Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Five Steps to Decorating Any Room: An Introduction

Sorry the blog has gone silent these past ten days. The day after I posted the last ORC post, I came down with a whopper of cold. It is still with me, but all is well as long as I don't speak. I highly recommend fresh minced ginger and honey in hot water as a soothing drink.

I have been decorating since forever.

But it has only been in the last year or so that I've begun to notice that there is a definite way to go about it, a process, if you will. I have gone through this process a lot recently and it is more or less the same each time. I had planned to blog about each step and how it pertained to my ORC project as we went along, but time got away from me as it tends to do during the tight timeline of a One Room Challenge. So, now that we have some time, I can take a more leisurely approach and do a complete series on how to decorate--or make over--any room in the house. Today, the broad strokes.

There are five stages or steps.

1. Create a Vision

 A cohesive room starts with a cohesive vision. I love combing through Pinterest and Houzz and getting inspired. You can use magazines, too, of course. You can even use three dimensional objects and fabrics, if you prefer, and create a style tray. Whenever I start a new project, usually I start a new Pinterest board to put all my inspiration pictures in one spot.  The most important part of this process is to have the feel of the room figured out. Here, we're looking at Big Picture details like is there a lot of contrast--or a little? What are the textures like? Knowing how to analyse your inspiration is crucial to the process. Once you've done that, then you can make a mood board (or, as I've done many times, throw up a blog post) to capture the feel for the room.

This is the moodboard I put together for my Mom's powder room. 

2. Assess Your Needs

This is your why. There's not much point in making over a room unless it isn't meeting your needs at the moment. When I made over the living room, I was looking to bring a sense of style to the room. I wanted it cohesive and somewhat polished--I was tired of it being a a rag tag collection of unfinished projects and motley things. When I redid the dining room, I wanted a place for a lounge chair and a calming space capable of seating six comfortably for dinner.

one of the many floor plans I made for the Dining Room

3. Create Your Style

This is where we get into the nitty gritty. What will you walls be like? Will you change the colour? Will you panel them? Stencil them? Put up a gallery wall? What about your lighting? Do you have enough? What about your windows? Are you getting the best style statement you can from them? Does your room have oomph? Will there be Something that makes you sit up and take notice?

Hard to tell which makes more of a statement: that awesome stencil on the soffit or the fabulous colour of the cabinets.

4. Do the Work

For me, this almost always begins with decluttering. Especially if you are changing or modifying the purpose of the room, you will have to move out the old to make room for the new. As for the rest, your scope of work will depend upon what you're doing. This is also the time to talk about the budget.

a member of my wonderful "crew", my son Ben.

5. Add Accessories

Now, we can layer in the art, put the books on the bookshelves, and figure out the most attractive way to look after those things you need to keep by the sink, the coffee table, your nightstand, or what have you.

Fall Mantle

This process works. Although, of course, sometimes it's linear--and I do all the steps in order as I've outlined. But sometimes, it's more organic and I go back and forth between the steps in no particular order, figuring out things as I go. Nonetheless, this is the process and I plan to expand upon each of the steps in the next few months, so that by the next ORC (October 8, 2016) anyone planning on decorating a room will be more than ready to go.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

ORC 6: Presenting Mom's Totally Glam Powder Room

For the last eight weeks, my Mom and I have been working on the small powder room on her main floor. She had started before Christmas with ripping down old wallpaper and having new vinyl tile floors installed. I was working on a design plan and starting to order a few things when I decided to take this project and do it as a One Room Challenge.

Here's the story so far:

ORC 1: Going Insane Again
ORC 2: Hall of Mirrors 
ORC 3: Seven Steps to Stress
ORC 4: The Roller Coaster

In many ways, I wish I hadn't taken this on. The pace of the challenge eats up every spare minute. It adds stress to an already stressful situation. But heavens, what if we had not done this room as a one room challenge? I'd have quit somewhere around week four or five. And then Mom would not now have this:

Here's where we began in earnest:

The floor, sink, faucet, toilet and shelf are all that remain.

We aren't quite done.

We still have to finish the top edge of the tile with some wood trim, painted to match the bottom. Like so:

It will finish the room beautifully.

