Monday, August 1, 2011

Kitchen/Dining Room Spruce up... Part 1

I'm back!!!

First off, I would like to blame my lack of posting on Mr. Husband. This has been in the works for the past couple of months, but he said I wasn't allowed to blog about it until his parents saw it. Mr. Husband is from Atlanta (the source of all of my inspiration), so we're super lucky when his parents get to come see us because we don't get to see them quite often...

So he wanted to have this be a big surprise, which means I've been having to hold it in. Do you know how hard that's been?!?!?!?

It all started out when we were eating dinner at the table, and we had just finished watching HGTV. The dining room/kitchen had always felt a bit lackluster.

Case. In. Point.
I felt like we were stuck in a constant "autumn" state, and always thought to myself "come one D, we can do much better than this"...

I knew what I wanted to do in here but still needed the go ahead from Mr. Husband to do it. Well, who knew a little HGTV watching would give Mr. Husband the swift kick in the butt he needed to realized we HAD to do something with the dining room.

From what I remember, the conversation went a little like this:

Mr. Husband: "Babe?"
Me: "Yes Mr. Husband"
Mr. Husband: "I think you should call around and get quotes for crown molding"
Me: "And for Wainscoting too?!?!?!?!"
Mr. Husband: "Okay :) "

I was on freaking cloud nine... I was finally going to have what we Arizonans typically don't have... crown molding and wainscoting! But what Mr. Husband didn't know was that we weren't going to get typical Wainscoting he was used to having in Georgia, we were going to get Stills and Rails :) I first wanted this particular look when we were building our house. The model homes had the look in their bedrooms, but at the time it was just too much for our budget as we were planning our wedding at the same time.

I learned SOOO much through the whole process, from getting quotes, to the actual construction itself. First off, getting this stuff put up apparently costs a premium out here because there aren't too many companies that do it. I had 3 different company's come out (mostly because that's all I could find, or else I would have done more)... 2 of them over bid... like, over bid to the point that I was p'd off, and the third company came in just right :) It's what we expected to pay and they even negotiated with us a little bit.

You know it's a good deal when EVERYONE feels like they're getting a good deal.

Now, I know there are a lot of people out there that would prefer to do this themselves, which is perfectly fine, and it would be a huge money saver... so more power to you!!! But for us, I feel like there are some things I want to look absolutely perfect, and this was one of them.

Mr. Husband had to talk me out of that one by the way, the whole "do it yourself" thing... I totally thought I could have done this myself and could have made it look perfect, but I would have been OH. SO. WRONG.....

Here's a picture below at the halfway point with some helpful tips if you do plan on tackling something like this yourself:

1. The boxes: Every wall you "wainscot" on is going to be different in width, which means not all of your boxes are going to be the exact same size... and it's Okay. This is something that would have drove me absolutely insane. None of the boxes match on any of the walls, and you wouldn't have been able to tell unless I pointed it out.

2. To add to point 1, watch for your light switches... You don't want any of the "stills" or "rails" to fall on the light switches, or it would just look extremely awkward... another reason your boxes will likely not be the same on all of your walls.

3. For those of you that have texture on your wall, and want the smooth look: The company used plywood behind the stills and rails to do just that. I would have done that, but what I wouldn't have planned for was not having the seams be visible. You won't see ONE seam in the entire dining room because all of the seams are hidden underneath the stills...

4. This one is for the molding: Yes, we all know that walls are not 90 degrees in their corners. What they did was put the corners of the crown molding together first with super speedy wood glue (that dried in literally seconds, but apparently is very expensive). Then once dry, they simply butt it up against the corners and the ceiling, then nailed. They then caulked the spaces that needed to be filled in because of the wall not being straight. I never would have known.

5. TAKE YOUR TIME. It took the company 2 full days with 3 guys to complete everything, most of which was just planning and taking measurements to make sure everything was going to be absolutely perfect.

And for my final tip... Painting. Once they put a primer on, they had one guy paint (with a paintbrush) on the semi gloss, and then another guy follow with one of those skinny rollers. There was no additional paint on the roller, he was just going over what the first guy did to basically get rid of the paint brush marks and it ends up giving it a super pretty texture.

Here is something I'm most proud of. See, we don't have a fire place, which means I have no where to hang stockings come Christmas.... So I wanted a little faux fire place :) I can't take all the credit. I found a picture online when I was researching Wainscoting and I new it would look awesome for our little wall.

And we just HAD to get rid of the Autumn theme... so Mr. Husband opted for Navy blue.

Waiting for the paint to dry....

And here's how it turned out!

Mr. Husband deserves credit for the mirror above our faux mantle. I was completely against it at first, but have to say, it is one of my favorite parts of the new dining room.

We agonized, and agonized, and agonized over this print. Mostly because it was a special order fabric from Joann's, which means it wasn't going to be cheap, which then means you better get it right on the first try. The busy pattern made me the most nervous, but thankfully it turned out perfect.
So one more before,
and After!!

I'm so glad we did this... It's like we fell in love with Ms. Amber all over again. I would also like to give a GINORMOUS shot out to The Crown Molding Company in AZ for being awesome at what they do, and just plain FUN to hang out with all day.... and for putting up with me. Believe me, I asked lots and lots of questions :)

My Final Tip? Turn on HGTV so your husband can catch the decorating bug :) The possibilities are endless!!

P.S... Part 2 to follow soon!

Linking up to Thrifty Decor Chics Before and After Party!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

3 days of fun :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing weekend! When we have nice long weekends I think to think to myself "D, how can you make a perfectly good weekend stressful and un relaxing?!?!?"

