Sunday, November 30, 2014

Embracing the Off-Center Window in Our Bedroom

I don't know if you have a husband who is a hunter, but I do. I didn't know that when I met him, but last year he started going hunting with my dad way up north in the Upper Peninsula. Last year, while he was gone, I repainted the kitchen and kitchen cabinets.  This year, I redecorated our bedroom. He gets to have his fun, and I get to have mine!

Master Bedroom with Tia on the Bed
Tia likes the new bedroom decor!
Since I moved into Jim's house back in 2009, I have been at a loss what to do to make our bedroom feel like a retreat. Our bedroom is small. So small, that there is only one place that our queen size bed will fit. Unfortunately, the wall where it has to go has one off-center window. 

The off-center window has always bothered me. I mean, what was the builder thinking when he put a single window off center on the wall. It's not like centering it would have ruined the look of the house from the outside. Anyway, I've tried to camouflage it with curtains, but have never really been happy with the results. As you can see, it really closed the room in and made it feel dark.

Off-Center Window
My attempt to hide the off-center window
Embracing the off-center window seemed like the best thing to do in this situation. All over the internet, I found pictures of camouflaging the off-center windows, but not one of how to decorate without trying to camouflage it. Personally, I'm thrilled with how it turned out. It gave me space for some great art above the bed, which I couldn't have done with curtains. Jasper seems to like it too.

Off-center Window
Embracing the off-center window.
Since I decided to embrace the off-center window rather than trying to hid it, I decided to wallpaper the wall behind the bed to give it some texture. The wall had to be special if I wasn't going to hide it. But I didn't want a feature wall, I still wanted it to blend in, so it was painted the color of the rest of the room. I used the paintable, beadboard wallpaper that I used on my kitchen cabinet doors

The paint color was one thing that definitely had to change in the room. I don't know what the old color was, but it had a yellow tinge to it that made me think of nicotine stains, and it always felt dirty to me. Painting the walls Valspar's Pantone White Asparagus freshed up the room. Even though the new color was similar to the old color, it looks clean, and clean always feels brighter.

Small Moments wallpaper
Wallpapering and painting behind the bed.
The other thing that had to go was the nightstands. Our old nightstands were so big, the drawers had to face in towards the bed in order for them to fit on both sides of the bed. For $50, I found great vintage pair of end tables on Craigslist. I bought two Allen and Roth storage boxes for the bottom shelves of them that work like drawers.  The new nightstands take up a lot less space, and the legs make it feel less crowded. Surprisingly, we actually have more room for more of our stuff than we had on the old ones, which is kind of an added bonus.

Old and new nightstands
Old nightstands, Craigslist end tables, and New nightstands in place
The window coverings are from Lowe's. They're actually the same curtains I have in our living room, except in the dark brown color. I used full-size flat sheets to line the curtains so they would darken the room. The roman shades were on clearance, and I got them for less than $5 a piece. I love the dark color with the curtains. When both the curtains and the shades are closed, not a bit of light gets in the room, which lets us sleep in if want.

Finished product
Curtain rods, draperies and roman shades
The curtain rods were quite an odyssey. I was originally going to go with white rods, but the ones I bought were warped, so I took them back. Then I got the idea I wanted dark rods, so I bought some 28" adjustable oil rubbed bronze rods. The grommets kept catching on them where the two poles connected, so I sent them back. Then I bought some 36" bronze ones that turned out to be black when they arrived, so I sent those back.  Finally, I bought some 1.25" diameter 36" wood dowels, some unfinished finials and some brackets, stained them, and made my own curtain rods. I was much happier with them than I was with any of the ready-made rods.

I've been focusing on the bed side of the room, so here are some pictures of the rest of the room. 

Another view of the master bedroom
Walking in from the hallway.
The Armoire
The armoire
Redecorated and beautiful
Looking at the bed while standing in front of the armoire
Small Master Bedroom
The curtains in the picture are covering my closet.
Small master bedroom
Another view from the window side. Jasper doesn't even move.
Dresser with new hardware
Our large dresser.
I was going to paint the furniture a creamy white, but once I got everything else paint, the new curtains hung and the new bedding on the bed, I decided I liked the look of the wood. The curtains have dark brown leaves on them, and the stained wood gave the room a very nature-like feeling. Not only that, but it is now a cream and brown bedroom. It needed some contrast to make it come alive.

New hardware for the dresser
New hardware.
There's another change I made. I switched out all the hardware on the dresser and armoire. The old one rattled and clanked every time the drawers were opened and closed, which is annoying when one of you is trying to sleep! It's not a huge difference in the look... Although, I do think it makes the furniture look less mission style and makes it look a little more elegant. Regardless, it does make it a lot quieter, and that was my real goal!

Cozy Master Bedroom
The new bedding really tied the whole thing together. 
I am so happy with how it turned out. I'm loving how bright the room is and how much larger it feels. It truly is amazing what new window covering, new bedding and fresh paint will do to a room.

Here's a side by side of the before and after...

Before and After The Bedroom is done!
From drab to fab!
I don't know... Looking at the before, the room kind of looked like your standard hotel room, nothing to write home about.  Now it looks and feels like a retreat. Even if it is as small as it was before, it feels bigger, airier and fresh.