When we started the project, you couldn't get into the bathroom on the sink side. We'd put an old Billy bookcase in the doorway--it just fit--in order to create a "closet" for much needed storage. However, we needed more room while we were working and removed it somewhere around week three or four. Both of us loved it instantly.

The light fixture was my Mother's day gift to my Mom. Is that weird?

We discovered two things when we installed the light fixture two days ago. 1) The hole was a bit too big for this fixture, and 2) it was not centered over the sink. The solution to both of these problems wasn't something we felt we could do in two days!

Here is that wall from the other angle.

You can see the two pieces of art we chose from Minted.

Mom calls this one Venice: (That may actually be its official name.)

We bought this framed. I added the thin line of gold to the outer edge.

This one is The Long Road. (Officially.)

It's beside the Roman shade on the wall, opposite the fixtures:

It was really hard to get a good shot of this. Mom made it. She says the Waverly fabric is another "work of art." I totally agree.

I love that we hung it almost at the ceiling: we can see more of that fabric!

The mirror was a last minute find from Value Village. I could not resist it, even though installing it presented a huge challenge. It has so much character!

The towel rack was another value village score for $2.99! Bonus: it was already bronze--and acrylic! So old it's new again!

So, here are a few more pretty shots before I take a really long nap.

And that's a wrap.

Thank you to everyone who cheered me on these past six weeks. I really appreciate it. The featured designers inspired me each and every week to keep going and remain true to my vision. It was wonderful knowing that even the professionals experience setbacks and hiccups. You really should check out their works here.

And one of the reasons the One Room Challenge is so worth doing is the company of many, many others, just like me, doing the same impossible things at all levels of complexity and budget. Check them out here, too. I am going to try and get to them all.

And most of all, thanks to Linda for hosting this incredible event.

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

ORC 5b: Lesson Learned

I had really thought this time would be different.

Because we started a couple of weeks ahead of the "official" start of the ORC, I thought that the powder room project would be done by now. The last thing I expected is to be scrambling to finish on time.

The day ORC 5: What, Already? was posted, I jumped into my car after work and drove quickly to my Mom's. We ran to a moulding store to see if they had anything to top our tile. It was fifteen minutes before close, though, so we didn't exactly have time to browse. We left empty handed.

In a frantic effort to keep things moving along, I decided to start painting the upper wall.

I didn't stop to check the condition of the walls. In a couple of spots, I thought, hmm, I should sand this down. But I didn't stop to sand. I just kept going. I was using Marquee, a paint which promises one coat coverage, so I knew that when I was done, I would be done.

I wanted to be done.

So I kept going...and ran out of paint at about 9:20pm. I decided I would buy another can in the morning and finish up then.

The next day, I walked into the bathroom with my fresh can already open and ready to pour,

--and died.

The walls were awful. Horrible. The paint had flashed all over our patches--and there were patches everywhere. The little dribs and drabs I hadn't bothered to sand were glinting. Mocking me.

I have never had a project with so many setbacks. Not even the dressing room was this bad. It's a small project, really. Install tile, a window treatment, and paint. Put up a few pictures, a towel bar, mirror, and a light fixture. How can that possibly take eight weeks?

I had thought the project well in hand when I decided to make this an ORC project. I'd just blog what we did as we went along. But, I lost a week because of work, and then the drywall repair took a while and then the cutting of the trim and baseboards turned out to be horribly complicated and the fetching of the artwork cost us a day (which was a total of 25% of our available working time that week) and so on and so on.

And then, I took a short cut which cost us even more time.

I took another run to home depot and bought the proper grit of sandpaper to sand down our patches. I repatched in some places. And then we primed, as we should have done all along.

I am not sure I will ever do an ORC again. The deadline takes what is normally a fun and exciting thing to do and turns it into a gruelling, and exhausting chore. There are upsides, too, though, so we'll see.

But no more shortcuts.

Lesson learned.

ORC 1: Going Insane Again
ORC 2: Hall of Mirrors 
ORC 3: Seven Steps to Stress
ORC 4: The Roller Coaster

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

ORC* 5: What? Already?

