the same views in so many ways..
At any rate, this table did not come from a store, well, the base did. The top though was small and round and didn't suit our needs so with my vision and my hubby "The Donald" and his skills we came up with a solution. Simply build a top to the specific size we needed. Some molding and paint for trim and voila, we 're done.
Now the built in storage/benches made sense. Building those was merely about two by fours, one by twelves and wood trim to finish the edges off. I think it came out quite well and offers up the storage that gives the space additional functionality.
I can dream it, draw it, figure the materials and hand it to The Donald and from there he goes. That's how we work. We're a team. Donald is a little more wary of taking one of my brainstorms from paper to reality because he often can not "visualize" what I need until I sketch it for him. Once that happens, and he can see it, it "becomes."

It may not be something you'll see anywhere else, but that is when I like to say "well every idea starts off, not being seen anywhere else..." You truly can't let that be a deterrent. 
Here we needed a fireplace mantle, but I had a specific vision in mind..and with my sketch pad in hand...Donald was able to give this fireplace a cozy new look:

Once that idea came to life, well, you know I had to go further. The dreamer in me never gets rest and The Donald would say neither does he..matching book shelves we next on the list and I designed them to be simple, rustic and complimentary to the fireplace. I would tell others on this endeavor, to always start off with simple ideas and build from there. Experience and success come through trial and error.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Re-purposing entire spaces

Often we have rooms that have a purpose but in some cases, they may not function very well for your needs. When we run across these types of spaces in our homes we have a few options. We can make use of the space with space saving adjustments and scaled down furnishings,appliances, etc. Other options may be to see if there is a way to trade off one space for another in order to improve the function of both spaces according to your individual needs. This was the case here in these photos:

This dining room was stuffy, closed off and too small to seat comfortably a group of family members.

Trade off, small unused Formal Living Room will now be the Dining room with plenty of space for everyone.

The bottom line is you can't be afraid to try something new if it can be a better fit for your family. The old dining room now has a new purpose and function, but it can also be easily converted if needs change to a fifth bedroom on the main level, or even converted to a huge walk in pantry that can not only store food goods, but also house a freezer, and other kitchen related storage. For now it is a multi functional office space, with room for crafting, sewing and blogging!