Fall Porch Decor With Hop Vines

The hop vines that grow along the south side of our house are both a blessing and a curse.  Every year in late winter, I pull out massive amounts of trailing underground hop roots in the hope of keeping these vines under control.

The vines usually recover quickly from this setback.  Stronger than before and out for revenge, they are soon back to swallowing up the sunny side of our house.

Hops trying to get in through our dining room window.

But the hop cones are such a beautiful, fresh green when they emerge in late summer.  And they are rewarding to work with.

So today, I’m sharing a couple of my recent hop projects.

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A Hop Garland

The hop garland was surprisingly easy to make.

I simply measured how long I needed the garland to be and then weaved a few hop vines around one another until I had a long enough garland.  Hop vines like to wind around each other naturally anyway, and they almost feel sticky to the touch.  So it was easy to get them to stay woven together.

Hop vines naturally wind around one another.

In the few places where I could not get them to stay together naturally, I just tethered them together with biodegradable garden twine.

The key to success is to do this project when the vines are still green and pliable.  It’s no good trying this once the vines have already dried.

 

 

Then, using clear fishing wire, Chris and I suspended the garland from small hooks that are already installed on our porch ceiling.

There were a few larger hooks, just above the porch entrance, that also came in handy for hanging this garland.

I weaved in extra clusters of hop cones where needed for a fuller look.  When necessary, I tied them on with biodegradable garden twine.

 

This was several weeks ago.  Now the cone clusters have dried and mellowed to a soft caramel color.

And we added pumpkin string lights to the garland.

 

The garland is now brittle to the touch, but it’s holding up very well.  It definitely helps that it is under cover and, for the most part, protected from the rain.

The little hop headpiece that I made for our porch lion looked good at first.

But, since it was not under cover, it suffered in the weather and ultimately had to be tossed.

 

A Hop Wreath

Several years ago, I made this hop wreath using a metal wreath form as a foundation.

My hop wreath from a few years ago.

It was a fun and exuberant wreath, but now I know how to make an all-natural wreath using no metal forms, wires, or other manmade elements.  The beauty of an all-natural wreath is that, when the season changes and I no longer need it, I can just toss the whole wreath into the compost bin and get on with my life – no need to separate it from a metal wreath form first.

I started by clipping some of the grape vines that grow on our fence and weaving them around one another into a wreath form.  As with the hop vines, grape vines are easy to work with when the vines are still green and pliable.

A wreath form made using grape vines.

I just tucked the ends in until they were secure.  The grapevine wreath form didn’t have to look pretty since it was going to be partly covered by the hops anyway.

Then I cut a length of hop vines.  These vines had woven around one another while they were growing, so they had already done some of my work for me.

 

Then, for lack of a better description, I just weaved, folded, and tucked the hop vines securely onto the grapevine wreath.  It took a little bit of trial and error, but it was fairly easy.

There is nothing manmade holding this wreath together.  It is just vines wrapped around one another.

The front door is very protected from the elements so, like the garland, the wreath mellowed into a golden caramel color after a couple of weeks.

 

A Little Viola Pumpkin

This isn’t a hop project, but I thought I’d share another little piece of my porch decor:  This simple little viola pumpkin.

I cut the top off of a sugar pumpkin and hollowed it, scraping out the seeds and some of the pumpkin meat. (The meat I’d removed made a nice side dish with our dinner that evening.)

Then I cut a drain hole in the bottom of the pumpkin.  I planted the violas in a small plastic container and placed it inside the hollowed pumpkin. A bit of moss conceals the plastic pot.

The hollowed pumpkin probably won’t stay fresh for long, so having the violas in a plastic pot will make them easier to remove when the time comes.  I know some folks use bleach or other substances to keep their pumpkins fresh longer but I don’t because (1) I’m too lazy, and (2) I like to compost my pumpkins when I’m done with them, so I want to keep them all natural.

More Fall Porch Decor

The rest of my fall porch decor is not exciting and, as you will see, our porch furniture needs a facelift – badly!  But here it is anyway.

 

 

 

(In case you’re wondering, the white box in the photo above is our Ridwell box.)

Now to plan:  Should I revamp the existing porch furniture or replace it with something new, perhaps one of these looks?

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Have The Home Of Your Dreams With These Simple Renovations

My recent living room makeover wasn’t a huge remodel.  It wasn’t even particularly imaginative. The biggest change was a new coat of paint. Yet it made a huge improvement to my home and the way I feel about it.  Now I want to keep going and repaint every room on the main floor!

