May 29, 2010

Color Inspiration from Tory and Dean

I follow photography blogs for inspiration often (I think I said this before).  When I saw this vowel renewal, I was FLOORED with the beautiful details.  Talk about color inspiration!

**All images in this post are copyright the amazing Elizabeth Messina of Kiss The Groom.

I must say, this has been truly inspirational.  Do you see how amazing that pool shot is?  I am in love with the turquoise color of the water against the yellow.  Hmmm, maybe turquoise should make it into the room somewhere?

See the rest of this amazing color story here: Tory and Dean's Vowel Renewal

May 26, 2010

Design 101: Finding A Color Palette

I have known what colors I'd like to use in our master bedroom for years.  Years before yellow was in style and on every magazine cover.  Why?  Because I love yellow.  I love how it makes me feel.  I realize that sounds like a response you'd get from a child, and it is.  It has ALWAYS been my favorite color, so why wouldn't it be the accent color of the most personal room in my house?  I also realize this post is not the textbook on how to pick a color palette.  To be honest, I don't really agree with the color wheel theory on picking colors.  It's what you learn in design school, but it's soooo in the box.  Take me out of the box, please!

So if not the color wheel, how do I pick color?  By how it makes me feel.  Go ahead and think I'm crazy, but when I thought about our dream master bedroom, I first thought of how I wanted to feel when I walked in there and spent some time.  I wanted it to be cheery and calming at the same time.  I wanted it to be comfortable and clean feeling.

cheery - yellow
calming - gray (the easiest color for your eyes to look at and the only true neutral)
comfortable - brown
clean - white

Yes, please!  In other rooms of the house I may use other palette finding methods.  Color inspiration can be found from clothes, photos, fabric, a piece of furniture, temperature, or really anything else that you love or catches your eye!  I want to hear from you - how do you pick colors for your house?

May 24, 2010

Truth: Master Bedroom Paint Disaster

My very first diy project for our little bungalow was a paint job for the master bedroom.  Sounds easy enough right?  Hahahaha  Nope.  It all started when the color we picked for the entire house during the building process turned out to be the wrong color.  We were asked to pick the color for the entire house from a 1 inch by 1 inch sample board.  So of COURSE it looked different in mass scale on the wall.  I picked a color called "barely grey" which seemed perfect but turned out to be more like "peachy cream".  When I told the builders it looked different on the wall, they pretty much said tough nuggets.  This is the truth section, right?  Well, I cried.  Peachy cream is not what I was envisioning for our first home.

Another bit of truth.  We have decided to pay cash for our renovations and anything else concerning the house.  Which means we have to be selective on what we spend our money on.  Having the entire house repainted professionally seemed like a genius idea, but it was just out of budget because we also had to buy a new refrigerator and dryer that week.  So instead, I decided to take the painting one room at a time and do it myself.  Starting with the master bedroom.

I will never paint a room again without samples on the wall because of how awful it turned out in the whole house, so that's the first thing I did.  After four samples, I decided on Silver Drop from Behr.  Pretty. :)

Before painting the entire room, I realized I would have to prime the sample wall area, because some of the other samples were a bit dark.  So I primed just that area.  Then I washed off the primer in my bathroom sink.  Then I realized it was oil based primer.  Then I cried again.  If you are not familiar with oil based paint and primer, just know that it is illegal to put it down the drain, it does not mix with water or soap, and if you paint over it with latex paint, it will bubble or crack.  Hence the dramatic tears.  So how did a veteran painter make such a rookie mistake?  I trusted the blasted guy at Home Depot that mixed the Silver Drop paint for me.  While it was mixing, he went to get me a primer and I didn't look at the label.  Sigh.

So after drying the tears, I went to Lowes (Home Depot was on the bad list that day) and asked for the opinion of the man working there.  He shook his head and looked at me like I was a silly little girl.  Which I was.  Then he told me I'd have to sand the area down and then prime the entire wall with a latex primer.  He also suggested Goo Gone for my primed bathroom sink.  Worked like a CHARM!  Goo Gone is my hero.  After sanding, priming the wall and painting two coats of the glorious Silver Drop color, I realized something.  My ceiling was also peachy cream instead of white.  Augh!!!!!!  Back to Lowes.  Painting a ten foot ceiling is not easy for a 5 foot girl.  It took me two days and a bottle of Tylenol for the crick in my neck, but I managed.  Aaaaand, it's done!

