Monday, November 4, 2013

Gallery Wall Beginnings

I love a good gallery wall. I've had one in pretty much every apartment I've ever had, even if it was just photos stuck on with poster putty because we couldn't put holes in the walls. All painted canvases - been there. All frames in the same style - done that. Different frames but all the same color - yep.

Half the reason I wanted to paint the sunroom a dark color is because I wanted to fill a wall with white frames - the dark wall color wouldn't be so overwhelming and the frames would pop. Well call it me getting more eclectic or me being lazy, but I ended up not going with all white frames though I do still love the dark walls.

After looking at pretty much every "how to create a gallery wall" pin known to OCD women, I decided to throw them all out of the window and just use what I had around the house and put them up how I saw fit. I just have to like it at the end of the day - not the Collage Police.

Now bear in mind that it's still a work in progress (hence the literal blank canvas(es), but here's what we have so far:

Excuse the folding chair in leu of a real office chair. Maybe Santa will be nice to me this year. And excuse the sewing paraphernalia to the right of the desk - that's another project in the works.

I'm in love with the Goodwill find of a desk and the fact that it can float in front of the wall, like so:

Here's a close-up of the items that I currently have in the collage:

At the top is an oil painting for a tablescape in a great multi layer frame that I picked up at Goodwill for $4.99. It must have spoken to one of my former lives where I was a doily knitting grandma with 9 cats. And how I love it so.

Below that is an off-white ceramic bird that I picked up at Bachman's last year after seeing them all over their Spring Idea House. He may get painted though. That's TBD.

Below the bird is a painting that I made at a Wine and Art class with some friends. I couldn't find any image I wanted to recreate so I just smeared canvas around and got buzzed. It was pretty great. I call it "Mardi Gras at 4am" because that's what it will look like to you by then. It was also a little close to the wall color so I threw so light blue washi tape on the edges to give ti some definition. I may eventually actually paint a border onto it.

The large canvas next to it grounds the whole collage and will probably stay mostly white. I'm thinking of painting something pretty simply and graphic on it. Right now I'm kind of obsessed with arrows so it maybe something along those lines. I picked up all of the canvases at Michael's when they had a super sale one day and all artist canvases were 70% off.

Rounding out the bottom is a frames print from Kurt Halsey that speaks to my inner hipster. I try to crush it but every now and then she breaks lose and does some online shopping. Bitch. The small painting next to it is from a local store, Patina's, years ago. It's printed on fabric and I just love the colors.

Up above the large blank canvas is a small blank canvas - go figure and above that is the closest I will come to have any sort of hunting item in my house, resin antlers.

This pair was sold at Kohl's last year and was meant to be a necklace holder but I think he's just fine as is. Maybe he'll get a little extra bling come Christmas.

The other side of the wall has a large frame that I've had forever and may also get painted down the line since there isn't a lot of silver happening in the room and the "I" below it is silver too. I've had the "I" for years upon years that I got at an architectural salvage store.

I also want to get a photo wrapped around a canvas and float it inside of the frame, with some of the wall color showing in between the two.

Below the open frame is a printed canvas I bought at Hobby Lobby in August and seeing it did not help my current owl obsession at all. Seeing as how he was 50% off and only $10, I had to take him home. They still have him for sale if you feel he needs to live with you too. And of course, another blank canvas next to him. Eventually people. Baby steps.

And finally, there's a frame the houses a silhouette of myself from when I was probably 5. Yes, the artist even cut a bow into my head so you could tell I was a boy since my mother always insisted that I have short hair. The main reason - I hated to sit still and have my hair brushed.

So there you have it folks - I'm sure some if it will change (color) and I'll actually have to paint the canvases at some point, but overall I'm liking the asymmetrical thing we've got going on here.

Now onto the next 2 projects in this room - a bookcase for the opposite wall and window treatments.

- Lea

Friday, October 25, 2013

Reading Room Essentials

What does one need to successfully turn a sunroom into an office/reading room you say? Couple things: a desk, desk chair, reading chair and book storage to start out with. Me? I'm about halfway there. I made up this mood board about how I would LIKE the now reading room to look, plugging in some items that I already own or that are similar.