So this contributed post, about simple changes that make a big impact, really spoke to me.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Have The Home Of Your Dreams With These Simple Renovations

Do you want to improve your home but don’t know where to start? Consider starting small.  Sometimes small changes are all you need to breathe fresh life into your home.  So, if you want to fall in love with your home again without spending a fortune, this post is for you! It will go over some simple renovations that will have your house feeling new in no time.

Apply A Fresh Coat Of Paint

Applying a new coat of paint is a cheap, simple way to update any room.  You can also peel off wallpaper before repainting your walls. 

The best time to paint is when the weather outside is warm and dry so that your fresh paint will not peel or crack—plan for at least a week of drying time before moving furniture back in. Laying plastic on floors and using a drop cloth to protect the floor will help contain any mess. Once it’s dry, you’ll be pleased with the beautiful transformation that a fresh coat of paint can bring.

Install New Lighting

An easy way to make a space feel new is with some simple light fixtures. Swapping out a fixture can change the mood of your home in seconds. Make sure the fixture is large enough to cover most or all of the space without being too overwhelming or detracting from other elements in the room, such as a fireplace.

It would help to balance lighting between ambient, task, and accent lights, so make sure you keep that in mind when selecting fixtures for different parts of the room. Select fixtures that complement your décor, but don’t feel limited to them. Be sure to hire a professional to install your new light fixtures if you are not experienced at doing this task yourself.

Replace An Old Roof

Some of the most important tasks to take on when having an old house renovated are those that will make your property more energy-efficient. Of course, the priority is usually a new roof as it can save you heating and cooling costs. 

There are many different types of roofing materials available, but asphalt shingles are often a good option because they last longer and are less expensive than some other materials. And sources like Affordable Home Services can make roof replacements cost effective.

Add A Mudroom

There are so many benefits to having a mudroom.  But even if there is no room in your existing floor plan to add one, try designating some wall space near your front or back door as a space for an organized “drop zone” for keys, sunglasses, gloves and jackets. Most importantly, provide a place for wet or dirty footwear. This can reduce the amount of dirt, mud, and other debris tracked into your house, so you won’t have to clean house as often.  

Invest In Your Entrance

The entrance is the first impression that guests have of your home.  If possible, make sure that your entryway has a welcoming feel. A great way to do this is by investing in a new front door or repainting your existing one and adding upgraded door hardware.  Try adding decent-sized plant containers on either side of the front door or an attractive outdoor chair or bench near the entrance.

Conclusion

The home of your dreams might be closer than you think. With just a few simple renovations, you can make any space feel like the place where you belong and want to spend time with family and friends every day. 

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4 Great Ideas For Improving Your Home’s Exterior

Today’s contributed post is on one of my favorite topics: Curb appeal.  At my house, there is always room for improvement in this area, and tip number 2 reminded me that I really need to step up my game when it comes to exterior lighting.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

4 Great Ideas For Improving Your Home’s Exterior

We often hear real estate professionals talk about the importance of street appeal in buying and selling properties.  That’s because street appeal is your home’s public image.  It’s the story that it tells about itself and its occupants.  And that means something whether or not you’re selling your home. 

As per the U.S Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, homeowners spent $522 billion on home improvement projects from 2017 to 2019.  And, while much of this money and effort was spent on interior improvements to homes, improving your outdoor space is equally essential.

But improving your home’s exterior doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult.  Here are a few simple tips.

1.  Upgrade Your Front Door

First impressions typically begin at your front entryway, so having a dazzling front door is a guaranteed way to boost your home’s curb appeal. Thankfully, you can explore numerous ideas to make your front door attractive. For instance, giving your front door a new coat of paint can refresh your home completely. Alternatively, you can replace an old and unappealing door with a more eye-catching option. However, unless you plant to repaint your exterior, always choose a new front door based on your existing outdoor color scheme.

You can also upgrade your front door hardware to enhance its look. And if you are considering redesigning your entryway or front door, it is always best to add a personalized touch that reflects your style. As such, you can hop over to this page to consult with experts for durable, customized doors to improve your curb appeal.

2.  Invest In Exterior Lighting

Proper outside lighting is a must-have to boost your home’s exterior. For starters, exterior lights increase curb appeal and can even help you get more cash for your house when you decide to sell in the future. Indeed, the National Association of Home Builders reports that excellent exterior lighting can increase your home’s value by up to 20%. 