Would you ever embrace an off-center window or would you try to hide it?  Do you have an architectural detail in your bedroom that makes you scratch your head and wonder what the builder was thinking? 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Before and After: Dining Chairs

Although I love, love, loved the white chairs with our "haunted" dining table, they really were too large for our small dining area in the kitchen. They just simply took up too much space.  So, I've had my eye out looking for some mahogany chairs to go with our beautiful mahogany table. 

Dining table with white chairs
My beautiful table with my heavy white chairs. 

By now, you're all familiar with my "haunted" dining table--the one I got on Craigslist for $75. Well last February, I found these beauties at the Greater Muskegon Woman's Club's Junk to Jewels Rummage Sale to go with it for another $75.  All four for $75! I just couldn't pass them up.

Mahogany Chairs
Mahogany chairs I got for $75.
The chairs were in excellent shape. What I liked about them is they didn't have any cross braces like the white ones that made them impossible to push all the way in at the ends of the table.

So I brought them home, and it turns out there was nothing wrong with the finish. I thought for sure I'd have to refinish them, but I lucked out. The wood just needed to be cleaned with a little Murphy's Oil Soap, and then I freshened the finish with a little bit of polish.

Mahogany Dining Chair
Look at the detail. Very pretty...dirty, but pretty.
The seats, however, were another story. They were vinyl, they were dirty, and they were hard. Jim and I both agreed they needed more cushion.  And, Jim, being the wonderful husband that he is, decided that I needed a pneumatic stapler to do them. I wasn't sure about it at first, but thank goodness he did, because I don't think my hand would have survived using the the manual stapler!! Now I'm hooked on pneumatic tools!

Jasper the Cat
Jasper decided to help cut the foam. 
At some point someone decided to cover the original upholstery with vinyl. I'm thinking they probably did that in the '60s. The vinyl just ripped right off, no problem at all. The fabric under it came off just as easily. Here's the weird part... The original padding was straw or something like straw. I'm glad we got rid of that, because I can just imagine what my allergies would have been like with that in the seats!!

Mahogany chair
All cleaned up with the new upholstery.
Turns out that the foam for the cushions was the most expensive part. We decided to go with two inch foam for a little added cushion, and we're so glad we did. They are so comfortable! Yes, I used the leftover fabric from when I had my channel back chair upholstered. I just love that fabric, so it worked out well. Plus, since it was leftover, the price was right!

Mahogany chairs
Nice thick, comfy cushions.
I think the hardest part was getting the fabric lined up the same way on all four chairs. If you look closely, I made sure the pattern was centered to match as close to exact as I could get. Of course, unless you look at all four chairs at the same time, you'd never know, but it's that little perfectionist in me coming out.

After: Dining table and chairs
After: Looking like new around the table.
They really do fit around the table so much better, giving us a little more room to move around. Although, now I can see in this picture that the table legs really do need to be refinished... sigh... We have gotten so many compliments on this "set" now.

Okay... now for the kicker... This week, I found five more of these chairs!! When all the leaves are in our table, it will seat eight. So I now have enough matching chairs, plus one!! They are not in as good of shape as these four, but I snatched them up for $10 a piece, $50 total!! They need a little work...some of the joints need to be reglued, and of course, the cushions need to be replaced and re-upholstered. But when they are done, we'll have a complete set.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Finding Inspiration when Inspiration has Waned

I have to admit, I have been uninspired lately. I don't know if anyone else has experienced this... I have all these ideas in my head, but I can't do any of them for one reason or another, and I think that when inspirations is stymied it kind of wanes. So I've been at a stand-still, unable to move forward with the ideas I have, and it is affecting everything in my life.

One of the ideas I'd like to do in the front yard.
What ideas do I have?

Well, I've shared my kitchen redesign idea with you. That is on hold right now because there is some major plumbing that needs to be redone. It turns out that one of the main drain lines has a bit of an incline to it, and is causing some backups. So before we can install a dishwasher, we need to take care of that since the dishwasher will add to the capacity it has to handle.

I think this is the color I'd like our floors to be.
Hardwood floors... I know they're under the carpet and the linoleum. I want to rip all of it up and refinish them. Not a major financial expense, unless we find some surprises, so that's not the problem. It is the disorganization and the mess that is preventing us from moving forward on this. In my old house, I had lots of room to move furniture to other rooms and out of the way. That's not the case here. Where do we put all our stuff while we do this project????

See what I mean? It's hard to be inspired when there are little things that are keeping you from moving forward.

But hopefully, all that will soon change. Here is the project I am hoping we'll be able to do this weekend. It's a long weekend, and we don't have any plans, so it seems like the perfect time to do this.

How I hope our front porch looks when finished.
Front porch... This is a project Jim started four years ago, and just hasn't gotten finished yet. We have the roof, we just don't have the actual porch yet. And once it is done, it is going to change the whole look of our little house. It will finally have that cottage look that we want.

Flower Pot idea
This would be nice going down the steps.
Once the porch is finished, I'll do some landscaping. I love the look of English Cottage Gardens, so that's the look I'll be going for.  I don't want anything too fussy that I have to work hard at keeping up.  All I want is something that will do well with little care.

I'm hoping this project will be the thing that revives my inspiration and makes me feel like I have something to share.

What do you do when your inspiration has waned and you don't know how to get it back?

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