Office Moodboard by Living In Layers

DESK: I wanted a desk space so there was somewhere to store items and do projects so I wouldn't have to clear the dining table off every time I got it in my head to sew something. The placement is a bit more of a challenge since facing any of the walls would lead to bad glare on a computer screen as well as being disconnected from the rest of the room/house since your back would be to everything. Solution? Find a desk with a finished back and have it float in the room.

I don't work from home or anything so I didn't want to invest a lot of money into the novelty of a desk or else these were a couple options:

Langston Desk from World Market - $169.99
Liatorp Desk in white from Ikea - $299
Mid-Century Desk in Acorn from West Elm - $599
Hewn Wood Desk from West Elm - $1199

But since I'm cheap, I found the perfect desk last year at... Goodwill, being used as a Halloween display. I'm a sucker for vintage brass.


A vintage Drexel desk (part of their Heritage line). It was $19.99 and was perfect from my 80's lovin' heart. When I asked the sales clerk about it, she laughed. I guess the desk had been with all the furniture for a couple weeks with no takers and the second they used it in the display, 4 to 5 people a day were asking about it. They wouldn't let me buy it since it was being used as a display, nor would they let me pay for it and take it after Halloween, even when I offered them more money than it was being sold for. Jerks. So yes, I was there when the store opened on November 1st to claim my prize.

For now it's sitting in the Reading Room as is. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to keep it as is, paint the entire thing of do some sort of two tone treatment along these lines, but in desk form:

DIY Two Toned Nightstand via The Hunted Interior

DESK CHAIR: For a desk chair, my heart is pretty much set on either finding an armless chair and giving a go at reupholstering it or allowing myself to buy this beauty from West Elm, which you can see with the Hewn Wood desk above also, since I saved so much on a desk.

Saddle Office Chair in Painted Stripe from West Elm - $349

READING CHAIR: I already owned the exact leather chair in the mood board above thanks to my parents. It matches the sofa in the living room but I wanted to have them in different rooms to break them up so there wasn't as much brown in the living room and because it's simply too big of a chair for in there. It's prefect for a little reading corner (I may have taken many a nap in it at my parents). Here it's just hanging out in the reading room with a coral through from Cynthia Rowley that I picked up at Marshall's as well as a beetle pillow that I adore from Target.

Ignore the stack of boxes behind the chair, that's were the next and last essential comes in: 

BOOK STORAGE: One of the other reasons that I wanted a bold color on the wall was because I wanted it to show through the back for shelving that we are going to build on the two walls, forming an "L" shaped bookcase. I'm still trying to decide if I want some closed storage on the bottom so I can hide my crap behind doors or if baskets will work. For the upper part of the bookcases, I want to incorporate shelves that are painted like below, which I have been obsessed with ever since I first laid eyes on them:

DIY Painted Shelves from Design Love Fest

Rome wasn't built in a day, kids. For more of the ideas swirling in my brain, take a look at the Pinterest board I have dedicated to the Reading Room. And yes, I do have an OCD tendency to me. Thanks for asking.

- Lea

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sun Shower

My favorite room in the house so far is hands down the sunroom. It was a porch way back in the day that was converted into a finished interior room. The previous owners use it as a TV room but I would rather not get angry letters from neighbors about their kids watching True Blood through my windows. To me, it seemed like the perfect place to curl up with a book so an office/reading room it shall be.

There isn't too much actual wall space since one side is all windows and other opposite side is mostly the opening leading to the living room so I wanted to go with a really dark color since there was so much natural light.

I ended up buying a good chunk of my paint before I even owned the house (since closing kept getting pushed back and delayed) but I found a tried and true way to pick out colors when I'm not able to paint swatches.

1.) Go to all the hardware stores and grab every swatch you're drawn to, causing the sales people to think you're mad and damning Pinterest for having too many paint swatch projects. True story. My parent's live super close to Home Depot, Menards, Lowe's and Ace Hardware so I had a pretty good selection.

2.) Once you have a general color in mind, cut away any colors on paint swatches that don't fit that bill. I knew I wanted a bold, dark color so I focused on deep teals, blues, navy and indigo.