Outdoor lights also highlight exciting landscape or architectural features at night, so they are worth the investment. In addition, these lights increase safety after dark since well-lit exterior spaces deter criminals. You can select strong lighting sources if you want a highly illuminated space or opt for solar lights and small lanterns for a soothing and relaxed atmosphere.

3.  Revive Your Roof

Your roof is an essential aspect of your home’s insulation and weatherproofing system. But your roof also significantly contributes to your home’s exterior appeal. Therefore, a roof revival might be necessary to transform drab roofing into an aesthetically pleasing asset. Generally, your roof’s condition and age will determine whether replacement is needed. As such, take a critical look at your roof and consider repairing or replacing it to improve your home’s exterior.

4.  Install Window Boxes

 

Window boxes are undeservingly overlooked when homeowners consider ideas for sprucing up their home’s exterior. However, the classic window box remains an excellent exterior design feature that can add a distinct touch to your house and make it genuinely stand out. You can select a window box made of metal, wood, vinyl, or fiberglass, depending on your preferences. Then, hire a professional to anchor these boxes properly, reducing their chances of failing in the future. You can also consider planting some colorful mix and match flowers to make your exterior brim with life.

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ORC Week 8: A Pet-Friendly Living Room Makeover – Final Reveal

Finally we’re at Week 8 of the One Room Challenge.  If you’ve been following my living room transformation since Week 1, thank you so much for coming along on my little journey.  In this post, you’ll finally see if I accomplished my goal of creating an elegant, airy, and inviting living room that looks right for our circa 1920s house.  And, because we always seem to end up with at least one resident cat, it must also be able to withstand pet hair and pet stains.

Basically, my project consisted painting stuff, buying stuff, and moving stuff around.  To see some really impressive projects, check out what the other Challenge participants have done.  You can find their projects here.

Big thanks to media sponsor Better Homes & Gardens and ORC creator Linda at Calling It Home.  The ORC gave me the motivation I needed to actually do something about this room – and keep to a schedule.

The Room’s Challenges

In my Week 1 post, I went into detail on the challenges we were facing with the living room.  But, in a nutshell, this is just a very tricky room to furnish.  Because it has two huge windows, two doorways, and one large archway, there is very little actual wall space.  Since there is no entry hall, traffic flow from the front door to any other place in the house radiates from the living room.  So traffic flow also had to be taken into consideration when placing furniture.

As a result, most of the furniture was pushed against the walls.  This made the living room feel more like a glorified hallway.  And somehow it looked cluttered and empty at the same time.

Living room before

The sofa blocked access to the garden view from one of the large windows. Anyone sitting on the sofa would be facing away from the view. Since I’m the type of person who loves to look out windows, this has always bugged me.

Living room before

But turning the sofa at an angle from the window wouldn’t have worked either because that huge sofa would have impeded traffic flow to the dining room.

Living room and dining room before

Also, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the room was a bit bland.  The blandness actually did have a calming effect – which is why we kept it that way for so long.  But this was not a room where we enjoyed spending a lot of time.

Although antiques are not trendy right now, we love ours.  But they felt stagnant in the room.  I needed to find locations that worked better for them.

So, here is what we did.  And as I explain the project, I’ll also mention a couple of things that make the room pet-friendly.

The Transformation!

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We mostly use this room for gatherings or for listening to music.

So, for a cozier gathering area, we replaced the sofa with a loveseat.  That enabled us to create a U-shaped seating configuration that centered around the large window instead of blocking it.

The new loveseat is from World Market.  I know from experience that it can comfortably seat two adults and one small child.

 

It was very affordable, and I am in love with its fun and classic design.  The green upholstered chair is also new from World Market.  They are both very soft and velvety.

Pet-Friendliness:  Although I can’t speak for all cats, none of our cats have ever been compelled to use furniture covered in microsuede as a scratching post.  It’s also easy to spot-clean and vacuum. So I made sure that my new furniture pieces (the loveseat and upholstered chair) were covered in microsuede fabrics.  

The new furniture configuration called for a square area rug.  The new area rug I found carries a bit of an arts and crafts theme that I think goes well with our 1920s house.  The only thing I’m not crazy about is the fringe.

Pet-Friendliness:  Maybe it’s just the particular vacuum that I have, but I find it impossible to vacuum cat hair from low-pile rugs.  So, when shopping for a new rug, I didn’t consider rugs with a pile height shorter than a half inch.   

