July 16, 2017:
Hola! Where does the time go, Geez Louise! Half summer is already gone, and I am first now updating this from last December, tsk tsk. Bad Jan! So, been busy puttering around the yard, as always, and paying more attention than I probably should be to politics. The kitchen "remodel" is on hold due to budgetary constraints, but I hope to have that remedied before the end of the year. And I have yet to paint the guest room - it's only been 3 years now since I moved in to this version of Maison Newton, I'm not lazy or anything, nope... LOL! Take care and have a great rest of the summer. Jan

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ooks! Goofing Off Instead of Painting the Kitchen II...

I've got a few issues to deal with in the kitchen, and can't think about yard work or my little critters right now.

Darlings - take a look at THIS:


Where the hell am I supposed to put the line to stop the taupe paint? Where the soffit above ends is shorter than where the countertop ends on the peninsula below, underneath the upper cabinet, which is inches "indented" from the end of the soffit on top, and definitely not aligned with the end of the countertop, below!

Oy, look at that cluttered countertop, which is the real world and not cleaned up and "styled" for a  blog photo shoot. Well, this aint no fancy pants blog, that's for sure! This is real life, I am a single woman who works full time, trying to maintain my career, this home, a big yard and the equivalent of a second full-time job doing my chess stuff.  Geez, those cabbage-rose print sheers have got to go...but they really are pretty!


Look! I cleared away some of the crap off the countertop so you can see the end of it much better. And the problem of where to 'end the paint' is now made crystal clear, I think...

To the right of the peninsula is my dinette/dining area that is wide open to the family room. That wall (facing west) also holds a 6 foot wide patio door to the deck. There's not actually much wall surface. And, as you can see, my formerly white telephone that is so old it's turned rather creamy yellow with age (I'm not a smoker so it's not that) is placed in such a way that it would be difficult to run some kind of moulding from the top edge of the counter to the ceiling. I'm not inclined to go that route in any event, first of all because I'm no damn carpenter, second of all I don't have any moulding just sitting around waiting to be used and thirdly, I think it would just look silly cutting the wall off in such a way with a smidgeon of inches on the right before the soffit above and the countertop below, appear.  Just to get a straight line of paint?

No way, says Hera, Goddess of the House and Hearth.  HEAR ME.  Okay, okay!

Soooooo -- after thinking about it for all of, oh, two seconds maybe, there are two easy solutions: (1) DO NOT PAINT. (2) Paint the entire west wall (the wall that includes the patio door) in the dark taupe color.

While I was thinking about this, I swept the kitchen floor. I caught up in the broom what I thought was an errant bird seed (the seed winds up all over the place when I pour it in the cup every morning to toss out for the birdies) but it was a daddy long-legs spider. Damn!

I HATE bugs. When I see one in my house in my living territory (they can stay in the basement okay, I won't bother them down there unless one wants to do battle for territory), no matter what time of day or night I get the vacuum out right away and hunt it down relentlessly, and even stand on stuff to get it and sometimes fall off of stuff to get it, like if it's on a ceiling. I've fallen off chairs; I've fallen off the toilet in the upstairs bath; I've fallen off my own damn bed whilst trying to balance on tippy-toe on the edge of it hunting down an errant black "crab" spider on the ceiling, EEK!

But daddy long-legs I leave alone. They are so harmless and delicate. This one I didn't realize was even a spider until a sudden movement caught my eye on the floor as I was sweeping everything into a little circle in the middle of the room in preparation for sweeping it into the dust pan, and there it was, scampering away as fast as it could. I let it go, waiting impatiently for it to find a hidey place so I could safely sweep again. Of course, wouldn't you know it, it ended up nearly back where I first swept it up, but disappeared into a crack to go inside the lower carousel cabinet. I hope it goes WAAAAYYYY in the back and stays there. If it parks by the pole where the shelves turn it will get crushed as the carousel (lazy-susan) turns, should I start hunting for something on the upper or lower shelves.

Am I crazy for letting daddy long-legs go? Does anyone else out there do this? There was an ancient daddy long-legs who lived in my first floor bathroom for at least a year - always in the same spot, I checked it every day (no way to get close enough to tell the gender -- are they all girls?) There it would be, camped out. A couple of times when I was cleaning and sweeping in the bath I accidentally hit it with the broom and it was still alive after months and months, and it went scampering up the wall. I would finish up and leave as quickly as possible. One day, I didn't see the daddy long-legs and it did not return. So maybe it went to the DLL (daddy long-legs) Happy Hunting Ground.

Recently, in the living room, I swept off what I thought was a cob web near the junction between wall and ceiling where it begins to slope upward (I have a 2 story sloped ceiling in the living room) and was vacuuming away at the carpet when suddenly -- how do I see these things when I can't read to save my life without my Walgreens magnifiers on? -- there was this little bead scrambling frantically over the top of the carpeting back toward the wall. A daddy long-legs! It was a little black speck on the ceiling that I had swept away along with the whispy web. Guess who's back up in the same spot on the ceiling in the living room?  Yep.  Little black speck.  I made a point of pointing "it" out to Terry, my cleaning lady.  Don't sweep up there, I told her.  Okay, she said.  Terry "gets" me.  Thank Goddess!

How can I have a House Beautiful when I have daddy long-legs living with me in relative peace and harmony?

None of which answers the question about what the heck I'm going to do paint-wise with my kitchen. Logic tells me to not even attempt to paint it anything else except all the same color - and since the white I originally painted it when I was much younger and still had energy is still perfectly serviceable even after 21 years, what the hell? Right? Right? Leave well enough alone and all that.

But stupid me - I decided to paint the west wall (what there is of it) in the taupe paint. That inspiration picture HAUNTS me, HAUNTS ME, I TELL YOU! BWWWAAAHHHAAAAA!


How can any real woman's kitchen actually look like this, I ask you? But there it is. I want this fricking kitchen. Aint gonna get it, of course, unless I go totally, absolutely mad and take down the ceiling fan and put up a "chandy" (the word makes me want to puke) instead. I mean, really? A FRIGGING CHANDELIER IN ONE'S KITCHEN? Who the hell is going to clean all the greasy build-up off the crystals? Going to toss away those little shades every other month and put up new ones, are you? REALLY? Oh, just have the maid do it... By the way, is that some fruit turned black and petrified sitting up there on that window sill???

Remainder of "before" photos:


The east corner of the kitchen. As you can see, there is a sliver of wall where the cabinet DOES NOT MEET THE doorway. Damn! I'm going to paint it taupe from the top of the doorway down because the wall behind the fridge will be painted taupe and I don't want a silly quarter-inch line of white running down the wall - as if I could even do it straight to begin with! As you can see, since it's just me, I don't have a massive fridge that fills the entire space up. I have been toying with the idea for years and years of putting a bookcase in that space to hold junk and clutter - but maybe that's not such a good idea, since I seem to be a junk and clutter person when I have space to put junk and clutter. Something about 5' 6" tall, 11" deep and 36" wide would do the trick. Yeah, try and find that in ready-made!