Dramatic?  Yes.  C'mon, it's me.  Of course it's going to be dramatic.  Worth it?  Yes!!!!

PS The builder came by the other day to do a few maintenance things for the house and he told me he couldn't tell the difference between the old color and the new one.  Which is why next time, I'll renovate. :)

The Room/The Plan: Master Bedroom

For years I have told Andrew that when we bought a house and I could finally decorate how I wanted, I would do the master bedroom first.  You see, decorating and design goes deep for me.  It's my way of nesting.  All my friends right now are popping out babies left and right!  While that is not in our future, I still have the instinct to nest.  I want to do the master bedroom first as a psychological gesture to the importance of our marriage in our home.  Marriage is first.  So the master bedroom should be first.  In my case, anyway. :)

I have reserved my favorite color palette for this room.  Silvery gray, pale yellow, chocolate and white.  The master plan (insert evil laugh here) is to save money by dressing up vintage finds so that I can splurge on a beautiful bed that will last a lifetime.  The budget?  $2500.  That's including the furniture, new lighting (no more boob light!), paint, crown molding, wainscotting for one entire wall, window dressings and accessories.

Here's where the room is now:

Ugh, it's so embarrassing!  Pathetic at best.  It looks like college furniture and is covered in hand-me-down linens.  Which is why it needs a makeover!  Here's my inspiration:

Above - I've always wanted an entire walled covered in frames and art.  One of the walls of our bedroom will be completely covered in art with our color scheme.  I'm SO excited about this and plan to start immediately!

Below - A sleigh bed that's distressed is the perfect addition to this quaint little bedroom.  It's the only piece of furniture that will not be getting painted and it's a huge part of my budget for this room.  $1500 might seem high for one item of furniture, but I've decided to invest in long-lasting pieces and save on the little things that will go out of style anyway.
Themes in a room can quickly become tacky, but I love anything that can psychologically pull a room together.  So here's the theme - lovebirds.  And everyone says "aw".  Now, don't think there will be birds all over the place.  Just hints of the theme here and there, like this amazingly simple print I found on etsy.  Only in pale yellow, of course.

I am typing this so that I can't back out of it later.  Hear me now - I am going to do crown and decorative molding on our trey ceiling as well as the focal wall.  Yes I am!  I'll save around $1000 doing it myself, but I've never done it before, so we'll see how it goes.  My mom bought me a miter saw for Christmas, so there's no turning back now!  This is one of the cheapest and quickest ways I can add character and value to my house.

The side tables (a hand-me-down from my great aunt) are going to get a paint job in a tone similar to this hutch.  Butter yellow makes me happy.

The dressers are getting a bit of restoration and distressing.  I am in love with this dresser that I found in a magazine with that lovely cream color.  The tops being left in the natural wood is like *muah*.  Another DIY to come!  I am already so tired just thinking about this room! haha

Accessories in layering.  Lovebirds and books.  

OK so after all that information, does this all make sense?  Sometimes I lie awake at night and think otherwise. ;)

May 22, 2010

A particular distaste for a particular ceiling light

Have you ever noticed that homes are covered with these?  And have you ever wondered WHY?!

I call them boob lights.  For obvious reasons.  And I hate them.  For obvious reasons. hahaha If I do anything in my new house, it will be to rid the home of these terrible looking boob lights!  The full master plan for my first renovation is coming Monday. :)

May 21, 2010

Get Inspired: Be A Blog Stalker

I don't drink coffee in the morning. Coffee's gross. Who wants to wake up to a bitter hot taste in your mouth? OK maybe I'm exaggerating a bit (I tend to do that with passionate subjects) but I've never understood how people wake up to coffee.  I'm not a morning person, either.  Poor Andrew! hahaha So what do I do to give myself a kick start to every day? I blog stalk.

Years ago, I used to blog stalk a little blog called Millie Holloman Photography.  I would go to it and a few other sites for inspiration before any wedding.  Then one day, I noticed Millie wrote on her blog that she was hiring...and the rest is history!  I still blog stalk today for photography and really any other subject of interest.  Including design and diy!

Here's my favorite design blogs to stalk:

Design Sponge -  - This powerhouse blog does two things amazingly right.  They do something called "sneak peeks" where they take pictures of lower celebrities' homes to see how they really live.  It's never anyone super famous like Robin Williams or anything, but it's so interesting to see people's quirky personalities and sometimes even their lack of real furniture!

Design Sponge also has a before & after that enables readers to submit their diy triumphs.  I absolutely plan to do this...once I actually finish a project! haha

Decor8 - - I love this blog's category called "Etsy Take Five Tuesday".  Etsy is an amazing source for homemade and vintage finds, but I find it hard to navigate sometimes.  Thanks to Design Sponge, I've been able to narrow down and find some really amazing things!

Good Bones Great Pieces - This mother daughter team is the real deal.  The daughter used to work for Teen Vogue (I recently saw her on the Hills and I was like "I thought this show was totally fake?!") and they have amazing taste.  My favorite  posts of theirs have to do with antiquing.  They go to all the major antique shows and flea markets and are really knowledgeable.

Oh Joy! - If you're looking for a statement piece, whether it be a piece of furniture or a new dress, this is the place to go for inspiration!  This blog does a series called "this & that" where they compare design in fashion with interiors.  So fun, quirky and happy!

I want to hear from you!  Do you have favorite blogs to stalk, whether it be in interior design, fashion, photography or really just any interesting subject?  Make sure to send the links along in your comment!

May 19, 2010

Why We Bought New

I get asked all the time why we decided to build a brand new house when I have eclectic and even semi-vintage taste in design.  Well, the answer is simple.  Old houses are way more expensive in Charlotte, North Carolina!  Sounds crazy, right?  I thought so too, but for us to find the same square footage in an old bungalow in a safe neighborhood in the Queen City we'd be looking at more than double the price.  That's hundreds of thousands of dollars more for old plumbing and squeaky floorboards.  A bungalow fixer may be in our distant future, but for now we are feeling so blessed to have found a builder that will add a bit of character to the average cookie cutter!  Don't you just love our cute little bungalow-style tapered columns in the front yard?
Building has been an arduous process.  What should the color of the walls be?  How will the kitchen countertops coordinate with the fireplace hearth?  Why is the wrong bathtub in our master bath?!  I think if I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't build.  I would renovate.  Hey, this is my blog and I'm allowed to be honest, right?  The thing is, I'm picky.  If you know me, you know that to be true.  I have been picky ever since I was a small child and I don't see that changing anytime soon.  So when a builder gave me options for a countertop but didn't include the one option I had been looking for from the start, it felt like compromise.  Even though my house is beautiful and I'm so thankful for it!  Please don't get me wrong.  I am grateful!!!  But I'm also picky. ;)
While the house was in the process of building, the one thing that kept running through my head was "how do I make this house US without ruining the resale value?".  Cookie cutter homes are in cookie cutter neighborhoods and attract people who like cookie cutter things.  Like white metal ceiling fans.  Gag me with a spoon.  It took 6 months for our 1st home to be built, during which I devised a plan.  A master plan.  (insert evil laugh).  I'm going to transform this house, room by room, into a dream home that is loaded with character, personality and charm.  And I'm going to do it on a budget with DIYs and good finds.  Aaaand, I'm going to protect the resale value.  We moved in last week and I have already started making that happen.  In the middle of painting my master bedroom wall for the 4th time (more on that later) I realized what an amazing, crazy journey this is going to be!  Hence the need to write it all down.
Throughout this blog I will be chronicling my adventures, my mishaps and my utter disasters on the journey to making my home beautiful.  Think I can do it?  I guess we'll see!

May 18, 2010

We Bought A House!

I am so pleased to announce that after a few months of searching and a few more months of building, Andrew (my hubby) and I bought a beautiful new house!  Woo hoo!  Holla!  Happy dance!  We couldn't be more excited.  And exhausted.  I have moved a grand total of 14 times since I graduated high school just over a decade ago.  Yes, 14.  Don't hate.  First there was college in a different state, then more college in a different city, then roommates, then no roommates (thank goodness), then marriage, then yet another new state, then finding a great location in that new state.  And here we are.  Almost seven years after Andrew and I tied the knot, we finally decided to put some roots down and stop paying rent!  I may have mentioned this before, but we couldn't be more excited. :)
Over the next few posts, I'll share the reason I decided to make this pretty little blog, why we bought the house we did and what we plan to do with it.  Please stay tuned and leave me comments to let me know what you think!