I gave the tray of our old coffee table/ottoman an update (detailed in my Week 6 post).  It not only looks better, it’s also easier to clean up spills since now it has a plexiglass cover.

Beyond it, under the window, is the little vintage bench that used to be in our bedroom.  It works well here as extra seating yet it doesn’t block the window view.

This Hepplewhite-style chair was one of the first antiques I purchased (at a swap meet) as a young adult.  I love it just as much now as when I first saw it.

In the corner behind it, a vintage lamp adds evening lighting.  A majesty palm and a “string of bananas” succulent help to blur the line between indoors and outdoors.

 

A piece of abstract art done by my preschooler niece, and an oil painting of our cat, Eddie, painted by a friend, hang on the wall.  (Now Eddie can give us his judgy look even when he’s not in the room.)

 

To the left of the palm is the dresser I revamped with chalk paint a few years ago.

 

As a side table between the two chairs, we are using a small vintage table that we inherited from my mother-in-law.

And next to the loveseat is the industrial glam campaign table that used to belong to my Mom.  She graciously agreed to trade another table with me so I could have this one.  So I guess I didn’t just shop my own house for this room, I also shopped Mom’s.

From the front door, traffic flow still works.  But the living room no longer looks like a hallway – with furniture pushed against the walls.  It’s cozier and more intimate.

The north wall is the longest stretch of uninterrupted wall space, but the front door also swings in here.  Furniture placed on this wall needs to be fairly shallow for the sake of traffic flow.

Here we placed our wardrobe-turned-stereo-cabinet and an antique console.

This wall gets indirect light from two large windows, so plants here always seem to do well.

We don’t use the front door much ourselves, but guests and packages come in this way.  So, other than the plants, I didn’t go overboard on styling the console as it will no doubt serve as a drop zone.

 

But of course I had to tweak something after this post was published.  I remembered a friend’s advice to make the living room reflect our personalities – which I think I did for the most part.  But the console felt impersonal.  So I changed a few of things and added a couple of art pieces done by family members of all ages.  There’s still space to use the console as a drop zone, but now it’s just more “us.”

Moving on to the west wall, we have our liquor cabinet.  The large mirror was hanging in this location before.  It’s the only piece in the room that went back to the same location.

We got the wood carving from a local artist in Kona, Hawaii, while vacationing on The Big Island.

From the dining room, there is ample space to enter the living room despite the placement of the loveseat.

As a transition between the living room and dining room, we hung a large print that we got at an arts and crafts fair in Newport, Oregon.

The photo was taken under the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport.

I really love how the photograph looks with our new wall color, and I’d like to talk a moment about the new color.  It’s a PPG color called Iced Periwinkle.  This color changes noticeably in any changing light.

For example, this color is in both our living room and our dining room.  But, when the dining room light is on, it looks like a completely different color.  So far I’m liking any color it decides to be.

Deep, moody colors and wall treatments like box moldings are trending now, and they look fantastic. But it’s not what I wanted for this room.  So, once again, I’m flying my freak flag and going against trend.

Speaking of which, this is also a good time to mention the window coverings – or lack thereof:

If the windows were mullioned, I would have already replaced the dated mini blinds.  But I have yet to find an alternative type of blind or shade that is as versatile or as suited for the expanse of these large picture windows.  So, until I do, they have to stay.

Also, you might be wondering where the curtains are.  The curtains that were in the room before actually look better with the new wall color but, for the time being, we are enjoying the windows without them.

But let’s get back to the single most important issue:  Our resident cat Eddie.  Before the room transformation, he loved sleeping on the large sofa against the window.  So I was hoping he could find happiness in this room even after the transformation.

Well, the jury has come back.

And I think he’ll be okay.

So I can finally say that, as far as I’m concerned, the transformation was a success.

I will leave you with one last before . . .

Southeast wall before

and after.

Southeast wall after

Sources

The Camel Leanna tufted loveseat is from World Market.

The green upholstered chair is also from World Market, though I’m not seeing it on their website at the moment.

All throw pillows are from World Market.

I got the square area rug from another source, but it’s available on Amazon (and on sale as of this writing).

The felt rug pad under the rug is from RugPadUSA on Amazon.

The woven seagrass plant basket that the majesty palm is in is from Artera Home Store and available on Amazon.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

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ORC Week 7: A Pet-Friendly Living Room Makeover

With one week to go before the final reveal, Week 7 of the One Room Challenge had me obsessing over accessories and art.  And I have to say it’s been the most fun I’ve had so far with my living room transformation.