Don't worry... I'm very very good at figuring out these little riddles of mine : )

This past weekend was Ms. Amber's 1 year birthday. I can't believe we have been here for a year! To celebrate I decided it was finally time to tackle the master bedroom. I've struggled for the past year trying to figure out what to do, and how to do it, because this room has very weird walls...

Just take my word for it :)

Here is what I was working with. The keys on the wall was one of the first projects I ever did, and Mr. Husband just recently told me that he hates it and it only took him a year to tell me... He shouldn't have told me that because now he's going to hear it for the rest of his life, but moving on...

Lets talk about Quatrefoil...

Super popular right now, so of I course I wanted to have my share of all the fun. At first I was considering wallpaper, but I think it would have been around $200 for what I was wanting, and I am absolutely not willing to spend that kind of money on something that someone would likely rip down in the future anyways....

So what was my next option? To make my own template and trace and paint by hand....

I was super super nervous to do something like this because 1) having our entire house painted was a little expensive to just paint over it (we ended up going with Martha Stewart's "Sharkey Grey"), and 2) I was most definitely out of my comfort zone as this was going to be pretty modern.

So here's the before....

and after 3 days of straight painting...

and a heating pad on my arm/wrist every night from stenciling (it hurts just to think about it!!)

Ms. Amber turned in to this...

On top of the "Sharkey Grey", I used Martha's Mineral paint in "Silky". My goal was to have the pattern be extremely subtle but when light hits it, to have it pop out... and it definitely worked!!

Here's a close up...
Of course the rest of the room got a little bit of a makeover as well...

One of my favorite finds... Craigslist chair for $30 :)
So one more time... The Before
and After!!!
We still have a few more things we want to do to this room, like add molding around the windows and have crown molding installed (professionally... I've tried and can not do it!!)... but I'm pretty happy with it for now :)

On a side note.... I've wanted to do this project F.O.R.E.V.E.R. and it's Linky Party's like CSI's that make me actually start the project, and finish it in time to link up... I know I'm not the only one!!

Have a wonderful rest of the week!!!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Uh Oh... Mrs. Schulman got a new camera...

This post isn't really about decorating, but I wanted to share a story.

Once upon a time, a girl had a blog. Then one day she said to herself.... you're pictures suck... they suck real bad. So she went online to shop for a new DSLR camera, and found a screamin deal she just couldn't pass up... and now, she can post pictures like this :)

Contrary to what I said in my last post... It is possible to have pretty flowers in AZ :) Granted, we're not even to June yet but the flower bed in the backyard seems to be holding up pretty well...

I've never really showed pictures of Ms. Amber, just projects... but here's one view :) I'm dying with excitement that I now can take fuzzy background pictures!

We had a little sprinkle sprinkle the other day, and Mr. Husband called to tell me there was a rainbow outside and that I should go take a picture of it... I love that man :)

He also tore out the hideous Hibiscus in the front yard and planted white roses instead which makes me love him even more :)

I managed to take a picture of our pretty white rose with a freakin fly...

Really fly? Really!?!?!?!?

If Pottery barn ever wants to make a catalog for "knock-off's" or "wanna be's", I'm submitting this picture :)

I went in to my neighbor's yard to take a picture of his roses... and it's my favorite picture so far

I still need to find some good photo editing software for the new Mac, but I'm unbelievably happy with our little purchase. So long story short... The Mrs. lived happy ever after.

I heart you Camera.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Front Porch Re-do

When we first moved in to Ms. Amber, the first thing I wanted to tackle was the front porch... I was going for spring/summer vibe but now looking back, I'm going to call that a BIG PROJECT FAIL!! Notice how I can't even keep the flowers alive?

Step One...

So one of the first things I did when it started getting warmer outside (which was around February-ish because AZ gets freakishly warm too early) was give these nice ladies a quick re - do...

It was much easier than I thought it was going to be. I was dreading going from White to brown, but with one coat of spray paint primer, then paint they turned out amazing!!! By the way, when it comes to spray paint, I will ONLY use Rustoleum 2x spray paint. I'm telling you, others don't even compare.

Definitely going for a pottery barn theme here.... I also just grabbed some white canvas fabric and recovered the existing cushions, and then made some accent pillows with bird fabric...

Step 2....

Next in line was tackling the wreath on the front door. The one we had I still absolutely love, but it's more for fall... Target had some beautiful wreaths but they were too small, and I'm not going to pay $40... I'd rather make my own :)

I took a trip to hobby lobby, grabbed a "twig" wreath, then 3 "cluster vines", and simply tied them on to the wreath with wire...

This part was a little tricky but I glued on fish string to the four corners of this "S" (that was also from Hobby Lobby), and then tied the strings to the wreath so it has the allusion of being suspended...

Simple. Clean. Elegant. Looooooooveeee it :)

This was again one of those things where you cross your fingers and hope it works :)

Step 3...

Then I had to dress up the lantern just a bit by adding some apples and greenery at the bottom...

Which leads to me my Step 4.....

This looked absolutely awful. Again, we're back to the fact that I can' seem to keep real flowers alive... but I'll give myself a break because again, we're in AZ and flowers do not like to live here!!
My goal was to have something that looks like this (thank you Pottery barn for putting your catalogs on the Ipad!!)

Again..... Simple. Clean. Elegant

This is totally the look I was going for, and if I have to use fake flowers to get there, then so be it :)

I really did feel awful using fake flowers but 1) you totally can't tell when driving by 2) if you choose light colors, you can't tell as much when the sun tries to bleach them and make them even lighter (like it would to a fake red rose) and 3) anything is better than above :)

I'm quite happy with how it turned out...

And here she is all together :)

Have a great Sunday!!