I may be babbling.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I am.

No wait, that water all over me is from using the tile saw. I said to Mom, "I'm pretty sure professionals don't get soaked."

Sorry, should have got  pic. Here's one of my tile all laid out in the hallway, instead.

But whatever. It was Wednesday. It was hot. It was OK until it got dark and the wind picked up--but even then I really didn't care. The wet saw and I were buddies. I was shaving the tile. It was good.

Except the white I chose--and took two days to paint--is the wrong white. At least my gut says it is.

To be fair, we also re-trimmed out the window in those two days.

We put in a piece of wood. Then we took it out,. Then we put it back in again. This is how we renovate.

But, ugh. I did not expect to take two of my three available days to work over at my Mom's this week to paint half the wall. (And the two doors, both sides, and trim. But still.)

So, may repaint. May change the lightbulb and that just might be OK. We will see.

Light fixture in the proper finish arrived. Yay. Much more yellow than I expected. Boo. Forgot to get a pic, though.

Our fabric has been here for weeks. Finally looked it today. Not enough for drapes. I cannot believe it. I just can't. We will have to do a roman shade instead. Outside mount. Never done that before--but I have made a roman shade and those babies take time. And attention to detail.


But you know what?

It's all good.

An entire city to the north of us was evacuated Tuesday because of wildfires. Seventy thousand people got in their cars and headed....somewhere else.

All I'm doing is decorating a powder room. Not threatened by wildfire.

It's more than good. It's freaking fantastic.

Please check out the main contenders and their progress here.

And check out my fellow cohorts and our progress here.

Will we be ready for the Big Reveal next week?
Honestly, I've no idea.

What we need to do (I have four days available.):

  • (eta) Grout! I forgot to mention I need to grout! (Yes, I am that tired.)
  • (eta) Trim. OMG. The trim we bought for the top of the tile is just not going to work. I don't know what we were thinking. Probably nothing. I do remember Mom wasn't feeling well that day.
  • Paint upper wall and ceiling
  • Paint mirror? and put up.
  • Paint towel rack? and put up.
  • Install ceiling fan
  • Spray paint ceiling fan cover
  • Install light fixture
  • Hang art (Paint frames?)
  • Sew window treatment and install.
  • Are weputting up the glass shelf?
  • Photograph

eta (again) Links to previous weeks:

ORC 1: Going Insane Again
ORC 2: Hall of Mirrors 
ORC 3: Seven Steps to Stress
ORC 4: The Roller Coaster

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

ORC* 4: The Roller Coaster

It's so hard to believe that yet another week has passed.

ORC 1: Going Insane Again
ORC 2: Hall of Mirrors 
ORC 3: Seven Steps to Stress

*I am doing an on-line challenge to transform my Mother's powder room from meh to totally glam in just five weeks. There are a lot of us this year--about 250!. We all link up on Thursdays to share our progress, here. On Wednesday, Linda, at Calling It Home, the creator of the challenge hosts her own hand picked designers and decorators as they report on their progress. I love reading all about their adventures.

 I was able to spend three days at my Mom's this week. I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped--but that's the nature of the Challenge. It's quite the roller coaster of accomplishments and setbacks.

I returned the light fixture to Lowe's...

It was the wrong finish

They shipped the replacement Wednesday....

Our art from Minted arrived!

Mom had to go to customs at the airport to pick it up...
and then out to the FedEx office there, too.
(That ate up most of one of our three days.)

All the trim for the lower half of the room is cut...
and installed....
even the tricksy bits.....

But we still need a piece of moulding to trim out the window properly....

We removed the bookcase that was hiding behind this door....

The top part is missing the back. I had planned to fix that.

and we lost a fair bit of storage...

but we gained so much room! and light! and air!

I started painting....

but I absolutely could not finish....

Any advice on what we can do about that nasty black pipe? The sink cannot be moved.


So much work to do....
So little time.....

But I am optimistic we can make deadline.
(and maybe delusional.....)

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Make Room Challenge 3: Tackling the Paper Tiger.

In Week Three of the Make Room Challenge, Melissa Micheal's of the Inspired Room, challenged us to deal with our paper in the way she does in her latest book, Make Room . (affiliate link.)

I am late with this challenge because paper.

I hate paper. There is so much of it--and so very little we actually need--but my my husband will ask me for that one piece at any random moment and you'd think it's grounds for divorce if I can't produce it in three seconds or less.

So. No pressure.

Let's see what Melissa says we should do:

Make Room Challenge – Week 3 – Clutter and Entry. Make Room for Arrivals and Departures.

The arrival and departure areas of our home tend to collect quite a bit of clutter and often end up in disarray. We bring in a lot of papers, coats, schoolbags, purses, briefcases, sports equipment, homework, party invitations, and bills, and we track in mud and grime from outside. How do those clutter spots make you feel when they are out of control? This week, we’ll be setting up a sorting station so we can avoid paper pileups near the front door.

 This is my front door.

yep. That's my gorgeous dark blue painted ceiling. I need to give you a better look at that!

I cannot stand it when it is out of control. I cringe when people come up the sidewalk. If my husband is home, I sneak off to the back of the house and let him answer the door. Paper only piles up if someone else empties the mailbox. They put it on the blue shelf instead of sorting it...but that's all right. Me, I do not grab the mail when I come in the door. I leave it where it is until I am ready to deal with it. Then, I take it immediately into the dining room and open it.

3 Steps to Setting Up a Paper-Sorting Station

1. Find a spot near your entry or office area where you’ll take all incoming mail. Put a shredder and recycling bin near this station so you’ll be able to immediately deal with papers you don’t want. 

So, no shredder: but I reserve this garbage can strictly for paper. If I have food garbage or any other kind, I take it to the kitchen.

also known as the circular file.

After I've tossed the junk, the mail goes here:

If I got a bigger box, there'd just be that much more to sort.

as does every single other piece of paper in the house. It is my collection station and it is overflowing. But I know where everything is!

2. Plan to sort, shred, or recycle all the envelopes, newspapers, and junk mail, and put your bills in your previously designated spot every time you bring the mail in the house. Everything that is not a bill but has a due date or an upcoming deadline can go on a bulletin board with a clip or pin.

So, there are two kinds of paper--well, four, but first two. The first two broad categories of paper are 1) Action and 2) Reference.

Action breaks down into two more: a) those with a deadline and 2) those without. That's what Melissa is referencing above. Bills are just action papers with deadlines. So are dental hygiene appointments and a notice to order my son's graduation photos.

Reference is divided by time, too: a) near and b) far. In fact, according to Simplify 101 (not an affiliate link though it totally should be, I love them so much) reference (far) is actually called archival paper. And that needs to be waded through periodically and dealt with, too.

Here's the paper from that box divided like so:

Examples of a few things in the piles:

Action, deadline: auto club membership renewal, census notice, House lottery tickets. (I want to go see the houses, not buy a ticket.)

Action, no deadline: credit card agreement changes (I need to read it), a receipt for physiotherapy (needs to be submitted to insurance for reembursement.)

Reference, "near": recipes, (need to be put away), husband's vacation schedule, new prescription reembursement program. Most of my reference papers go into these binders on the expedit.

Reference, "far": bills paid, investment statement, photos. (Most of these are filed away in the basement. Not the most convenient place, but it is where there is space.)

Most of our reference paper goes into one of these binders. I'll explain how I handle all our paper in a future post.

3. If a paper is important and you’ll need to access it later, file it in a designated file box or drawer. Give each housemate an inbox if they will receive mail or have papers that enter the house.

Each of us has a personal inbox, right here. See those file folders. Yep. There. That.

It's been helpful for my husband to have a designated spot for all his paperwork while he's been sick. But honestly? The kids never check theirs. But I keep it so I have a place to put their stuff.

I put up this magnetic dry erase board last fall. I hope it is as close to a bulletin board as we ever get. I hate how messy they get--and things get lost on them, too.

Get Organized Tip: If your child comes home with special papers you want to keep, get a clear box with a lid or a personal file box with folders to store the current year report cards, favorite assignments, art, and other significant papers.

It is a good idea.

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