My final goal is an elegant, airy, and inviting living room that can also withstand pet hair and pet stains. If you’d like to see before photos and read about the issues that I’ve been addressing during this Challenge, check out my post from Week 1.

My room transformation has been very simple compared to some of the amazing projects that other Challenge participants are taking on.  You can find their projects here.

Accessories

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I’ll be shopping my house for most of the accessories I need, but I did bring home a few new throw pillows to test in the room.  For our new loveseat, I decided on these two from World Market.

I’m finding that corals and oranges work surprisingly well with our Iced Periwinkle wall color.

The room is screaming for more plants and natural textures, so I got a decent-sized majesty palm.  It is in a corner of the room that gets lots of natural light.

And I ordered this adorable belly basket to put it in.  I can’t wait to see it in real life.

I love that it is made of sustainably grown seagrass and woven by Vietnamese artisans.  It comes with a plastic liner, but I don’t trust that to make it waterproof.  I’m going to place a saucer inside the basket before setting in the plant pot.

But no doubt the most important accessory is the new plus-sized scratching post I got (happily, marked down on clearance) for our plus-sized cat.

Eddie in action

Good kitty, he already likes it.  Now hopefully he’ll leave everything else in the room alone.  His scratching post will be stashed away whenever we have company, so you won’t be seeing this accessory in the final reveal.

Art

We relocated some of the pieces that were in the room before.

The antique mirror is now in our tiny dining room.  Our dining room also got a mini-makeover with the same wall paint as the living room.

But we needed a new piece of art for the living room’s north wall.  I obsessed for hours this week over what we should get.  I love vintage botanical prints and found that the Biodiversity Heritage Library has an extensive assortment of beautiful flora and fauna images available for free download.  So I was down that rabbit hole for quite some time.

Eventually I realized that I was getting very confused and rushing the process just for the sake of completing the Challenge.  It would be more fun if Chris and I could find something for the wall that we both love – and see it in person before deciding.

So in the meantime we’re using an inexpensive canvas print that I found this week at TJ Maxx.  It is nothing special, but it does work well here.

This print is only a placeholder until we find the right piece for this space.  But at least now there’s no hurry.

A Rug Pad

My new rug pad from RugpadUSA arrived.  I like that these rug pads are affordable and 100% felt.  They don’t come with the overwhelming chemical smell that other rug pad products might have.

I ordered it in the 1/4″ thickness and hoped it would be thick enough.  And it is.

But it was just a little too large for our new area rug, so I had to trim it.

Some of the reviews I read mentioned that folks were having difficulty trimming their rug pads with scissors.  But I used sewing scissors and didn’t have any trouble – at least not with this 1/4″ thickness pad.

So, that’s the progress this week.  Tune in next week for the final reveal!

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

SIMPLE SPRING  HOME REFRESH IDEAS

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

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ORC Week 6: A Pet-Friendly Living Room Makeover

It’s Week 6 of the One Room Challenge, with only two weeks to go before participants post their final room reveals.  This week had me working on a couple of small DIY projects that should add some character to my living room transformation without breaking the bank.

My final goal is an elegant, airy, and inviting living room that can also withstand pet hair and pet stains. If you’d like to see before photos and read about the issues that I plan to address during this Challenge, check out my post from Week 1.

You can find the projects that the other Challenge participants are working on here.

Before I share my little DIY projects, I’d like to give you a peek at our new area rug – which just arrived a couple of days ago.

The New Rug

We chose it for its art deco/craftsman pattern, which I love with our antique art deco light fixture.  I think it’s a nice choice for a 1920s home.  We needed a square rug to work with the new U-shaped seating arrangement that is going into this room, and this rug measures about 8’X8′.

But is it pet-friendly?  Our cat, Eddie, is actually quite the gentleman.  He has (knock on wood) lovely indoor manners.  But he is long-haired and sheds like crazy.  With all the hair he sheds, it’s amazing he’s not bald.  His hair clings to low-pile area rugs for its life, and vacuuming doesn’t work to release it.  Nothing really does.

But previously I had a shag area rug in the living room, and his hair was much easier to vacuum from that rug.

So when I was shopping for a new rug, I avoided low-pile rugs and looked at ones that were at least medium-pile.  This rug is medium-pile, anti-static, and water-resistant.  I also shopped only inexpensive rugs because I’d be a fool to buy an expensive rug (or an expensive anything) while co-habitating with a pet.