3.) Once you've weeded out off colors, start comparing the colors that you still have. When you hold them up next to each other you'll be able to see if some are too dark, too light, too yellow, too green, etc. to what you had in mind.

4.) After narrowing your choices down to about 4 or 5, I took to the internet and searched Google and Pinterest for rooms where the colors have been used. You need to look at multiple photos and ideally ones that have similar lighting situations to yours.

I was really leaning between 4 different colors for the sunroom - 

With all the wood going on in the room (from the ceiling to the floor to the windows and trim), I was afraid that going with a pure navy would get a little to Ahoy Matey nautical so they were out. Dark Teal and Rainstorm were both warmer but in real life Dark Teal had a bit more green in it than I want so Rainstorm it was. There were also about 5 different types/stains of wood going on in the same area so we decided to paint some of the trim work white since none of it was original. This helped to brighten up the room as well as calm the wood cabin feel. 

We also bulked up the baseboard (which were plain 1x6's) with some casing to make them feel more inline with the rest of the trim in the house. 

Both the flooring and the ceiling are done in the same type of hickory wood, the ceiling just has a darker stain on it. They both had the same problem though, the boards were not all the same length, causing small gaps on the edges. To fix this, we added quarter round trim to the floor and then took the same casing we installed on top of the baseboard, flipped it upside down, and installed it along the ceiling to act as crown molding of sorts. 

Only the trim around the windows was painted white, I left the actual windows the dark walnut they were and love the look and think it will stand up better over time than if the entire window and casing were painted. Here's a more recent picture that show it in more detail, Martha Stewart Halloween window clings & dirty windows included:

While I was not in love with all the hours of cutting in it required for the 3 coats of Rainstorm to be applied on the beige walls -  I love, love, love the color. At night it's more of a navy but during the day its a bit more fun. And I'm sick because I can't wait to put up my white Christmas tree in this room. Like I want to put it up tomorrow but will probably attempt to hold off until after Thanksgiving so the neighbors don't think I'm totally nuts. Do you have a paint color that you're dying to use or that makes you want to lick your walls, too? I'd love some suggestions.

- Lea

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Living Room To Do List

I love a good To Do List. Like crazy love. I'll buy any organizer that aids in making list and then abandon it 2 weeks later. That's how I roll. This has also become more blatantly clear as I find random notebooks throughout my house with the same lists on them. Doesn't really help the cause. So blog, my good buddy, you are hereby ordained my official list keeper. Get started!


Living Room Moodboard

Here's my somewhat comprehensive list of things to still accomplish in the Living Room:

  • Install crown molding around the room and the top of the fireplace
  • Mount the TV above the fireplace
  • Stain the cut end of the mantle to match
  • Have the chimney professionally swept
  • Refinish the hardwood floors
  • Paint baseboard radiator covers
  • Wax/touch-up baseboards, shoe molding and built-ins
  • Condition leather sofa
  • Get Craigslist Kilim rug cleaned and placed
  • Refinish Craigslist coffee table
  • Figure out DVD storage (another thing I hoard)
  • Buy 2 chairs (1 for next to the sofa, the other to the left of the fireplace)
  • Add wall art
  • Add some plants (that I hopefully don't kill)
  • Define the entry way (sofa table, wall treatment?, mirror, runner)
  • Install new front door, screen door and interior doorway molding to match existing trim work

Wayyyyyyyyy down the line once those things are completed, then maybe:
  • Figure out what to do about the hearth stone
  • Look into possibility of installing a ceiling light fixture
  • Get a different light for next to the front door (overhead?)
  • Find a rug similar to the rug of my dreams
  • Replace the molding around the doorway to the sun room to match existing trim work

And the granddaddy project of them all?

Decide whether the trim will stay natural or go white. There are STRONG opinions on this one from all sides. I LOVE white trim - it looks so clean and fresh and this living room remodel by my sister from another mister proves it. 

Are you kidding me with the wonderfulness, Emily?

BUT my woodwork is in such good shape. I half wish the varnish on it was crackled or the stain was horrible but it's in such good condition and you can't go back once you paint.

Le sigh.

