Category Archives: DIY Projects

Tufted Headboard DIY

If you would like to give your bedroom a fresh new look, make a headboard for your bed.  Headboards are a favorite starting point if you are looking for a beginning upholstery project, as they can be an easy and inexpensive DIY project.  They also help anchor the bed as the focal point in a room.

FullSizeRender-9

A few years ago, I made my first headboard by covering a piece of plywood with 2 inch foam and then wrapping it with a large-patterned black and white floral print.  The only tool needed for that was a staple gun, and the whole process took about 20 minutes!  We attached our headboard to the bed frame with two thin boards screwed into the back.

Recently, it was time for a bedroom update and a new headboard was on the To Do list.

My mini sidekick helping remove staples from the old headboard.

My mini sidekick helping remove staples from the old headboard.

We loved the padded backrest that we had with our previous headboard, but wanted to make it look more elegant by adding tufting.  I chose a woven upholstery fabric with a mix of brown, black, gold and cream.  In retrospect, it would have been a lot easier if the fabric was a solid color.  When tufting, it is difficult to make everything look even when your fabric has lines or a pattern of any kind.  Two yards of fabric was more than enough to make a headboard for a queen sized bed.

IMG_6411

To make a tufted headboard, cut a piece of plywood that is the width of your bed.  You can make it as tall as you want, but I recommend keeping it at least 6 inches shorter than the width of your fabric.  I made mine 60 inches wide and 24 inches tall.  Next, figure out how many tufts you want.  Look at images online to see what look you like best.  I made three rows with 7 tufts on the top and bottom row and 8 tufts on the center row.  

Once you figure out how many tufts you want, mark it all out on 2 inch foam.

Busy helping mark tuft spots.

Busy helping mark tuft locations.

After it is marked, cut holes at each mark with scissors or a knife. I cut mine in a cone shape so the fabric has room to fold nicely.

IMG_6402

 

IMG_6406

Now mark and drill the same exact holes on your plywood backing. This is where you would typically thread your button through and pull to make it tufted.  But, instead of  using a needle and upholstery thread, I read that you could just drill a screw through your layers and then attach your button with permanent fabric glue.  It was an immense time saver and you really couldn’t tell the difference.  Of course I had to try it out!

After drilling pilot holes, spray your plywood with adhesive and attach the foam to the plywood, making sure the holes line up.  Follow with a layer of batting and then your fabric. I neglected to use batting, and I really wish I had.  It would have made the tufts stand out a bit better and look more cushy.

IMG_6412

 I used 1 inch wide-head screws and carefully drilled through all of the layers into my pilot hole.  I worked from the center out and for the most part, the diamond shapes naturally worked into place.  When all of the tufts were shaped, I pulled and stapled the edges of the fabric to the back of the plywood.  

IMG_6419

I purchased a button making kit, and made fabric buttons to match the headboard.  Making buttons was the most frustrating part, hands down.   

To finish the headboard, I glued the buttons onto the tufts with permanent fabric glue.  A year later all twenty-two buttons are still there!  

IMG_3874

 

This same technique can be applied to chairs, ottomans, benches, you name it.  I have my eye on a storage ottoman begging for a tufted velvet top…

 

 

Things that take longer than you expect…

A LOT longer.

I have been wanting to strip the paint of the doors and drawers on our hallway ‘linen’ closet since we moved in.  They had a least 5 layers of paint, and it was really drippy and goopy, especially around the edges and the handles.  It was also starting to chip off, and I was mildly worried that some of the original coats might have been lead-based paint (I did test this, but couldn’t really get a clear reading–I just made sure the paint was gone before sanding).

IMG_3642

Since we have been having some nice sunny days, my little helpers and I took the project outside!  (I really don’t know what they were doing in this picture. Probably watching bugs).

IMG_3643

I have fond memories of stripping paint from an old piano with my mom when I was a teenager (eleven layers of paint!), I decided to give it a try on the doors and drawer fronts.  Instead of the highly toxic stuff we used 20 years ago, I used Citristrip, which is safer, biodegradable, has no harsh fumes and instead smells like an orange creamsicle.  It says it is safe to use indoors, but I am sort of really messy, so I went outside.  I laid all the pieces on a drop cloth and proceeded to paint on the orange gel.

IMG_3644

After waiting over an hour for the gel to work, I eagerly ran my putty knife through the goo, getting a satisfying layer of old paint on my knife.  That first run through is always the most fun.  IMG_3647

Then I just used my putty knife and scraped off all the rest of the paint!  Just kidding.  I scraped off the top layer of paint, leaving the next layer exposed.

You can see that the first layer didn’t bubble up like my future layers did.  I don’t know why…it did peel off in big sheets though.  I wonder if that top layer was just too thick? Or maybe I needed an even thicker coating of Citristrip?

IMG_3648

Then I repeated the process–three or four more times.  Don’t get me wrong, it was totally worth it, but it was a long and tedious journey over the course of several days.

FullSizeRender-7

I tried to use a generous amount of gel, getting a nice thick layer on the paint.  I varied the waiting time from 30 minutes to 20 hours.  Even though they claim the gel will remain wet for 24 hours, it was super hot outside, so the gel was drying within an hour on one of the days I was working.  I am pretty sure it was much hotter than the recommended temperature on the bottle.  I did try misting it with water, which helped a little.  The closer I got to the wood, the easier the paint seemed to peel up, so that was a big plus in the project motivation category.

FullSizeRender-8

 

IMG_3707

After a nice sanding, the drawers looked good, so I decided to seal them with a natural stain.  I liked the look of the light wood, but it turns out that the doors were a different kind of wood, much more ‘red’ and grained.

IMG_3708

See the difference?  It became even more obvious after I applied the wood conditioner and natural stain.  So I tried to blend them a bit by adding some gray stain…

IMG_3733

…which made them look blotchy and dirty.  I am not a fan of the ‘already dirty’ look, and they still didn’t go well together so it was back to the drawing board.

Because I still was convinced I wanted to see some of the natural wood grain, I decided to try a paint ‘wash’ next.  I picked out a fun color because the hallway is a bit boring.  I put some water in a cup and mixed a bit of paint into it.

IMG_3731 I didn’t have a particular ratio, I just watered it down quite a bit.  I planned to do several coats, knowing the color would build up a bit with each layer.  This is after the first coat:

IMG_3732

 

And after the third coat:

 

 

 

 

IMG_3736

I loved how it built up without becoming thick, and you can still see the wood grain through it.

I chose to reuse the original large square pulls, since they reference the time period of the house and I liked the size.  Removing the paint from them was another test of my patience, but the gel actually took most of it off on the first try.

IMG_3706

After settling on the color for the doors, I sprayed the pulls gold, to give it a more modern look.

Painted Hall Doors

And we officially love it!!  The color brightens up the hall without being too crazy–for us, anyway! 😉  Now everything closes so much better, and actually stays closed.

If I haven’t completely dissuaded you by this point, I will tell you that I would do it all again in a heartbeat.  Just start with a small project, use a thick layer of the gel and don’t expect it to be completely finished in an hour.  Garage sales and thrift stores have a ton of furniture pieces just begging for a good ‘safer’ chemical peel.

The Uncluttered Life: Office Revival

Whether your office consists of an entire room or a little desk tucked in somewhere, chances are it is a major clutter magnet.  Seeing your desk full of clutter can make the often stressful tasks of work and bill paying even more difficult.  Since I work from home and my office space is located in our living room, it was next on our agenda for decluttering and simplifying.  I was eager to get started, because I know I am a hundred times more productive and happy in a clean space.  Here are a few things I did to create some calm in the office:

1. Photograph the Before!  This is so important so you can see your amazing progress.  Every time I get discouraged, I look at the Before photo and see how much progress I have made.  Photos are also a more objective way to view your ‘stuff’ and can help you identify problem areas.

2.  Make a list of areas to work on: Mine are paper piles, shelf clutter, too many unused books, stacks of magazines and an inefficient desktop filing system.

3.  Tackle the most visible problems first.  I took care of the pile of papers and other miscellania to the right of my computer.  This also happened to involve my desktop filing system, which was taking up more valuable space to the left of my computer.  In the interest of simple living, I decided that I only want my computer on the desktop.  As I looked at photos of my desk area, I realized I could be using the side walls of my desk area much more efficiently.  I decided to hang a single file bin and a simple organizing system I found at Staples.  I used Command Strip picture hangers so I wouldn’t have to drill or pound a nail into my shelves.

4. What do we do with the paper!?  The main reason you could even see the top of my desk at all was because we go paperless whenever possible.  I set up automatic bill paying if it is available, and keep track of things on my desk calendar.  When I sorted my paper pile, I put it into categories and made a list.  Then, I made sure I had those files set up correctly in my file cabinet.

5.  Donate books that are outdated, no longer relevant or that you don’t plan to reread.  Be ruthless and realistic.  I also went through my magazines with a much colder eye than I usually do, and was able to part with a large number of them.  The extra room on my bookshelves allows me to see and use my remaining books more easily.

6.  Remember how refreshing it is to work at an uncluttered desk.  Even the process of clearing out has caused me to feel more energized.  Cheers to productivity!

IMG_6775

What are some things you do to keep your office space tidy?

Hand Painted Statement Wall

Many of my favorite home projects are the quick ones, where adding a simple detail makes a big impact.  It is fun to shake things up a bit and get a fresh perspective on different spaces in your home occasionally. For example, I still love the bright orange wall behind my office desk and shelves, even after living with them for over 3 years.  But, I was in the mood for a simple change that would update the space and add some personality.

IMG_5353

 

The rope mirror is still one of my favorite projects, but it takes up so much  space on the wall behind the desk.  It has a new home in the guest room (pictures coming soon on that recent makeover).

IMG_5991

The somewhat unlikely pairing of orange and gold has stood out to me lately.  I suppose if gold were on the color wheel, it would be closest to orange and yellow, making it a stand-in analogous color.  For those of you who haven’t studied the color wheel for awhile, analogous colors are the ones next to each other on the color wheel.  Pairing analagous colors typically leads to a more harmonious color palette.

color-wheel 

After looking at some examples of orange and gold wallpaper online, I decided I wanted a hand-drawn look.  I opted to paint the gold onto the wall freehand instead of using a stencil.  Since my wall space was only 2.5’ x 3’, I loosely drew the vertical lines with a pencil and angle ruler.  I didn’t measure the spacing because I wanted it varied, some wide and some narrow.

IMG_3516 IMG_3515-001 

Next, I used a jar of Martha Stewart Living Metallic Paint in Golden Pearl that I already had.  It is a really soft, frosty champagne gold color.  I took a medium art brush and painted the vertical lines.

IMG_3517

Then, I semi-randomly added circles to the lines, stepping back occasionally to make sure they were spaced okay.  After the paint was dry, I went back and touched up some areas where the orange was showing through.  All total, it probably took a little over an hour to complete the project.

 IMG_3518

Rebecca Hermance Desk Accent Wall

A little post on the desk/office filing accessories coming soon!  I am trying to simplify, simplify, simplify!

There are many options if you are looking to add some color or personality to a small wall space.  Simply adding a splash of color is an easy place to start, but you don’t have to stop there!  Stencils, stamps, chalkboard paint, dry erase paint, murals, vinyl decals and paint markers are all relatively inexpensive solutions to a plain wall.  A small space is also a great place to showcase a bit of fun wallpaper.

Don’t be afraid to try something you love in your space.  If you end up not liking it, a bit of paint will easily change it right back the way it was.  Starting with a small accent wall is just the jumpstart you need to refresh and personalize your home

Kids Outdoor Activity Center

Inspired by a recent article in Family Fun Magazine and a desire to have easily accessible activities for my kids, I decided to make an outdoor activity center.

After rescuing a sturdy metal shelf from my donation pile, I decided against spray painting it for now.  I like the shiny black color, and if it starts showing signs of rust, I will clean it and use a primer and rust-resistant spray paint made for metal.

Ideally, you would place your ‘activity center’ under a covered area to protect it somewhat from the elements. For now, ours is in the little fort area because it is partially covered.  Because my cart is pretty small, I want to add wheels to the bottom to make it easy to roll into the garage when needed.

Next, I shopped my house and collected tubs and containers that won’t get ruined outdoors.  Plastic milk crates, plastic shoe boxes with lids, and metal nut or coffee cans with plastic lids were my top choices.  I also had a few plastic baskets from the dollar store for things that don’t need to be covered.  I spray painted the metal cans and the shoe box lids to make things more colorful.  Labels on everything help both kids and adults return items to their designated boxes.

IMG_3045

Family Fun Magazine suggested some supplies: sidewalk chalk, sand toys, bubble mix, washable paints, outdoor games and balls, kid’s gardening tools, flashlights and jump ropes.  I also added water beads, colored salt and metal trays for writing letters.  To keep things interesting, we will also have a rotating ‘nature’ box where they can collect things like rocks, leaves or whatever we happen to be observing that week.  A large plastic tub with a lid is great for storing outdoor pillows for reading, or towels and blankets for swimming and fort building.

IMG_3043

Add a tub of ice to keep water bottles cold, a small cooler for snacks and you have all the ingredients for several hours of outdoor fun.  Pop open a large umbrella for shade, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

You Might Want to Sit Down for This

My latest project was a beautiful bentwood chair purchased at an estate sale.  I found it as the sale was about to end, so I scored it for $6! The existing finish wasn’t in great shape, but the caned seat was still in decent condition.

 

IMG_3157

After much internal debate, I decided to paint the chair with chalk paint and leave the caned seat natural.  I also left the seat edges unpainted, since the caning extends into the wood.  I like the combined look of wood and paint, so it was a fun solution.

There are about as many different ideas about how to paint furniture as there are pieces of furniture.  Whether you are a first-timer or a practiced pro, the type of paint you use can make a big difference in how well you like the finished product.  After many years of being a huge fan of spray paint or latex for its ease of application and smooth finishes, I gave ‘chalk paint’ a try.

IMG_3158First coat of DIY chalk paint.

While brand-name chalk paint, such as Annie Sloan, has been around for over 20 years, it has been extremely popular in recent years along with the trend of ‘distressing’ furniture.  Not to be confused with chalkboard paint (although you can write on it with chalk before you wax it), chalk paint is a thick, matte paint that dries quickly and adheres well to most surfaces.  The biggest benefit of chalk paint is that you typically don’t have to sand or prime the surface before painting.  It can be layered and sanded to create the popular distressed or aged look, but it can also be left pristine for a more modern look.  Because chalk paint is so porous it does need to be waxed or varnished to seal the paint when using it on furniture.  Otherwise, you risk smudged hand prints and stains from anything that touches it.  Once sealed, chalk paint is washable and durable, although you may have to rewax it every few years.

Chalk paint can be purchased ready-made at specialty stores or online, and a few lesser known brands have been showing up recently at big box hardware and craft stores.  These are fine if you like the color selection available and don’t mind spending a little more money.  On the other hand, if you are trying to get a very specific color, you might want to try making your own!

Pinterest is full of recipes for DIY Chalk Paint, most of them involving a mixture of Plaster of Paris or Calcium Carbonate Powder and latex paint.  My favorite so far (and the least expensive) is Plaster of Paris.  I have used varying ratios of paint to Plaster of Paris, all with favorable results.  A pretty common ‘recipe’ is the ratio of 3 parts latex paint to 1 part Plaster of Paris.  You can mix the Plaster powder straight into the paint, but for a smoother texture, most people recommend mixing some water into the Plaster of Paris, and then mixing in the paint.  Most DIY recipes say any sheen of paint will work, but to avoid paint that also contains primer.  When I am working on a small project, I will often just purchase one or two paint sample pots.  Experiment a bit to find out what works best for you.

IMG_3165

I used two coats of white chalk paint, followed by a thin coat of wax to seal the paint.  The texture is a little rougher than I was hoping, so I might go back and try to sand it down a bit.  I ‘probably’ got a little impatient when painting and made my mixture a little too thick.  Just like regular paint, several thin coats will get you the best results.

IMG_3159
Simple designs on the caned seat with colorful embroidery thread makes the chair extra special.  I plan to wrap some thread around the top part of the chair too.  For less than $30, I now have a completely unique and personalized chair to sit on while I work.

FullSizeRender-2

Summer garage sales are in full swing and it is absolutely the best time to score used furniture.  That dining table with water rings and marker stains, the multi-colored dining chairs of someone’s previously attempted project or the cute little headboard that would be perfect in your daughter’s room.  It’s a plethora of furniture with so much potential!

Summertime Picnic Table

Last spring, there was a wholehearted attempt to create a beautiful outdoor oasis on the concrete slab in our back yard.  You know, a budget-friendly replication of those those gorgeous outdoor spaces with a barbecue grill and dining set for cozy alfresco dining, modern cozy sofa and chairs for intimate conversation and a fire pit made for marshmallows.  And lights! Lots of beautiful twinkling lights.

Working with a non existent budget, I purchased a faded green plastic Rubbermaid table from Idaho Youth Ranch for $8.  I decided I would spray paint it a neutral gray color and it would be perfect with some brightly colored chairs.

IMG_5784

Except it wasn’t.  Six cans of gray spray paint later and I still had a table that looked like a splotchy mess.  Some parts were glossy and some were matte, and bright sunlight only emphasized each flaw.  Luckily, the legs and edges turned out okay, so when the top had plates of food on it, you couldn’t really tell how bad it was.  I was disappointed though.  My inexpensive ‘fix’ wasn’t amazingly beautiful and it was turning out to cost more than I planned.

IMG_5791

I have since discovered that an initial coat or two of spray primer probably would have made all the difference in my finished product.  The table top had weathered enough that it was just absorbing all of the paint, and a primer would have sealed the surface first.  In spite of its imperfections, the table was well-used last summer before being stored in the garage for winter.

Most people would probably call it quits on the old table and say ‘lesson learned.’  On the other hand, I was determined to keep a perfectly good and sturdy table from the landfill.  I brought out the gray table this week and decided to see what I could do with it once more.

I don’t know how well this will hold up, but I primed the whole table with indoor/outdoor primer, then painted it with two coats of leftover gray exterior house paint.  I will keep you updated on how well it holds up, but I am happy with how smooth and even the coverage is.

I love gathering ideas on Pinterest and noticed some cheerful stenciled and geometric patterns on table tops.  I decided to use painter’s tape and some leftover paint to make my own design on the top of our patio table.  I sketched up an idea on paper first.

IMG_2995

Then I measured it out and drew it on the table with a pencil.

IMG_2993

To make things a bit easier, I traced the design onto the front and back of parchment paper (like a ‘carbon-copy’) and then transferred it to the table.

IMG_2992

Then I taped it off with painter’s tape.  I sealed the edges of the tape with a quick coat of gray paint, to keep the colored paint from seeping under the tape.  worked like a charm!

IMG_2994

 

Next, I painted several coats of acrylic craft paint on the taped-off shapes.  For the circles, I had just traced around a cup, so I did my best to paint inside the lines.

IMG_2997

When I took off the tape, I had nice crisp lines!

IMG_2998

I could have left it like this, but it felt a little ‘flat’ to me, so I added a few hand-painted details.  My husband laughed at me, because I had taken so much effort to make crisp lines, and then I painted over them.  I just ignored him. ha.

IMG_3001

When all of the paint was dry, I coated the entire table with a water-based outdoor urethane to protect it.

IMG_3002As far as thrift store furniture makeovers go, this particular project cost more than I anticipated.  Still, it came in under $50, and when you consider the cost of a brand-new table, this one doesn’t seem so bad.

IMG_3009

Paired with an outdoor rug and brightly painted chairs, I think we are well on our way to a fun outdoor dining space.

IMG_3010

Bring on the sunshine, cheeseburgers and icy lemonade!

 

 

Bold, Colorful and Modern: Guest Room

*The idea for this post was suggested by the fun folks at Chairish.com.  Their unique site lets you shop for and sell furniture easily.  I personally love the Mid-Century Modern section because the style is simple, timeless and so easy to pair with other pieces you might have.*

With less than 30 days until my fabulous sister comes to visit for a month, I have guest room updates high on my priority list.  In its current state, our guest room is sleep-able, but I wouldn’t call it highly comfortable or well designed by any stretch of the imagination.  I put together an idea board to show you what I have been thinking:

Chairish Post_Guest Room


1. Wood paneled wall with floating shelves via remodelista.com
2. BRIMNES storage bed via ikea.com
3. Mexican serape blanket via luluandgeorgia.com
4. Pantone’s Radiant Orchid
5. Mid-Century George Kovacs “Caterpillar” lamps from chairish.com
6. Mid-Century Modern Splash Oil Painting via chairish.com
7. Modern Thonet Bentwood Chair via chairish.com
8. Similar Midcentury Modern Sideboard via chairish.com

Our guest room also doubles as my sewing/craft/art room, so we have turned the closet into a work space with a desk, shelves and pegboard for organizing supplies.  We used an old closet door for a desk running the full length of the closet.  I painted it (4) Pantone’s radiant orchid for a splash of color.  My resourceful hubby made me some shelves out of some old deck wood.  The closet is a complete juxtaposition of rustic industrial and modern, which is quickly becoming the style of the room.

We recently purchased the (2) BRIMNES storage bed from Ikea because I needed large drawers to stash my art supplies and paper.  I like how sturdy the drawers are, and the simple design of the bed means it will work nicely with any style.  In order to easily pull out the drawers without having to move a lot of furniture, I would like to have floating shelves on each side of the bed to serve as nightstands. (1) Tying them in with a wood paneled wall or headboard would add some midcentury architecture to our little 1950’s home.

I love the look of simple white bedding topped with a (3) Mexican serape blanket, and it would compliment the bright orchid work desk.  A pair of neutral mirrored (5) lamps and splashy abstract (6) art highlight similar colors and tie the room together.

A comfortable, low profile (7) chair gives guests a place to sit and read or put up their feet.  A dresser or (8) sideboard for clothes or miscellaneous storage takes the place of a closet.  I purchased over-the-door hooks for clothes that require hanging.

There you have it! A fun combination of bold colors, vintage and reclaimed woods and furniture with simple, clean lines.  It all adds up to a comfortable and unique space anyone would feel welcome in.

* I have not been compensated in any way for this post, but it was so fun to put together. I can’t wait to get started on the room!

 

 

Spring = Spraypainting

One of my favorite things about Spring is that I can finally bust out the spray paint again!  Since it is not highly recommended to spray paint indoors (unless you happen to have a special vent hood, then I want to be your best friend), most spray painting projects are set aside until it is warm enough to paint outdoors.

Spray paint is typically used on items where a super smooth finish is desired.  I like to use it on metal folding chairs, lamp bases, hardware and picture frames, for example.

This week, I sprayed picture frames, hooks for hanging our jackets on (finally!), and some clear glass vases.  Completely finished projects will come in future posts, but here’s what we have right now:

IMG_2795

IMG_2797

IMG_6732

IMG_6735

If you haven’t done a lot of spray painting, the application method is pretty simple, but here are a few tips to keep in mind for the best finish:

  1. Use a high-quality spray paint and make sure it is approved for the type of material you are spraying.  Some are specially formulated for plastics, while others work on metal, wood or glass.  Stay far away from the cheap generic brands of spray paint.  You will likely end up spending more to fix peeling paint or random drips from a leaking nozzle.  My favorite is Rustoleum brand, but sometimes the color does the choosing for me!
  2. Prepare your surface.  Using a primer is especially important if you are spraying laminate or unpainted wood, but I have recently started to prime almost everything.  Every brand typically carries a primer that will help paint adhere better.  If you have stains, I recommend priming with Kilz primer-sealer-stainblocker for the best looking finished results.  After priming, sand your item lightly with 220 grit (very fine) sandpaper.  This will get rid of any rough or gritty spots caused by the primer.  Wipe clean with a soft cloth after sanding.
  3. Spray several light, quick coats of paint rather than one or two heavy coats.  Your paint will dry with a harder finish and you will have less risk of drips and uneven coats.  Keep the spray and your arm moving back and forth the whole time.  Follow the directions on the can for drying times between coats.
  4. If you do happen to drip or notice a grainy build up on your project, stop and let it dry completely.  Then, sand smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and wipe with a tacky cloth before adding a few more coats of spray paint.
  5. After your piece has dried, you can leave it clean and pristine (my favorite), or you can distress it by sanding the edges where you would normally see wear and tear.  An antiquing glaze can be used over spray paint to ‘age’ the piece and tone down the brightness of the paint.
  6. Let your piece dry completely (usually 24 hours) in a well ventilated space before subjecting it to heavy use.  If it is going to be used outdoors or handled extensively, spray or brush on a polycrylic protective finish.  A water-based no-VOC finish will also help ‘seal in’ any fumes and toxins, making it safer to bring indoors.

It’s time to get out there and freshen up your flower pots or patio furniture with a bit of spray paint.  The hardest part for me is choosing a color, or five.  I don’t know about you, but I am loving the metallic copper on those vases a whole lot!

Host a Painting Party!

The phrase “painting party” might bring to mind a venue where you and a group of friends can go hang out and each paint a picture on canvas.  In a less artistically creative, but still entertaining way to hang out with friends, my friend Holly hosted a wall painting party last Saturday.  With a floor installation quickly approaching, she needed the walls and trim painted in her laundry room.  An email plea for help found three of us knocking on her door at 9:30 am, wearing our best painting clothes.

After a quick breakfast of bagels, coffee and fruit, we divided up jobs and got to work.  Since four of us were working in a smaller room, we all started in different spots, so that we would not be in each other’s way.

IMG_2411

Brook got the high parts, but still had a great smile.

I painted trim, while Brook and Lori took turns with rollers and a paint brush. Holly removed nails, patched holes, wiped things down and took a turn with the roller.

IMG_2413Holly and Lori discussing weekend plans.

Three hours passed before we knew it, with plenty of laughing, talking and general getting to know one another.  It was a lot of fun, and the end result was a bright clean laundry room that is ready for new floors to be installed.  The best part was that it was pretty much finished, and it didn’t take Holly a week to do it on her own!  I also found a new favorite white paint: Sherwin Williams Ultra White.

IMG_2414

If you are inspired to paint a room in your home, but overwhelmed at the thought of tackling it alone, consider having a painting party of your own.  Here are some tips for making sure things go smoothly:

  1. Think about how many people could work efficiently in the space you are working on.  Too many people and no one will be able to move.  Too few, and it may take a longer time commitment from your friends.
  2. Ask friends who have painted walls before, or have tasks for non-painters.  Jobs like removing nails, filling holes, sanding rough spots or removing hardware and blinds always need to be done.
  3. Have plenty of drop cloths and damp rags to catch messes. You will want to protect floors and any other surfaces in the room.  Paint drips and splatters happen, and you don’t want to be stressing about it the whole time.
  4. Make sure there are brushes or rollers and buckets or trays for everyone, whether you provide them, or they bring their favorite from home.  It is much easier to work with the right supplies.
  5. Provide refreshments according to the time of day.  Food keeps people happy and willing to work.
  6. Set a time frame.  Two to three hours seems like a viable amount of time for most people, and you will be amazed at how much a group of people can accomplish in that time.
  7. Invite a diverse group of friends.  It is always fun to meet new people, and a painting party gives you an opportunity to really get to know one another.

There you go. That is how we do a painting party, Pocatello style!  Have you ever been to a painting party?  Canvas or wall?  What is your favorite white paint?

Bright and Happy Kids’ Room

Ever since that fateful semester the fall of 2005 when I was assigned to research and model a hotel lobby in the Scandinavian Modern style, I have been a huge fan.  While the more well-known furniture and design styles of Alvar Aalto and Eero Saarinen are always on the dream/wish list, I have been more interested lately in ‘everyday’ Scandinavian style.

If you look at images of Scandinavian homes, you will notice a lot of white walls.  To compensate for long, overcast winters, many residents of these northern European countries paint their walls and floors bright white to reflect as much light as possible.  With all that white, you might think that the interiors would look stark or cold, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  The majority of these homes look comfortable, extremely inviting and lived-in.

Emma-Persson-Scandinavian designHome of Stylist Emma Persson

Most images of Scandinavian kid’s rooms look playful, colorful and creative, with lots of bright art.  Since our kids share a room, and it is already painted white (although it might get a fresh coat this summer), it is the perfect space to incorporate a bit of fun style.

polly's retro scandinavian room

Bold and Colorful Room

I thought it would be fun to put together an idea board to show the direction we are going.  Both of our kids are already very opinionated about their space and have been on-board with what we have done so far.  Our attempt at Scandinavian style has been a great solution to a room shared by a four year old girl and a two year old boy.  Their individual personalities and interests can shine without any arguing about whether we will have a fairy princess or Ninja Turtle themed room.

Kids' Bedroom Idea Board

  1. Ikea Bed
  2. Duvet
  3. Rug
  4. Toy Storage
  5. Green lamp
  6. Map
  7. Vintage Dresser (I found a similar one at a second hand shop in Old Town Pocatello)

Currently, the white walls provide a perfect backdrop for colorful bedding, a sky blue ceiling, a wood dresser, and a fun rug.  I will share a photo update of the room soon!

Kitchen Shelving Reveal!

I am so excited to finally show you some pictures of our newly reconfigured refrigerator wall!  Over the last month or so, we took down all the existing cabinets on that wall to make room for a new refrigerator.  All two cabinets and some shelves, so it wasn’t a huge deal.  But we had just moved the cabinets up and caulked them a few months before, so it was sort of a big deal. ha.

Anyway, here is our current and hopefully longer-lasting rendition!

IMG_6665

IMG_6667 IMG_6669

Moving from the original single upper cabinet over the base cabinet to this setup has increased our storage space exponentially.  It allows me to display the platters and plates that don’t fit in a normal cabinet.  I find I use them a lot more when they aren’t packed away in the back of the pantry closet.

IMG_6670 IMG_6671 IMG_6678 IMG_6681 IMG_6686 IMG_6689A few things to note if you are considering something like this for yourself:

1. You might want to consider buying a pipe threader and cutting your own pipes, depending on your own arrangement.  All of the little pieces add up and can get expensive

2. All of the threads aren’t the same, so it was hard to get things as tight as we wanted.

3. Look around for pieces without labels taped to them! After completing the entire project, we found that one store had pipe pieces in bags, so you wouldn’t have to try to take the stickers off of each piece.  As you might have noticed, we are still working on getting those stickers off!

4. Our project cost around $300.  We used 1/2 inch pipe and fittings and 2 x 12 douglas fir for the shelves.  The microwave shelf was custom joined to be 16 inches deep. We used Minwax oil based wood finish in Classic Gray 271.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!  Check back later this week for some tips on living with open shelving.