Since it’s new and scary, Eddie is avoiding the rug right now.  So it is yet to be tested for its pet-friendliness.

Now on to the little DIY projects.

An Upgraded Ottoman Tray

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In last week’s update, I mentioned that I was in the process of painting the tray on my living room ottoman because I was not crazy about its cheap faux wood finish.

So I spray painted it with Ace Interior Metallic spray paint in Antique Gold. The spray paint can does mention that the paint finish is merely decorative, and I have to say that I agree.  It was not the most stable paint I’ve ever worked with and, on large flat surfaces, I couldn’t get even coverage even after applying several coats.

But the paint is attractive, and I had other plans anyway for the large flat surface of the tray.

To make the paint more durable and  stable, I applied a couple of coats of Verathane Polyurethane Finish to the tray after painting it.  For this I used an edger pad.  (I use edger pads for all kinds of applications other than edging because I find that they make it easy to apply a nice, even coat to things without brush strokes.  I also used a small paint brush for the hard-to-reach corner areas.)

Now it was time for the beautiful artisan paper.

I’d like to say that I found it myself, but it was my Mom who spotted it and called it to my attention while we were shopping at a local fabric/craft store.  And it was on sale for 50% off.

Actually, 50% off seems to be the theme for my tray makeover because, earlier, I’d had a piece of plexiglass cut to fit inside the tray.  The home improvement store associate who cut it for me didn’t cut one edge smooth enough, so he marked the piece down by 50%.  When I brought it home, Chris was able to easily smooth that rough edge with his Dremel.

Now the artisan paper is on the tray and protected under the sheet of plexiglass.

Coasters won’t be needed on this ottoman – the plexiglass protects it from water rings and makes it easy to clean.

 

If I get tired of the artisan paper or want a different look for the changing seasons, it will be easy to lift the plexiglass and replace the paper.  I can even use fabric instead.

Here is another look I tried earlier with a cotton fabric.

Upgrading A Frame

Using the same spray paint and protective finish that I’d used on the tray, I upgraded a tired, dated picture frame.

Now it is a frame worthy of the work of my favorite abstract artist:  My preschooler niece.

I just hope I didn’t hang this piece upside down.

This is actually the piece that got me thinking of adding more color to the living room in the first place, so it deserves pride of place.

Art and accessories are next on my list for this room.  Stay tuned!

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

SIMPLE SPRING  HOME REFRESH IDEAS

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
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ORC Week 5: A Pet-Friendly Living Room Makeover

It’s Week 5 of the One Room Challenge, and the plans and ideas I had for my living room transformation are finally becoming reality.  I wasn’t organized enough to put together a mood board for this project, but not being tied to a mood board left room for the unexpected:  Things like certain colors and finishes working surprisingly well with the wall paint – or forgotten items from other rooms looking stylish in the living room.

I am enjoying how sophisticated browns and golds look with the new wall color.

My final goal is an elegant, airy, and inviting living room that can also withstand pet hair and pet stains. If you’d like to see before photos and read about the issues that I plan to address during this Challenge, check out my post from Week 1.

You can find the projects that the other Challenge participants are working on here.

Chris and I have moved some of the existing furniture around and taken some things out of the room.  Here is what else I’ve been up to this week.

Shopping

The older I get, the less I like the concept of being a consumer.  So we usually buy vintage, pre-owned furniture when it makes sense.

But I don’t like to buy upholstered pieces second-hand.  Since we needed another chair for the living room and we buy new furniture so rarely, I thought I would march right into an upscale furniture shop and buy a quality, high-end piece.

Then I remembered why I never do that:  We have a cat!  And if we didn’t have him, we’d probably have a different cat.  Maybe several.

So I found a charming, comfy, and affordable chair at the same import store that carries the adorable loveseat that I raved about in Week 3.

It is cat-friendly microsuede, and I think that the wood rim around the seat bottom gives it a bit of a high-end look.

Now that it’s in the room, I have a chance to test accent colors and patterns.

The new furniture configuration also calls for a square area rug.  I ordered one online, and I’m hoping that it works in the room.

Shopping My Own House

I needed a floor lamp behind the new chair.  This vintage floor lamp was in our bedroom by default – there was nowhere else to put it.

Luckily, it is the perfect reading lamp to go behind the new chair.

This vintage bench was also in our bedroom.  I brought it into the living room just as a test piece to see how a bench would look under the window.  But it’s so cute in the room that, for the time being, it’s staying.