- Lea

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    Living Room Updates & Halloween

    With the fireplace done with and painting out of the way, I would love to say that the living room has seen a lot of progress. Not so much.

    But there have been some small improvements.

    The only wired lighting in the living room (other than the 2 illegally wired sconces that got torn out) is right next to the front door and was a bit... germanic for my taste. Here a photo of it's twin, which happened to be in the sunroom.

    A quick $15 fix later - thanks to a sconce on sale at Menards and a seeded glass shade from Home Depot, it was looking MUCH better. Is it an "I want to keep this for the rest of my life" sconce? No. But it sure is an improvement.

    We also switched out the cream colored switches for white and installed a wooden switch plate painted the same color as the walls.

    My mom thinks that light switches and electrical outlets are visual clutter when it comes to a wall and likes to camouflage them as much as possible. Guess that rubbed off. Instead of Where's Waldo?, we play where is the light switch?

    See it?

    The joys of being able to turn your wall paint into spray paint. More on that little trick another day : )

    Other than doing that, we've pretty much just dropped the furniture I already owned in this room and called it a day... until I decided it needed some Halloween flare.

    Yes, that's my hoarders pile of DVD's in the left corner. I't a problem. I also still need to clean the vintage kilim rig and rug pad that I got off of Craigslist for $55. Steal. And mount the tv about the fireplace. Oh, the to do list. My mother starts to get anxiety if you list off too many things at once.

    Back to Halloween. I semi hoard clearance holiday items, I only really buy things after season super cheap but always go overboard. Hence the abundance of Christmas wrapping paper in my parent's attic.

    Wire pumpkin from Bachman's last year, Witch carving from Patinas many moons ago, ceramic pumpkin from Kohl's last year, random peacock feather I had from a Mardi Gras party in college (gotta love a themed party!) and a gourd from a little orchard.
    Pumpkin shaped candle holder from Tren D. Home last year, rando wooden piece of candy corn courtesy of my mother, "Grim Gables Cemetery" sign from Target last year, pumpkin from a local orchard, ceramic pumpkin jar left over from a floral arrangement at work last year.
    Pumpkin paper lantern from God knows where. Thanks, Mom.
    Ceramic "Treats" figure from Kohl's last year, pumpkin from a local orchard, white ceramic owl from Marshall's this year. He's my favorite (though he may get painted).
    For furniture, I can thank my mother for also being addicted to remodeling (they normally do a room in their house every year). Last year they decided they wanted new living room furniture so I was able to snag their old leather sofa. 

    The 4 pillows are all clearance from Target. I think I get a high off of buying things on clearance. The 2 gold ones are from the Nate Berkus line. Love. The coral knit ottoman is also a target clearance item and the blue coffee table is a temporary place holder that I bought (yep - on clearance) from Urban Outfitters a few years back, when they were selling off some display furniture. I have a vintage carpenter's trunk that I purchased for $40 off of Craigslist which is going to be rehabbed into a new coffee table one of these days. The side table next to the sofa is a $5.99 mid century piece courtesy of Goodwill. It will get painted at some point when I can figure out what color to go with.

    "Happy Halloween" picture frame from Target last year with terrifying picture from childhood (see the Instagram feed for a close-up),  seeded glass lamp from Target with some Martha Stewart Craft owl window clings, spider cupcake holder (that I need to put a candle in) and a set of Dexter blood slide coasters.
    I made a makeshift entryway with a apothecary type cabinet that I purchased YEARS ago, when they used to have their Global Bazar that would go clearance 2 days after it came out.

     I eventually want to have an entryway along these lines, with the cubbies as a sofa table:

    Entry Moodboard by Living In Layers

    Entry Moodboard by Living In Layers by living-in-layers

    Until I cane make that happen, you'll just have to get used to this greeting you:

    "Happy Halloween" sign from Target last year and a hook from Bachman's, Target spider cupcake holders (which again need candles), a glass pumpkin jar from Goodwill filled with yummy Pumpkin Spice Hershey kisses and pewter skeleton arm salad servers acting as the pumpkins arms.

    Or at least get used to that greeting you until it's time to decorate for Thanksgiving.

    - Lea