That's the living room beyond the short hallway, where staircase to the upper level is opposite entry to the downstairs powder/room 3/4th bath. As you can see, my front door opens up directly into the living room. My house is not glam but I love it anyway. Big brown door on the left is to the basement, where my washer and dryer are, sump pump, assorted storage. Bugs, too. Although Terry cleaned down there this week with my newly-purchased wet/dry vac, so at least all the dead bug carcasses are gone now. Thank Goddess for Terry! By the way, she thinks the kitchen will look fab painted in dark taupe.  Oh and yes, that is one of those NIPPLE lights (GASP!) in the short hallway, just in front of the smoke alarm.


Holy crap, look - dirty dishes on the countertop, and the innards of the vacuum from the other day whe Terry was here to do the cleaning instead of moi. I've got one of those new-fangled cup things instead of a bag vacuum and Terry conscientiously cleans it out after she vacuums the house. There the innards sit until I figure out how they go together yet again snd snap them back into (more or less) the vacuum. The dirty dishes are from the steak dinner I made for myself last night. Now honestly, darlings, this just is not a "chandy" type of space. I mean, check out the glam view through my kitchen window. My neighbor's shed and my neighbor's house - and a utility pole - with dangling wires. LOL!



North wall of kitchen. As you can see, my space is small but set up in the classic work triangle, and it works well. Sink on west wall, stove and oven on north wall, microwave on countertop on east wall, along with the fridge (out of view). Peninsula, where the Norfolk pine sits, is on the "south" end of the kitchen and separates the working kitchen from the dining area. The kitchen is probably 11 x 11. Lots of cabinet space, a plus. Shitty job of cabinet installation - definite minus. I didn't realize until some years later and watching many episodes of This Old House, and other home improvement shows on PBS, etc. that I'd been screwed over by my builder. The model featured medium oak cabinets that fitted perfectly into the space. I hate medium oak. Always have, always will. I opted to "upgrade" to white Merrilat cabinets with a matt melamine finish and - at that time (December, 1989), the new "faceless" look. Hmmm, not sure that's the correct term but as you can see, there aren't any spaces between where the cabinets doors begin and end -- at least, there's not supposed to be.

As you can see if you look closely, the cabinets are NOT the same size across the back of the kitchen - they did the same screw me over job on the bottom row of cabinets. The fillers installed aren't evenly balanced, either. But instead of coming to me and saying "hey lady, these substitute cabinets you want aren't going to fit into the space the right way, what do you want us to do?" They just went ahead and put in these cabinets instead of asking me if I wanted to spend some more $$$ to get two larger (and matching) cabinets for the right side of the room (upper and lower cabinets), and I didn't see them until the final walk-through of the house. Yeah, I had a checklist but I wasn't paying attention to how the cabinets were installed, I was primarily focused on the fact that there were actually white cabinets with the proper handles in the kitchen -- except for the hole they left for a non-existant and never-to-be-installed dishwasher. That's another story.

The cabinets themselves are top rate and are still in excellent shape after all these years. The white, which has gone in and out of fashion continually over the past 21 years, is currently back "in" fashion. Stove is new - purchased in December 2010. Hey look! My painted owls are in the left hand corner! Cheapo set of knives I inherited from one of my sisters still there - I use them on occasion and most of them are still sharp enough to get the job done that I need to get done, including sawing through the occasional log...

Box on the right holds hazelnuts for the squirrels. You can also see my croissants and butter container out from this morning's breakfast. This photo does not show you all the crap piled on top of the microwave...



East wall of kitchen. There's the new fridge, purchased at the same time as the stove, in December, 2010, from the now defunct and bankrupt Appliance World Milwaukee. Sigh. Good thing I was too cheap to buy the extended warranty programs! Please ignore the empty wine box next to the fridge. That goes into recycling since it is corrugated. American branded wine! BUY AMERICAN, LADIES!

So there you have it. Red-tailed squirrel, back yard in dire need of clean-up which it ain't gonna get today or maybe tomorrow, either, and my kitchen with funky soffit area and uneven cabinet installation. Oh, and small fridge, too. Yeah, it's tacky to have chess pieces marching down the side of one's fridge. What can I say? And notice how the overhead cabinet juts "slightly" out (only by an inch or so) beyond the end of the soffit?

Such is life at Maison Newton. Hmmmm, why does my kitchen look two-toned??? I can assure you the top cabinets and walls are not creamy-yellow (unlike my antique wall phone)...

One more comment: I know this is going to sound really crazy, but decorating is a lot like a chess game.

Chess is a series of moves, it is true, but players who are "in the groove" move their pieces according to an inner "voice" that only they can hear, and it's like the pieces dancing across the board in a pattern that only the maker can perceive -- sometimes not even wholly, as the pieces almost seem to move themselves with no conscious direction from the human hand. Layers and layers and yet more layers, as the moves increase and the other player responds, and ultimately, a unique weave is created.

If the music from this movement on the chessboard sounds dissonant and the patterns of the weave seem random and not appealing to the eyes, well, that's just because we're not looking deeply enough. Just like the best of decorating is done in layers, from the largest pieces (furniture) and the largest flat planes (walls, ceilings, floors), to the smallest, most intricate details (accessories, trims, fringes, matt colors in a piece of art or around a photograph), it takes a thankful (even awe-struck) eye to appreciate the intricate beauties of a chess game as it is being played, and afterwards, looking at the moves and playing through the game, one move at a time, to get the feeling-tone of it.

It is the same in decorating. There are elements in decorating, as in chess, that cannot be readily defined - or even taught. It is learned to a certain extent, yes; it is part science, yes; it is part art, yes; but it is also so much more. I think that it is fundamentally a part of being human beings - that Divine Spark, if you will, that sets us apart from amoebae! It makes us yearn, crave, for more, always more. It is the expression of our creative urges demonstrated in a myriad of different ways. It is mathematics - the mystery of numbers, rhythym and pattern; it is music, it is an expression of soul movement. It is Life.  It is Love.  Decorating one's space, like playing chess, is the reaching out of the human spirit to create something unique and individual. Perhaps it is Goddess/God.

Ooks! Goofing Off Instead of Painting the Kitchen...

Geez, my backyard is really a mess!  It rained buckets last week Friday, was gloomy and soggy all last Saturday, and was nice -- too nice to do yard work -- last Sunday.  That same pattern is being repeated this weekend, except yesterday and today it's much colder, by some 30 degrees brrrrrrr, and we got a good inch of rain around here, so it's soggy again! Tomorrow, though, is promised to us by the weather people to be in the 70's and sunny.  We'll see.  At this moment, I'm finding it hard to believe as I've got the furnace turned on, it's cold and damp outside and inside, and I'm thinking about firing up the fireplace and moving to my workstation at the desk in the living room rather than continue here in the family room.

But I digress, darlings!  I shouldn't be doing this at all.  I should be busy up on my genuine antique ladder (I think it was made in 1340, around the time the Huns started invading Europe) putting painters tape all around the ceiling and trim where I'm going to paint my kitchen soffit and the area underneath the cabinets that lovely dark taupe color that will - eventually - be going into my family room, too.

I started out good, honest!  I got up before 7 a.m., fed the squirrels, had my coffee and croissant, checked the news, and I actually spent $1 yesterday and bought a Mega Millions ticket -- so I checked to see if I'd won.  Nope, did not win.  Can't hire painters.  Can't buy a house with a view on an island somewhere or way up on a mountain (but not a volcano). 

Then I started checking the blogs, and that's deadly to getting work done around here, oy!  Then I fed the squirrels again and that's when I noticed this little fellow - with a red (foxy red) tail!  Haven't seen him or her around before, and he or she sure is scared of me, and even of the other animals, so I know he or she isn't local.  Wonder where he/she came from?

I wasn't able to get close, and my camera, although it is a good Nikon, is a point and shoot from 2006 - practically an antique by now, darlings!  But I love it still.  It's only got 3x zoom on it and that does not give the best photos:


Squirrel is nearly centered in this pic - facing toward me, down below the slowy dissolving retaining wall.  Can you see the red in the tail?  Hmmm, no, this is not the best shot.  Also one big fat regular grey squirrel in the forefront!


There!  Now do you see that red tint?  It's not paint - at least, I'm fairly sure it's not paint; I mean, how could a squirrel possibly get just his tail painted red, but nothing else? 


Looks like the same photo, but it's not.  You can see the little flash of reddish tint in that tail.

He was down where I toss the bird food, no doubt nibbling away on the plentiful sunflower seeds.  Green stuff and my perrenials and volunteers coming up all over the place, and the wild honeysuckle shrubs that nothing can kill, not even my saw, are blooming out too, and I haven't cleaned out last year's detrius yet. 

He/she got really spooked by me and disappeared, finally, behind the picket fence on the west.  I'll keep my eye out to see if Red Tail returns.  I've had gimpy squirrels, aged squirrels, and squirrels with something like epilepsy (I call it the falling-down disease) hanging around in my yard for years, but I do not recall seeing a red-tailed squirrel before.  I have read that in Central Park in New York where generations of grey squirrels have bred in peace and relative security, some squirrels with red fur sometimes crop up.  I wonder if that is what happened here?  These aren't the English red squirrels, which are smaller and have differently shaped ears -- these are grey squirrels who have turned partially red because they don't need the grey-black-brown coloration to "hide" in their environment (trees).  Sometimes a squirrel can be right on the trunk of the big tree out back (you can see part of it in the first photo) but if it stays still the human eye doesn't readily pick it out because it blends in so well. 

Pleae see Part II...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Worth Saying Again: To Thine Own Self, Be True

As I was scootching around the internet today visiting some of my favorite decorating blogs and discovering new ones through linky parties and such, along the way, this evening I ended up at Centsational Girl's blog that I really really like.  Note to self:  Add to blog list.

My own "design philosophy" is reflected in my post of March 7, 2012 The Starburt Mirror - OH NO!

My recently discovered decorating "buddy," Debbie at Debbie-Dabble, whom I admire greatly for doing her own decorating thing so freely and fearlessly (I love looking at her photos at her blog, her house is so warm feeling it always makes me smile and happy in a good way, even on the crappiest days when I'm stressed out from work or just so damn tired I don't feel like I can go on another second doing this until I hit "full" retirement age - still more than 5 years away!)  -- Goddess! -- what a run-on sentence this is turning into.  LOL!  As I was saying before I totally lost my brain train for a few seconds there (sigh), Debbie-Dabble read my blog post, thought about it and wrote a beautiful post of her own on March 11, 2012 Are You an Original or a Cookie-Cutter? 

By reading the responses at Debbie's blog to her March 11th post, I realized that there are people - probably lots of people - who agree with us that one's home should reflect one's own true self and be one's haven from the world.  One's home should be filled with things that are meaningful to YOU, who live there -- photographs, souvenirs, funky quirky finds, personal art, collections, hand-made crafts if you are so lucky as to be talented in that direction, and your books, your music, your colors!  Yeah, if I could afford to have House Beautiful or Architectural Digest, would I do it?  Probably not, except to buy a home in a location with an absolutely spectacular view.

If I could afford a home like that, I could also afford a chauffeur 24/7 to haul my non-driving butt around town, or if I actually bought that island I've always fantasized about if I ever married the Sultan of Brunei (ain't happening, ladies, but I can still dream about it, heh heh), I could afford my own fleet of helicopters, speed boats and airplanes!  And tons of servants to do my shopping and such.  All I'd ever have to do is spend my days trying to keep this 60 year old body in decent shape and would even maybe consider doing - GASP - LIPOSUCTION...  Of course I have the face of a 30 years old (well, er, sort of, if you're drunk and don't look too closely...)

But that's just a fantasy.  Living here, in this house, is reality.  I love this house!  It's all mine, I had it built from scratch after falling in love with a model that I saw while taking a local Tour of Model Homes in 1989. 

Recently, the ladies of the investment club to which I belong met again (we usually meet 9 to 10 times a year, sometimes taking off over the T-Day/Christmas holiday season) and a month in the summer).  As we always do, over breakfast at a local restaurant and then here afterwards at the round table in my dinette, we shared all of our news and I filled them in on my latest plans to update the family room.  Their consensus was -- I am NESTING. 

At first I just laughed at that.  But now I realize they are probably absolutely right.  I'm giving this house a go-over that it hasn't received in years while I've been so busy doing other things.  In effect, I'm getting this house ready for my target retirement date, January 1, 2018.  Sort of semi-nesting?  Getting the nest ready for bigger and better things?  Have I conceived at my age through an Immaculate Conception?  Oh, never mind that last comment...

Anyway, I highly recommend that you take a look at Centsational Girl's blog post of March 26, 2012 A Purpose Filled Home, and the comments that came (flowed in) afterward in response. 

There must be LOTS of us who feel the same way.  So glad to be seeing this.  When looking at so many spiffy, stylish and smartly designed blogs, with lots of doo-dads that I have no idea how they do them, how the doo-dads work (afraid to click on most of the buttons and links!) or what the doo-dads mean, and all of the interiors pictured that are perfectly photographed and Photoshopped, designs that often appear to be the work of a professional stylist and/or decorator(s) at the cost of beaucoup $$$$$ (like the $7500 treatment for three fricking windows I blogged about last night) -- well, I wonder -- where are the people like Me? 

Thank Goddess for linky parties!  Through them, I now know that there are people like Me out there! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On Trend: Curtains Come Back!

Darlings!  They never left Maison Newton :)
From - get ready for it - The Wall Street Journal.

  • March 27, 2012
  • The Comeback Curtain

    Inspired by Fashion Trends, Windows Wear Sheer, Billowy Layers; No Swags, Jabots

    Curtains just got some va-va-va-voom.

    Some interior designers are looking for inspiration to women's fashion—specifically to the wispy, sheer blouses and pullovers more women are layering over camisoles and tank tops. The result is a layered, see-through window treatment, whether sheer curtains over half-opened shades, or textured curtains over sheer shades. [Ummm, guys, should have visited my bedroom, redo finished on February 13, 2012 :)]

    The window look? "Sexy," says New York-based interior designer Mindy Miles Greenberg.
    Ms. Greenberg recently helped Alyssa Kallenos with window treatments for the master bedroom in her 5,500-square-foot Mediterranean-style house in Hewlett Harbor, N.Y. The 42-year-old physical therapist wanted her bedroom, with three 7-foot windows and a fireplace, to feel "glamorous."

    "I don't want it to look like a kitchen," Ms. Kallenos says.

    Ms. Greenberg steered her to a moss-colored Hunter Douglas Silhouette semi-sheer shade for privacy, with an overlay of sheer, iridescent silk panels that just touch the floor.

    "It's like a bra peeking through a shirt," Ms. Greenberg says. Make that a designer bra: The total cost of the bedroom window treatments was $7,500, Ms. Kallenos says.

    Translucent, softly layered window treatments are showing up in urban and suburban homes as energy- and cost-efficient alternatives to old-fashioned drapes and blinds. These neutral-toned window treatments feature clean lines and literally no frills—and no puddles, swags, jabots (cascade of ruffles) or lambrequins (decorative valances), either.

    The simplified silhouette and color palette mean the look can be executed beautifully without custom fabrics, which is appealing to clients, even in luxury homes, who are still keeping a tight rein on costs, designers say.

    "Custom drapery is extremely expensive," says Kim Chapman, whose Chicago firm, Urban Environments, recently designed a bedroom bay window with four roller shades and panels of a sheer polyester for about $4,500. The client could easily have spent twice that much using more-conventional drapery fabric, Ms. Chapman says. "People are staying as minimalist and as cost-effective as they can."

    The layered look has evolved alongside a broad trend in home design toward emphasizing windows. "The thinking is all about bringing the outside in, and 'outside living,' " says Laura Larkin, an interior designer in San Rafael, Calif. "You're able to do that with big windows."

    Floor-to-ceiling windows can, though, make a room too bright, too hot, too cold or too exposed to nosy neighbors and passersby. Sheer layers as window treatments can provide privacy and energy efficiency yet also preserve the panoramic view or wide-open feel.

    The look has few elements to collect dust. But window fabrics, no matter what kind, require dry-cleaning every two-to-five years, says Linda Farahnik, showroom director for Distinctive Window Treatment Plus, a custom fabricator in New York. Periodic light vacuuming helps with dust control.

    These are some of the considerations Nancy Crabill, 39, had in mind when addressing the bay window in the master bedroom of the home she and her 8-year-old son moved into last May. Working with Ms. Chapman, the Chicago designer, she placed a cream-colored Juliette sofa next to the window, made up of four 6-foot panes overlooking big trees on a sunny sidewalk. She enjoys reading and sipping coffee there one morning a week. "It's my most uninterrupted time," she says.


    Ms. Crabill wanted a sheer layer of drapes overlaying roller shades in a pearl color; she wanted blackout shades for maximum light-control at night. When the shades are up, the drapes filter the daylight softly and billow pleasantly if the windows are open. They look like "a flowy, sexy dress that always makes a woman look amazing," Ms. Crabill says.

    Many sheer window treatments incorporate a high-tech layer of protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, which can penetrate regular window glass and damage skin, discolor fabrics and overheat rooms.

    A layer of protective film, like the kind once found mainly in cars, is mounted onto the glass window panes. High-performance window film typically is cut to size and professionally installed by a dealer-representative affiliated with a manufacturer such as 3M Corp. or Solar Gard.

    The total cost for a 2,500-square-foot home with 30 windows near New York City is approximately $1,500 to $3,000, or $50 to $100 per window, with an estimated 15% annual savings in cooling costs of about $186, according to 3M's online cooling-savings calculator.

    Window films generally can cut down glare by more than half and block up to 99.9% of UV rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation in New York. (The foundation vets products that claim to be UV-protective and recommends those it believes pass muster, including window films.)

    A "solar shade" is frequently used as a sleek second layer of UV protection, even in a traditional window design. Semitransparent when pulled down, solar shades filter UV rays and heat, creating an effect something like putting sunglasses on a window.

    Popular for a while in commercial buildings and industrial-looking condos, the shades have been showing up in mainstream residential designs, says Brooke Traeger, associate chair of interior design at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C.

    "They replace the old look of vertical blinds with a very clean aesthetic," says Ms. Traeger. Or "you can use them in addition to a soft drapery and you don't even know it's there."

    Catalog retailer Smith & Noble last year more than doubled its solar-shade offerings, adding more textures, colors and styles. Solar shades "started very techie-looking and didn't fit into every residential application," says JoEllen Ropele, merchandising manager. Now, though, they are available in soft, fashionable fabrics "that are more acceptable in the residential market," she says.

    The final layer is often panels of loose-weave or sheer fabric hanging in soft drapes to the floor. Panels of metallic-link drapes, which have been common in sophisticated restaurants and hotels, were until recently rarely used in residences. One reason may be price: Metal-link drapes on one standard-size window recently cost one of her clients $1,300, Ms. Greenberg says.

    Alene Workman, an interior designer in Hollywood, Fla., is using solar shades on the 10-foot floor-to-ceiling windows found in every room of a 10,000-square-foot, 26th-floor penthouse in an ocean-front building in Bal Harbour, Fla. "You can see Cuba on one side and New York on the other," she says.

    Her assignment was to design windows with protection from bright light and baking sun while preserving the clean d├ęcor, including off-white fabrics, marble floors and contemporary furniture made of stone and honey-toned wood.

    The owner had window film applied, followed by white "sheer-weave" motorized solar shades to filter light but leave the view intact. Shades operating by wall-mounted controls disappear into a recessed ceiling pocket when not in use. Sheer, white-wool side panels hang in room corners and "soften the overall effect," Ms. Workman says.

    In traditional drapery, the rule of thumb is to measure fabric at three times the window width, resulting in folds of excess fabric known as the "stack." Once, the stack might have covered up to a third of the entire window. "Now, I want to get all the fabric off," says Ms. Larkin, the California designer. Instead of measuring fabric at three times the width, she measures the sheer outer layer at 1½ times the width.

    Designers warn that sheer layers can look chintzy if relying solely on inexpensive fabrics. The look can also skew industrial if done with just sleek solar shades and no softening layers, says Ms. Larkin. The trick is to take a little sleek and a little soft, and coordinate, she says.
    *************************************************************************
    Top image is from my bedroom redo, February 13, 2012.  I've had the components of this look for 21 years:  Shari lace undercurtain covered by pale cream 84" long semi-sheer seeded batiste panels (2).  J.C. Penney.  Both curtains machine washable, both holding up extremely well, both having been used practically non-stop in my household. 

    $7,500 to cover three windows?  Really?  Really?

    Delivery and Unexpected Guests

    My new area rug arrived today!  It was leaning up against the door when I got home.  Man, that sucker is heavy.  I had a time dragging it into the house.  And then after looking at the labels I was sure Overstock had sent me the wrong rug.  So I dragged it further into the house, all the way to the kitchen where the overhead lights are nice and bright.  I cut off the top part of the plastic wrapping and peeled it part-way down so I could get a look at the rug.

    From what I was able to see of the pattern and colors, I now am pretty sure it is the correct rug.  I learned from the label that it was made in India - relief there! It's a Safavieh hand-tufted wool (with cotton backing and a whopping .6" high pile) and I'm sooooooo happy!  Less than $160 including shipping for it.  Patting myself up and down my back with both hands :)

    I'm leaving it wrapped for now, with the top plastic off so it can air out, because the rug has an odor.  Smells like a chemical - perhaps it was treated with some kind of pesticide or something before shipping.  Anyway, I dragged it out to the garage where it will stay until the family room is ready for it.


    From what I could tell, the colors are very true to the photo at Overstock.com and the field "blue" color is a slightly light to medium dusty blue-green-aqua and beautiful!  I quick ran and got Mr. Horsey and held him up against the color and they are so perfect together!  Extra impetus to get the family room DONE asap so I can roll out the rug and see it in different light throughout the day and get a real good feel for its color-tones if some accessories in just the right color happen to come my way...and sink my bare toes into it at the end of a long hard day.  Ahhhh.....

    So, I get home tonight and go through my routine.  Check the mail, open up the patio door to let in a bit of fresh air, throw some nuts out of the squirrels.  They start coming when I whistle, and then they start freaking out and run for high ground.  Way high ground - higher than I've seen them climb before.  What the heck?  I look out the door to see if there's a cat around, or maybe a stray doggy, but I don't see anything.  Is it the hawk then, perched somewhere above where I can't see her?  But they've seen all of these potential threats before, and have never acted like this...

    So, I step out further on the deck and that's when I saw them, just on the other side of the fence along the south lot line.  Two BIG birds - don't know what kind they are.  I ran to get my camera but by the time I dashed back outside (I couldn't have been in the house any longer than 15 seconds) they were already fast disappearing from view.  So, I stuck around on the deck for a little while and then I slowy headed on an angle toward the corner of the fence.  Then one appeared in view, saw me and trotted fast around the corner of a neighbor's house.  The second bird then appeared off the neighbor's deck, looked at me for a split second, and followed the first bird.  I was able to get off two shots but I'm no photographer!  I hit the zoom but I obviously didn't hit it the right way because it didn't work.

    Anyway, here are the two photos of these birds:


    Can you see the bird?  Is it a turkey?  I thought I heard something at one point - it sort of sounded like a peacock but come one, we don't have peacocks in Wisconsin.  LOL!  That was bird one, lighting out toward the corner of my neighbor's house.


    Damn!  There went bird two right around the corner - can you see him?  LOL!

    With this crazy non-winter we had, and this unusually early spring (although frost warnings on for tonight and the next few days), I can't help but wonder what is walking around out there that shouldn't be here!  Are the animals as confused by all of this as the plants, trees, and WE are?

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    Owls, Owls Everywhere...

    Hola!
    I saw this cute little owl last week at life.love.larson blog:


    He is gorgeous!  I won't show you the "before" photo here - that would spoil the surprise!

    He (or she) reminded me of my own owls, who were sitting on a large cardboard box in the garage waiting their final coats of spray paint.  It took me some time to get this little project done!


    Here they are!  It took coats and coats of high gloss spray paint to get them to this point and they STILL aren't white (or evenly coated either, but shhhhh, I won't tell if you won't).  My owls turned out a creamy color -- it's a pretty color, but it isn't bright white!  And wouldn't you know it, when I was at Menard's last Friday I forgot to get another can of spray paint to see if a different brand would help make them more "white."  Sigh.  Overall, I am very pleased with how they turned out.  But it took many many coats of paint, mostly very thin until I got impatient near the end, to get to this point.  I don't understand why this is when accounts I've read about people spray painting their owls talk about only a "couple" coats of paint and voila, you have a gorgeous little bright shiny white owl like the top image! 

    You can see my "before" owls in my blog post of February 23, 2012!  Over a month ago, geez Jan!
    And here is a progress report with a photo of partially painted owls from March 11, 2012.  Geez, Jan!  Well, I did finish up my owls Saturday night, and brought them into the house Sunday morning after I was sure the paint had "set."  So they've been on the kitchen counter for a few days.  But to get the fading light, I photographed them on the dinette table tonight. 

    I am tickled pink that owls are such a craze these days, and are showing up in households I would never expect to see them in ordinarily.  That is because the owl is an ancient symbol of the Mother Goddess, and a specific symbol of the Greek Goddess Athene or Athena, the Goddess of War and Wisdom -- some combination of attributes, heh?  Personally, I think we all could use a LOT more Goddess love together with a healthy dose of Athena's wisdom spread around the globe these days.  And yeah, maybe we need Athena to go around and bop some of our silly male politicians on top their big old heads and knock a little sense into 'em. 

    Some prior posts on the owl and Athena (these are from the Chess, Goddess and Everything blog):

    The Owl
    From Barbara G. Walker's "A Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets." See also prior posts on Athena:
    http://goddesschess.blogspot.com/2008/01/little-owl-of-athens.html
    http://goddesschess.blogspot.com/2007/10/athena-goddess-of-serpent.html
    More painted owls:
     
     
    There is no "before" pic for this cutey (above) from Vintage Revivals blog, July 30, 2010. 
     
     
    This interesting revamp with white spray paint is from High Heels and Hammer blog, April 29, 2010.  The original owl cost the blogger $2.99 at Goodwill!  There is a "before" picture at this post.  There seems to be something really strange about this owl's eyes, though.  I think the spray paint irritated the hell out of this little guy and his eyes bulged out just to get even with his new owner so he still looks funky-weird!
     
     
    This was a brown votive candle holder in its former life before it was rescued from Goodwill by the blogger at J & K, April 14, 2011.  She photographed the "before" picture from the back, where the owl also had eyes - literally on the back of its head.  OHMYGODDESS, now how spooky is that???

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    Inspiration to the Rescue!

    Hola!

    Well, I've been picking away at this blasted wallpaper since Friday off and on; 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there, blah blah blah.  I'm to the point where I need to move the bookshelves and entertainment center, and I am really really not ready to do that yet, mentally.

    Yech!

    This wallpaper is fighting all the way.  It sure does not want to come off the wall; and in areas, it's taking parts of the wall with it.  Sigh.

    I really cannot tackle a wet and scrape job during at night after work.  So, this will have to wait until next weekend.  Meanwhile, I'm picking away here and there trying to get at least the top vinyl part off and even that is proving problematic!

    Yeah, I know I know I should have done the slash, spray and scrape thing but ya know - I took wallpaper off before and didn't have to do any of that jazz to get it off. Well, so this room re-do is going to come somewhat harder than I thought.

    I am stoked, though, by having ordered my beautiful new area rug (I really shouldn't have spent the money, it's absolutely not in the budget, but I did it anyway), the chair rail and the paintable high relief patterned wallpaper!  The wallpaper has shipped! So has the rug!  That will keep me on track, because I sure won't want them stashed in the garage forever!

    To further gird my figurative loins, I just love these rooms:

    Suitable title, this photo from Inspiration for Decoration --


    Love this room from A Touch of Luxe --


    Oh my, and this incredible kitchen that I never expected to find at Decorpad --


    I just didn't think of this color combination in connection with a kitchen!  Talk about being blind!

    The dark dramatic wall color (described as grey taupe in all three images) -- well, mine isn't exactly "grey" taupe, it's probably got a hint of brown in it rather than grey.  But the white ceilings, white trim and in the top photo, the white lower walls -- exactly what I plan to do in a more modest way in my family room.  My lower walls won't be great built-in casegoods and paneling, but for the first time I'm going to have an honest-to-goddess chair rail that will divide the dark painted upper walls from pristine white lower textured papered walls.

    And that glorious kitchen! I have a soffit above my white cabinets just like the one in the photo above -- I have white cabinets (not as fancy, mine are plain-faced melamine). That soffit and the area underneath my kitchen cabinets to the countertops will look fabulous painted the taupe color that I'm going to use in the family room!  I don't have white marble countertops -- mine are black faux granite builder's grade laminate.  Not having a greyish taupe will work to my benefit in the kitchen with those black speckled countertops, me thinks. 

    Oooooh, can't wait to paint.  And the wonderful thing about doing the kitchen is -- no wallpaper to remove.  Maybe just a little bit of washing and touch-up priming.  And now I really have an incentive to repaint my cabinet and drawer pulls too...  Already got the paint - hammered oiled bronze.  It will look gorgeous with the taupe paint color I picked out. 

    I just love it when a plan comes together - and the original plan didn't even include the kitchen! 

    Sunday, March 25, 2012

    The Look for Less: Louis Phillipe Bedroom Furniture

    We've all seen their gorgeous furniture featured in fine design and decorating magazines: Grange of France!  If you haven't visited their website yet, you're in for a visual treat!  I've been salivating over Grange furniture in ad-verts in Traditional Home for years and years.  By the way, this is not a paid advertisement for Grange! 

    Among other design lines, Grange produces a very fine line of Louis Phillipe style furniture. The finish I think a lot of us asociate with Louis Phillipe is a classic medium to dark cherry -- the same color I fell in love with years ago when I bought my very first (and only) bedroom set at Hack's in a French Provincial style (NOT Louis Phillipe, which I didn't know anything about back then -- circa 1977 or 1978).  But Grange produces its Louis Phillipe line (not limited to bedroom furniture) in a whole range of finishes.

    I'm picking out just a few items and then comparison shopping to show you what's available at various price points.  I know I cannot afford Grange - you know, one of those catalogs where prices are not listed.  It's like practically hand-made and that always equates with UBER EXPENSIVE.  It's drop-dead gorgeous furniture made from all wood, etc. etc. etc.
    Double dresser with three extra "secret" drawers across
    the top.


    "3" drawer nightstand - plus "secret drawer.
    Sleigh bed.  It's not clear from the specs, but I
    believe the headboard, footboard and side boards
    (plus rails) are included.

    NOT your typical Made in China wood composite stuff.  Hell, even my beloved bedroom set has plastic wood on it!  And it was EXPENSIVE back then.  I seem to recall that I paid $398 back in 1977 or 1978 (that was a LOT of money, particularly on my $83.00 net a week wages)
    for a bedroom set consisting of double bed (with mattress and box spring) of head board and frame, triple dresser and tri-fold mirror, night stand, and bureau -- I still call it a bureau, but these days it's just called a chest of drawers. 

    Anyway, these days there are plenty of "Louis Phillipe" look-alikes readily available online to order at outrageously inexpensive prices!  Yeah, I know, I picked an easy one :)

    Set 1 for your consideration, from thefurniture.com:  From Coaster fine Furniture for $1,061.00,  Louis Phillipe Traditional Sleigh Bedroom Set in Cherry Finish. FREE SHIPPING

    This rich set consists of dresser, mirror, complete traditional Sleigh Bed and 1 nightstand.
    Features select solid cherry wood
    Veneers in cherry finish.
      


    The nightstand is not the three-drawer with hidden drawer version, and this version includes a mirror, which I did not include above.  By the way, at the Grange website I did not see this curved top style mirror, only a plain rectangular framed mirror.  The tall dresser is not included in the set.

    Set 2 for your consideration, found at Amazon.com:  From Kings Brand Furniture, sold by Moysha Home Furnishings for $751 plus shipping (which could cost a LOT),

    Product Features

    • Set included Queen Size Headboard, Foot board, Rails, Dresser, Mirror, and (1) Night Stand
    • Contact Us for Prices on Individual Pieces.
    • This Classy Louis philippe set features solid cherry & veneers, wood on wood drawer glides, all wood drawers
    • Dimensions : Dresser: 61"Wx18"Dx35"H, Mirror: 39"Wx1"Dx40"H, Headboard: 64"Wx4"Dx48"H, Footboard:64"Wx4"Dx40"H, Night Stand:22"Wx16"Dx24"H.
    • Simple assembly required.

    Product Details

    Shipping Weight: 160 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
    Two drawer nightstand shown in the photograph, not the three drawer nightstand I showed from the Grange website.

    Set 3 for your consideration, found at Amazon.com: also by Coaster, offered by Visiondecor Furniture for $671.40 plus shipping,

    Product Description

    You will receive a total of 1 Queen size bed, 1 nightstand, 1 dresser and 1 mirror. Bed: 90"L x 63"W x 47"H Nightstand: 26"L x 16"W x 27"H Dresser: 60"L x 18"W x 36"H Mirror: 34 1/2"W x 39 1/2"H Finish: Cherry Material: Solids, Veneers, Glass 4pc Queen Size Sleigh Bedroom Set Louis Philippe Style in Cherry Finish Sleigh bed features elegant curving lines on headboard and footboard. Dresser features ample storage drawers and top drawers are felt lined. Drawers feature wood glides and antique silver metal hardware. English dove tail drawer construction and decorative molding trim. Complement your bedroom with this traditional styled Louis Philippe bedroom collection. Assembly required.  
    Again, this set includes the two drawer nightstand, not the three drawer nightstand I pictured above.  Also note the different style mirror with the double dresser.  No materials list is given so there is no way of knowing what this furniture is made out of.
     
     I've seen similar sets advertised in my area for $699 (queen bed, dresser, mirror and nightstand), ususally in the supplements stuffed into my mail box every Thursday. All of the local retailers have similar sets: Ashley Furniture Stores, Steinhaefel's, Penney's, American, Colder's, not to mention the discounters such as Value City and U.S. Freight.
     
    Soooo, it's a matter of how much you want to pay.  Personally, I believe there is a happy balance between quality and price point, and for everyone that will be different, depending upon one's budget and where one is in one's life at the time of purchase. 
     
    I, for one, am tickled pink at the prospect that some day my partially plastic wood bedroom set from Hack's Furniture on 13th and Mitchell Streets may be worth a fortune as the only set left of its kind on the entire planet :)  My bedroom set has been well-loved and is well taken care of some 34 or 35 years after buying it, even with its plastic wood.  Still loving it after all these years.  I don't know if that says so much about me as it does about the relative value we place on things.  Just because something costs a lot of money doesn't necessarily mean it is more precious -- or even actually worth the money we spent...

    Spring Photos

    Tonight it's forecast to drop into the low 40's and possibly the high 30's.  Brrrrrr, it's going to feel so damn cold after the uber-warm (abnormally warm) March we've had this year.  It rained off and on all day and night Friday (I had a day off, wouldn't you know it -- poured buckets on me while I walked the half mile to the bus stop in the early afternoon to get to the Women's Clinic to have a mammogram done), and yesterday defied all forecasts by staying foggy and damp all day long.  I actually turned the furnace back on!

    But all the rain caused an absolute EXPLOSION of growth in my yards.  Peonies are way up high, bleedings hearts are way up high, day lilies are way up high, even the barberry bushes out front have blossomed out already and that has never happened this early.  The plum trees in the backyard likewise have sent up their lovely pink blossoms; yesterday nada; today BOOM!  Just like that.


    Barberry bushes already budding out -- and look - still haven't had a chance to clean up leaves and dreck from last winter!  In fact, the mugo pine is still bent over in places from the last snow storm we had, wet heavy snow, that flattened it down, poor mugo pine!


    The plum trees in the back yard.  The arbor blew down in the last wind storm we had some weeks ago; I put it up and re-staked it after I took these photos :)  You can see it laying on it's back in this photo, lower left.


    This photo shows a bit more of that gorgeous blue sky!

    Grass needs to be cut, but not today.  It's alredy 4:23 p.m.  Been up since 7:30 a.m. and what did I do today?  Read the newspaper, ordered wallpaper online (finally), did some emails, worked on the family tree a little bit, did a little blogging.  Geez, where does the time go?


    Shaggy grass already!  Plants coming up around the tree, and I haven't cleaned out the remains from last year yet.  Sigh.  Curb and gutter needs to be swept out.  Maybe I'll do that later.  It's a beautiful day today, but a little cool - only in the 60's.  LOL!  That's such an outrageous statement for SE Wisconsin at this time of year! 

    Unfortunately I heard on the radio that some areas tonight might be under a frost warning!  Geez, after everything has sprung up so much, that would cause tons of damage.  Not so worried for my green things; my backyard has it's own little micro-climate and seems to be pretty frost resistant.  Now I've got go throw out some more nuts for the squirrels, who are doing sommersaults on my table on the deck...

    Saturday, March 24, 2012

    The Look for Less!

    Budget Wise Home blog looked at a nursery this week and did her own look for less.  The color scheme is classic, blues with a dash of white and complementary color orange!  The orange color, on trend this season, really pops in the room and is judiciously used in only a few pieces:  the chair, a painted dresser, a storage cube.  Check it out! 

    The one thing that designer and blogger Heidi Smith didn't find to replicate the look for less was this chair:


    Nothing like a challenge!  Except, I haven't found the same chair either.  It certainly has a retro 1950's vibe, doesn't it!  The "egg" chairs below, all based on the original 1958 design by Arne Jacobsen, have a similar spirit and feel to this chair, but are different enough to be cousins, not siblings.  I didn't find anything that was closer in look to the chair in the image, above.  Maybe you can!

    A gorgeous red - no orange unfortunately - "egg" chair knock-off at Overstock.com in leather:

    This chair is on sale right now for $675.  I selected it because in addition to being a swivel chair, it has a nice high back, wide seat and curvy arms, so it projects a similar kind of "enveloping comfort" ambiance as the orange chair in the original nursery design.  There is a similarly styled chair also at Overstock for about $100 less in red wool - it also comes in other colors (but no orange, alas):


    This chair is $561.  I can easily picture this chair in blue, white or even the black in an interpretation of Sarah Richardson's nursery.

    A google search for "orange egg chair" yielded many results, here are a few:

    The "Commander Chair" from EQ3.  I found this in a post at Ginormus blog from 2009. This is about as close as I got to the original chair used in the Sarah Richardson designed nursery:

    Nice thick seat cushon and extra padding on the head rest/neck area at the back.  Color looks very close, too.  I looked at a website that I believe is the current EQ3 but did not find any chair like this.  EQ3 has a section its website that is replicas of famous furniture (like Eames) - and very pricey, too.  I doubt this chair would have qualified as a "look for less" unless the chair in the top photo cost $5,000!

    This Lexington Modern chair was found at Amazon.com for $699 in orange.  They call it an Arne Jacobsen egg chair:


    The Danish Design Store has a replica Arne Jacobsen egg chair in orange wool for $7,028!!!  Not kidding.  I didn't post a photo of it; don't know how long the link will work.

    Here's a vibrant orange boucel cashmere wool Arne jacobsen egg chair replica by Kardiel.com for $639:


    The wallpaper was another challenge!  The original paper used in the nursery is Crayford Paisley by Ralph Lauren Home.  No price is listed!  I did, however, find Crayford Paisley for $49.00 for a single roll (sold only in double rolls) for $49.00 at Classic Wallcoverings, Inc. The less expensive paper she lists that gives a similar list is from Target, "Blue Desire," $75.00 for a 56 square foot double roll. 

    Can I find a similar look for less?  Hmmm....

    Here's the original Ralph Lauren Home Crayford Paisley - Porcelain wallpaper:


    A double-roll of this paper (56 square feet) would cost $98.00 at Classic Wallcoverings, Inc. (see above).

    This is Blue Desire from Target at $75.00 for a 56 square foot roll, the paper that Heidi suggested:


    I found this blue paisley at discountdecorating.com.  Blue Mountain Paisley and is about $48.00 for a 56-square foot roll.


    I think something lighter and brighter, though...


    This is Chesapeake Swirl Wallpaper from the Field Guide book and is priced at $57.00 for a 56-square foot double roll.   This pattern caught my eye because it has rich and intricate patterning like the Ralph Lauren paper and the lighter, brighter blues.

    Something similar in feel in a lighter color, from wallpapermore.com, English Cottage by Sandpiper Studios, $60.00 for a double-roll:

    A Few More Celadon Inspiration Rooms

    I found these at beautiful pictures at Swedishdekor.com:


    A kitchen fit for a QUEEN!  Do you happen to recognize the rug???  I cannot be 100% certain, but I think it is the same one that I bought at Overstock.com -- just in a different size.

    This room is too over-the-top for me, but it's absolutely beautiful.  Loving the floor, do not like the malachite green (or whatever stone that is) on the countertops -- too green, I think it spoils the overall effect of the lovely blue-green celadon tones.  I think the glass mosaic back-splashes are overkill in this space as well.  But hey, that's just me.  I like lux - but not too much!  Notice the use of terra-cotta piping cut to size for use as wine storage!  Very cool.


    Master bedroom scene.  You can see that the same stone flooring was used through the entire house, covered by various rugs.  I love these night stands/side tables.  That is the color I am looking for in my accessories for the family room redo.  The oriental bifold screen hung on the wall is gorgeous - they are very expensive (I have priced some of them; even the least expensive ones are way beyond my means).  This rug would go perfectly in my imagined redone family room...


    Another view of the master bedroom. This photo gives a good idea of all the different tones of celadon/blue/green that were put together harmoniously in this space.  I am digging the wall color, particularly.  Good feng shui principles have been put to work in this room for the most part, except that part of the candelier is hanging over the bed.  That's a no-no.  No mirrors overlooking the bed at all.  That is a good thing.  Head of the bed is in a good "command" position - one can see the door but one's feet are not pointed directly at the entrance/exit.

    I keep thinking maybe I need to paint my long family room wall the same celadon color (or something close) used on the wall in this master bedroom, and use the medium-to-dark taupe on the other upper walls with the white lower wall. But since I already purchased 2 gallons of Family Tree (the Dutch Boy taupe color I'm using) the celadon wall will be put on hold. Solid headboard backs the bed.  And do I really want to go with three wallcolors in my family room???

    With the new area rug, Mr. Faux Tang Dynasty Horsey, and a few perfectly-colored accessories, along with yet-to-be-purchased curtains in just the right shade of blue, green or celadon, hmmm..... I thinking my family room is going to look so fine!

    Family Room Re-do: Chair Rail

    I started shopping this morning for textured paintable wallpaper border after deciding that putting up a REAL chair rail was beyond my skill set.
    Wasted hours looking (no, I decided I would not bore you with posting endless samples of the borders I looked at and decided not to buy).  I decided that the available borders (for the price I was willing to pay) just were not appealing.  I would end up hating how it looked, and I sure don't want that after all the work I know I'm going to be putting into redoing these rooms -- all the HOURS it's taken already.  YECH.  I hate spending this much time on what should be a straightforward redecorating project.  I mean, come on!  I'm not changing out furniture or tearing down walls, adding fancy crap to the ceiling or rewiring, putting down different carpeting or hardwood flooring.  Geez!  Pisses me off big time, all this time that I could be working on my chess blog, the family tree, and doing yard work (not to mention laundry).
    Sooooo, after reluctantly, most reluctantly, coming to the conclusion that I would be better off to put up a REAL chair rail after all, I started looked for foam chair rails.  I wanted something I could GLUE on -- no fricking nail guns or hammers for me.  I've said it before and it's worth saying again - I can't hammer a nail in straight to save my life, darlings, and that's Goddess truth! 
    After what seemed forever looking at various websites and "foam" products, I finally settled on "Creative Crown Moldings" -- they really have some neat stuff and their corner blocks make it possible to install crown molding (and chair rail) with straight cuts - no compounded cuts, funky angles or coved cuts needed!  But for the present I'm not interesting in putting up crown moldings in this family room.  Maybe later, but not now. 

    Sooo, I ended up buying the chair rail profile on the far right - too lazy to crop the image.  It's the classic chair rail profile and about 2 inches wide.  I thought the price was great and I was very happy until I got to checkout and saw that they were ripping me off for $41 in shipping charges!  WHAT THE F?  That is just RIDICULOUS.  This stuff doesn't weigh a ton, after all - it's glued onto walls, which should give you a clue as to how much is DOES NOT WEIGH.  I was upset enough about the extemely high shipping charges to cancel the order - but I did not.  I just want to get this fricking project over with and did not want to invest another second looking for foam chair rail.  So - buyers beware -

    The chair rail will be more than enough for me to tackle - I'm going to have to buy a hot glue gun and glue sticks.  Never thought I'd EVAH own one of those suckers.

    The hot glue is used to join together intermediate cuts because each piece of chair rail is only 8 feet long.  That means if I want to space things out evenly on my long south wall (about 18.5 feet), I will need 2 joints to join together three pieces of rail each approximately 6' 2" long.  I'm thinking that would look better (and be easier to install) than putting up two 8 foot long rails and then one short section of 2.5 feet!

    Right now, I seriously need to take a nap...

    Family Room Re-do: Update and Wallpaper

    Oy!  This is going to be a lot more work than I thought.  But it's too late to turn back now, I've already started tearing off the wallpaper!  Damaged walls where the wallpaper has stripped away some of the drywall finish; in one corner all the way down to the metal corner bead:




    Yesterday afternoon my friend Ann, who drives (I do not) and loves Menard's as much as I do, met up with me and we went to - Menard's!  I got my Dutch Boy paint/primer.  When did paint get so damn expensive?  Geez!  Two gallons of the Family Tree (taupe) color and one gallon of the Superhide White (warm white) color.  Three gallons cost me a little over $90. RIDICULOUS!  And while it is primer/paint in one, when I mentioned that the walls had not been painted in YEARS and might suck up a lot of paint, the clerk recommended 2 coats.  So where am I saving any labor?  Prime first and then put on a coat of paint, or not separately prime and put on 2 coats of combined primer/paint.  NOT SAVING ANY LABOR.  Stupid moi -- I should have bought the regular satin finish paint without the primer in it and saved some $.  I've got at least two gallons of primer sitting on the basement landing that I could have used.  Well - will use anyway because the lower part of the walls will have to be primed before I put up the new wallpaper.  DUH.  Should have saved myself a few bucks on the white color, at the least, by getting a regular gallon of satin finish...

    Picked up plastic drop clothes, rollers, etc. etc.

    And then last night I started removing the wallpaper and border.  The paper is not coming off clean in most areas.  That means I will have to wet down the residue and scrape it off.  YECH.  The paper has also taken off parts of the drywall finish with it.  That means I will have to spackle and fill, sand and prime before I can put up the new textured wallpaper.  Unfortunately, more drywall finish is coming off than anticipated.  More work.  YECH.

    I need to take everything off the bookshelves and put them somewhere (probably the garage) to get at the back wall, including pulling the entertainment center (which weighs a ton) away from the wall so I can get back there to work.  YECH.  Where am I going to put all of those books and memorabilia?
    On a happier note, I have wasted spent hours since 8 a.m. today shopping online for paintable textured wallpaper.

    I really got sick of looking and looking and looking at textured papers.  The ones I finally decided I liked the best:
    25" repeat
    12" repeat
    25" repeat
    Well darlings, you know about wallpaper repeats!  It would potentially WASTE a ton of paper to order the scrolled leaves, which I really liked the best.  Even the small leaf pattern (center image) I was shocked to see has a 12" repeat.  Damn!

    So, I looked at some "stripes" and stries, including a beadboard.  Hated them all, particularly the beadboard (I'm just not a vertical chick, it seems). The advantage (so I thought) to a stripe or strie is that there would be no repeat to worry about, I could just cut the paper to size and slap those suckers up on the wall without worrying about pattern matching.  That would save me ordering at least one extra "double-roll" because I would not have to be paranoid about matching and waste.  I hated these the least:
    12" repeat!  Say what?  How can a strie have a repeat???
    25" repeat.  WHAT?
    No repeat!  Now what is the difference, I ask you, between
    this one and the middle one???
    After staring at the blocks I printed out for what seemed like forever, I decided I liked NONE of these stries.

    And so, I went back to the drawing board, and I think I am going to buy this one:


    It has a 6-1/4" repeat which I'm not thrilled about but will waste a lot less paper and this large-"ivy leaf" pattern appeals to me much more than any stripe or strie I looked at.  I looked and looked and looked and feel like my eyes are falling out right about now.  ENOUGH!