Customizing What I Already Have

This coffee table/ottoman has been in our living room for years.  Apart from its cute legs, it is nothing special.  But it’s good storage for the toys that my niece still likes to play with on visits.

The cheap faux wood grain on the tray has always bugged me.

I want to class it up a bit, so I’m in the process of painting the tray an antique gold.

I have a few other things that I’m going to do to snazz it up even more and make the paint finish more durable.

A Small Family Gathering

Although the room isn’t finished, I hosted a small family gathering.  It was a good way to test the new U-shaped furniture configuration on a friendly audience.  Everyone seemed to like it.  As I’d hoped, it was cozier than the old configuration and took better advantage of the garden views.  It also felt fresh and airy.  Traffic flow between the living room and other areas was still good.  There really didn’t seem to be any hiccups.

What’s Next?

We need to decide which art pieces still work in the room – and where they should be placed.  I’ll probably also be looking for new pieces.

We need pillows and accessories.

I’m thinking more plants may also be in order – and some natural texture.  Maybe some baskets.

And then there are the curtains.  The curtains we already have actually work well with the new wall color.  But we are also enjoying the look of the windows without the curtains.  Once we hang the art, we might have a better sense of whether the curtains are needed.  Right now, everything looks horizontal and we need some vertical interest.

I wish I could show you more, but I don’t want to spoil the final reveal.  Tune in next week for more progress!

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

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ORC Week 4: A Pet-Friendly Living Room Makeover – Tips for Choosing The Perfect Paint Color

We are already at the halfway point of the One Room Challenge – Week 4!  One thing I hadn’t considered when I joined the spring edition of the One Room Challenge is that, in spring, I’d rather be outside gardening than inside painting walls.  But now at least the painting part of my living room transformation is complete, and I am happy with the result.

My final goal is an elegant, airy, and inviting living room that can also withstand pet hair and pet stains. If you’d like to see before photos and read about the issues that I plan to address during this Challenge, check out my post from Week 1.

You can find the projects that the other Challenge participants are working on here.

Tips For Choosing The Perfect Paint Color

In my Week 2 update, I shared that Chris and I had been having a little trouble deciding on a paint color for the living room walls.  We wanted the room to have a specific look, but we weren’t sure which color would get us there.

So today I’m sharing a few tips – things that I learned on our journey to find the right paint color.

Affiliate links appear in this post.  For more on my affiliate links, please see this page.

Tip #1:  Ask To See The Fan Deck

Titan Restoration recently offered to feature me in their infographic 7 Home Hacks From The Experts.  (Check it out for some wonderful tips!)  With the task of paint color selection still fresh in my mind, this was the tip that I chose to share.  It might be simple, but it was how I finally made some progress in selecting a paint color.

We were going with PPG Paints because, a while ago, Chris had received a certificate for five free gallons of this paint from a PPG vendor – wonderful!

Early on, I ruled out looking at color options on my laptop or my phone since neither screen really showed the colors accurately.

So, I’d gone to the home improvement store that carries PPG Paints, browsed the wall display, and brought home a few sample colors to try.  Well, maybe more than a few.

This isn’t even all of the colors we sampled!

I could probably have asked the paint associate to custom match any color I wanted, but I never quite trust custom color matches.  I hadn’t ruled it out, but I just wanted to explore easier options first –  namely, using a color created by the paint brand we were planning to use.

I’d been back to the paint department so many times that the associates were probably starting to think that I was stalking them.  There I was yet again, standing in artificial light and sifting through a wall display I’d already seen several times.  Were these really the only colors they offered?

Then it finally dawned on me:  Ask for the paint fan deck!  I’m not sure if the fan deck had every color that PPG Paints offers, but it was probably pretty close.

The paint associate let me take the fan deck out to the garden department so I could look at the colors in natural light.  This helped because our living room gets a lot of natural light.  I was finally getting an accurate depiction of the colors.

Tip #2:  Get Rid Of The Old Color Before Testing New Colors

Our old wall color was very strong.  Testing new colors in the same room with it was distracting.

So I went ahead and prepped and primed the living room walls.  I was going to have to do that anyway.

Now I had an even playing field on which to test new colors.

Tip #3:  Test Paint A Really Big Area

We thought we had finally settled on a color but, just to be completely sure, I test painted a very large area of the room with it.

And . . . we were disappointed.  The color was too tame and not as elegant as we’d hoped.

So I went back to a color that we both liked but had ruled out earlier as too intense.  I tested a very large area with that color.  It was perfect.

An Elegant, Airy, Old-World Color

The paint color we chose in the end was Iced Periwinkle.  It looks blue until you get it next to other blues.  Then you can really see its lavender overtones.  It this color trending right now?  I have no idea.  But we love it for the room.

The online description for this color suggests pairing it with caramel. And it does work well with the room’s creamy white moldings – which is a diluted shade of caramel. The room’s large crown moldings are painted a slightly deeper shade of cream than the other moldings, and the wall color works with that color as well.

We continued the wall paint into our small dining room.  There, the moldings are a brighter white.  But it still works.

The overhead light is on in this dining room photo.  The paint color changes noticeably when lighting changes.

Next Steps

Now that the painting is done, I can concentrate on furniture arrangement and accessories – the fun stuff!  It is looking like the stylish loveseat that I mentioned in my Week 3 update might just work.  We have a few other fun details planned, so stay tuned!

Update

My living room transformation is now complete!  To see the final room reveal, check out my Week 8 Post.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

SIMPLE SPRING  HOME REFRESH IDEAS

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

Exploring

 

 

 

ORC Week 3: A Pet-Friendly Living Room Makeover

It’s Week 3 of the One Room Challenge, and I’m finally making a bit of progress on my pet-friendly living room transformation.  If you’d like to see the room I’m working on and the issues I plan to address, check out my post from Week 1.

You can find the projects that the other Challenge participants are working on here.

My final goal is an elegant, airy, and inviting living room that can also withstand pet hair and pet stains.  After all, pets are family too.

This week, I’ve been busy prepping and priming the walls before I paint them.  But what else has been happening?

A Very Cute Loveseat – Hopefully It Will Work!

If you tuned in last week, you saw that I was considering a U-shaped conversation area for my living room, shown in the circled area on the sketch below.

 

This configuration would draw focus to the room’s largest window and take advantage of the serene garden view beyond.

The new configuration would call for a loveseat instead of a sofa.

And the loveseat must have three important features:

1.  Shallow Depth

Typical sofas and many loveseats have about a 36- to 39-inch depth.  To better fit the space, I needed a shallower loveseat – one that was around 31 inches deep.

2.  Pet-Friendly Fabric

Our old sofa was microsuede, which turned out to be amazingly pet friendly.  For 15 years, various resident cats used it as their go-to place to sleep, shed, drool and, on occasion, cough up hairballs.

Yet it was easy to vacuum, easy to spot clean and, most importantly, none of our cats had much of an interest in using it as a scratching post.

So, ideally, I wanted a loveseat with a microsuede fabric.

3.  Stylish Yet Comfortable

Comfortable furniture is often boring to look at.  I was hoping to find something elegant, stylish, and fun – yet still comfortable.

Since what I wanted was so specific, I’d been browsing loveseat options online.  But then I learned that many furniture sources are currently experiencing very long lead times on deliveries.  You’ve probably already guessed why:  The pandemic.  Furniture manufacturers have been facing production challenges while increased pandemic shopping has created a higher-than-usual demand.

Things weren’t look good, but it finally occurred to me to check a chain import store that has locations near me.

And, there on their website, I saw the most adorable loveseat. Miraculously, it had all the features that I was looking for.  The store closest to me was sold out, and there was only one left within a 50-mile radius – a display model.  Chris and I hopped in his truck and raced to the store!

It was nice for both of us to actually see and test the loveseat in real life before taking it home.  The bargain hunter in me loves that it has a look of quality that usually comes with a much higher price tag.

Currently it’s still in plastic wrap and sitting on its side in Chris’s office until I finish painting the living room walls.

So right now I can only show you the legs.

I won’t actually know for sure if the loveseat will work in this space until we’re able to bring it into the room.  So I could still be in for a bitter disappointment.

But if it works, I’ll have photos and a link to my source in my final reveal post.

Farewell Old Sofa!

The old sofa didn’t go down without a fight.  The legs needed to come off before we could get it out the door.  So, Chris tipped it on its side.

But the screws would not budge.  Those legs were staying on!

Instead, we removed the front door.

This story does have a happy ending though because the sofa did not end up in a landfill.  It’s gone to another happy home where it will be loved, appreciated, and probably drooled on by another pet.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

SIMPLE SPRING  HOME REFRESH IDEAS

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories: