Reader Vote: What looks best?

When this little blog started there was a corner of my living room that I am ashamed to say it looked this:

Now I am pleased to say it looks like this:

It’s not fabulous (yet!), but this little corner has definitely (finally!) graduated out of eyesore category. We’ve painted and paired down and cleaned up. We’ve also pulled some furniture switcheroos  (That dresser lived in our bedroom until last Saturday.)  It’s time to add a little pizzazz!. A little art to fill the space above the electronics. Nothing too flashy, after all, it can’t compete with the TV  or the new gallery on the staircase (will be posting about that soon!)

Another current. Full frontal this time.

Now here’s where I need your help. I’ve scoured the web for inspiration. And I’ve got a bunch of ideas. Problem is, I’m having trouble picking a direction. I played around in Photoshop to see what looks best. (Please excuse my mediocre Photoshop skills.) What do you think?

Option 1: Graphic Art

I love the idea of a pretty little message to remind me of the little things that are really important. This one comes from http://www.behance.net/gallery/MACHEETE-Posters/4664583

Option 2: Abstract Art

I’m not sure, but I think the abstract art might be my favorite. A pop of color. This brilliant piece was found at http://zacharybrown.wordpress.com/category/abstract-paintings/18-x-24/#

Option 3: Wood Poster

I like this option because of the amazing texture combined with the personalized silhouettes. This idea comes from http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2012/03/pallet-art-silhouette.html, along with a tutorial!

So, tell me, which one, if any, makes your spine tingle?

Option 1: Graphic Art.

Option 2: Abstract Art

Option 3: Wood Poster

Feel free to offer any other suggestions too! And thanks for your help! I can’t wait to see the results!

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Huzzah!! I Built A Giant Purple Ottoman

I have been working on this project for ages(, I began my Ottoman scheming way back in January!)  I’ve sat down to write about it about a billion times, but either out of eagerness or frustration… the posts never got written. But now, finally, I’m relieved to say, it’s done! And I am so beyond happy to share it!

You may remember from this post that I was looking for a way to hide better way to store our DVD’s and electronic accessories. This mess was just not working for me.

The ottoman seemed to be the best solution. It would store the clutter and, bonus, act as a much needed coffee table. But the ottoman couldn’t be just any ottoman, it had to be large enough to balance out our enormous couch and be durable enough to stand up to two dogs and a toddler. And be pretty.That seriously limited the options. Bring in the family-of-three-living-on-a-grad-student’s-salary budget factor and the options were virtually eliminated. Just as I was going back to square one, I stumbled across the old old bones of a kitchen cabinet (,we pulled it down when we first moved in,) collecting dust in the corner of the garage. I pulled it into the living room and.. perfection! It was like it was meant to be.

When Devin got home I proposed my plan to him. He told me that I needed to get my head checked. But, like a good husband, he pulled his tools  dutifully got to work when the weekend came. Eventually, it came transformed into this:

(I think the dog preferred it at this stage.)

Complete with wheels, two of which have locking mechanisms.

Then came a layer of half inch foam and two layers of half inch batting. This baby is plush! Then the fabric. For the top, I used three inch foam and two layer of half inch batting. This was my first upholstering project. It was daunting. I think I used over (no joke) 3,000 staples. I kind of wish I’d started with something more practical, like the seat of a chair. But that’s not my style. Go big or go home, right? It took a little while, but (after the first 1000 staples) I got the hang of it.

If you are looking into building your own ottoman, here’s a few links I found very helpful:

http://lessthanperfectlifeofbliss.blogspot.com/2011/10/diamond-tufted-ottoman-whew.html

http://www.soulstyle.ca/word/ladders-ottomans-oh-my

http://www.cheeseisgoodfood.com/2009/04/diy-ottoman.html

I also watched a ton of Youtube videos.

The top didn’t go as planned. I had my heart set on diamond tufting. It was too much for a novice like me. I think the problem started when the three inch foam didn’t properly adhere to the plywood (I used spray adhesive.) It made it impossible to properly measure and align things. Then I got frustrated. It only went downhill from there. Objects were thrown. There may or may not have been some shouting. By the time I gave up, the foam was pock marked with holes. It looked pretty hopeless. I should have taken a picture for you, but I was just too mad.

I thought about going out and buying a fresh piece of foam… but those things are expensive. Even with a coupon, the first one cost 40 big ones. At this point I wasn’t sure my dream ottoman would come to fruition, and I wasn’t will to invest any more in the project. So here’s my dirty little secret: I used the holey foam. And with two layers of batting and a layer of tightly pulled fabric, my secret is safe. The whole top feels perfectly even. No indication of my failure.

While we are on the subject of trials and tribulations…. It’s not over yet. Our first hinge attempt = total failure. I picked up a cheap piano hinge from Lowes. We spent two hours one Sunday night attaching it. When we stood back and surveyed our work, it was obvious that the top wasn’t completely square to the bottom. Devin suggest that we apply a little pressure and bend the metal (it was just a smidge!) I’m sure you can see were this is going. A little “pressure” bent the hinged and pulled the screws out from the ottoman top. So learn from our mistakes, (as obvious as they seems now,) and make sure your hinge is sturdy and your screws are long enough. Otherwise bad words get said and more objects get thrown.

But enough of the negative. Let’s look at some pretty ‘after’ pictures.

A close up of the ‘folding and tucking’

And with a little foot action:

The Munchkin loves her some giant purple ottoman too!

I don’t think I ever told you how actually big it is….somewhere around 38″x50″. Monstrous. Baby girl likes to spread out take naps on it. (By ‘naps’, I mean pretend naps… If only it were that easy…)

So that’s our Ottoman building adventure.

Truth be told… It’s not truly finished yet. The inside still needs some polishing. But, in the meantime, I am so excited to put down the staple gun and put my feet up. And I can’t wait to put those DVD’s inside. It’s going to be amazing.

So what about you? Have you tried any crazy DIY’s lately? Anyone else ever experience upholstering obstacles? Or used a crazy number of staples? Any one else having trouble finishing projects in a decent length of time?

Mirror, Mirror

Another living room project to check off the list! I’m on fire this week!

I bought this mirror a couple years ago from Pier 1.

I have always liked it… but not really that much. It just never really jibbed with what I was trying to accomplish in the living room. When I decided give the living room a serious makeover (read more about that here), that mirror was one of the first things that I knew needed to change. I didn’t want to trash it- there’s nothing wrong with it, and I paid a pretty penny for it (well, a pretty penny in my world, a world where large accessories are not normally purchased, but made.) So I decided to paint it.

I’ve been working on it for months, just a half hour here and there, whenever a surge of focus and energy coincided with a sleeping toddler.

And drum roll please!

I am really pleased with it. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I felt that before it just took itself to seriously and now it has that playful to match the rest of the room.

You can see I wasn’t real precise about staying in the “lines”. Believe or not that was intentional. The imperfections adds the whimsical quality. I think my favorite part is the yellow- it really pops! Although the blue holds it’s own too!

I opted not to paint the red on the bottom. I may one day, but for now it works, keeps the frame grounded. I already had the black and grey,  but I picked up the blue and yellow up at Hobby Lobby. They were on sale for 2 dollars each. That’s right, this makeover cost my 4 dollars plus tax…. that’s right in my budget!

Doesn’t it look good with my freshly painted walls? Oh, I love easy improvements!

Before & Progress: The Living Room

It’s been quiet round here, atleast at the Schmitt House Blog. At the actual Schmitt house- it’s been anything but. Perhaps you remember my longwinded, gripe-filled post about my living room a few weeks back? Well, no more griping, it is official- I have completed the first few steps towards making my living room fabulous!

I am so excited about how it is coming together already! And this is just the beginning!

Before I reveal all, let’s back track… Here’s a few before photos:

Kind of makes you want to pull your hair out, right?

And now, the very same room after a couple coats of paint!

Don’t mind the dust on the mantle- I was a bit over eager to document the loveliness that is my living room, I promise it has been since cleaned up. And ignore the toys all over the floor, just keeping it real. If it’s between 8 in the morning and 8 in the evening, there’s no getting away from them. But other than those little details… isn’t it just a marvelous change? Come on say it.. Oh la la! The color we went with is Sherwin Williams 7534 Outerbanks. I love it, It just infuses light and warmth into the room.

Here’s another view:

We also got new curtains. That was a big decision. That bag in the foreground- it’s filled the three sets of curtains that didn’t make the cut. As for the keepers, I have had my eye on similar curtains from World Market for a while, but at 25 dollars a pop, I was waiting on a super good sale. Instead, I scored these sparkly gems at TJ Maxx for $25 for the pair. At the store, I thought they might be too bright, but no, they are just right. It’s not over though,  I might add some white sheers… What do you think?

One more angle:

(Please excuse the exposed bulbs on the fan. Another project to put on the list.)The red wall is gone. I kind of thought I would miss it, I fought so hard for it, and defended it for so long, but I have to admit (grudgingly), everyone was right. It was too dark. Although I remain fond of the memory, this is so much better. When you open the door and walk into the house, this new color quietly beckons you in, tells you to take off your shoes and gives you a hug. The blood red wall just kind of said “BAM! I’m here!”

There must be a dozen things I still need to do, the biggest of them being to paint all the trim and moldings, the smallest being to put up art. One wall hasn’t even been painted yet. But It’s an inspiring start. Devin, who could care less about anything decor-related(, unless it relates to where his electronics are stored,) actually told me that “he can see the room’s potential and is excited about it!”

What about you? Anyone painting? Redecorating? Anyone else tripping over Let’s Rock Elmo all day long?

Oh, Happy Room!

Ahhh… my living room… it drives me nuts. And now that I am staying home, I am in there constantly, looking at it constantly.(That was not bad grammar, it’s meant to emphasize, that I am in fact staring at the walls in this room constantly.) I know decor should not be one life’s greatest stresses, but it is.

Our living room is the first room you see when you walk in the house. I want the room to beckon you in, beg you to take off your coat and shoes and get cozy. I want the room to glow bright. Be charming, Ooze with happy sensations.Be eclectic in a put together sort of way.

But it currently doesn’t.

(Before I go any further, I want to warn you, I spend the next part of this post detailing what I don’t like about the room. After reading it, I believe It sounds a little like whining. Sorry. I know it could be worse, all the issues are issues born out of vanity. But truth be told, that’s part of what drives me crazy. A million little things that just take a little time and a bit of focus. And a little money, unfortunately.)

Currently, the walls are a grey that I am fairly sure that you would find in a prison cell. We have one bright red wall (which to be honest, I love, but my hubby doesn’t.) And here and there there are gouges. The paint is peeling  in two spots and there is chaos were the wall color ends and the trim color starts. Never knew I was OCD, but, at this point, I think I might kill for a clean line.

Currently we have a random assortment of furniture and decor. No, let me correct that… We have a couch, a couch that is so big that  no other furniture fits in the room, and, by decor, I mostly mean stacks of DVD’s and piles of toys.When we moved in, I started to decorate the room with all the colors of the rainbow. Over the years, that color palette got lost… and the room was filled with randomness.

But words don’t quite describe it.

Let me give you a tour.

The room was really hard to photograph and I see now that I missed a few spots. but you get the idea. I took these back in the beginning of November. That’s how long I’ve been pondering a solution to this mess.

Above is the front door. I love it, except it (and it’s frame) is desperately in need of a fresh paint job. The framed watercolors are from a trip to Italy while I was in college. They are ok, but as we’ve become a family, I’d rather replace them with something that is meaningful to all of us. The curtains are red.. the problem? The couch is red and the wall is red (I went through a red phase) There is insulation that expanded out of the window. The couch needs new cushions (the damask ones are so old that the pattern is fading. The British-esque ones were purchased because I love a good turquiose- red color combo, and it is so hard to find.I saw those pillows and though maybe the living room could be filled with red and turquoise Somehow I missed Big Ben… And I didn’t realize the small one says London until about two weeks ago.

Our accent wall. Problems:There’s a dartboard. Enough said. I painted those paintings years and I’d like to replaced them with something a little more…Modern… Abstract… Not sure what the right words to describe what I want. I am envisioning something Jackson Pollock-esque.

Not so bad so far, right? The other side is really where the chaos is begins.

What a mess. The DVD’s, the toys, The staircase. There used to be a more size appropriate (and colorful) painting at the foot of the stairs, but my hubby needed it to cover a blunder on another wall and replaced it with that. No, I never took that grey all the way up the wall.

The mantle in my opinion was the worst. But, hopefully will be easy so fix. I got the mirror when I was prego. I decided that since we were having kids, the place needs to look more ‘adult.’ For whatever reason, I translated adult into less bright colors and more wood tones. The whole thing makes no sense. I blame the hormones. The sticks in glass was an attempt at Halloween decor. I thought that if I spray painted them black and put them in a case they might look cool and spooky.After completing the left side, I wasn’t too sure, so I filled the right side with unpainted sticks to see how it looked. It looked like sticks in a vase. They stayed up there for months.  The rug was chosen because it was the brightest one I could find on the cheap. The rocking horse is a family heirloom on my husbands side.It looks cool neat, but I just don’t know what to do with it.

Final stop on this tour. Just another view. I think I have already covered most of what drives me crazy here.

End of the whining.

Also back in November, I put together this inspiration board for, well, inspiration and direction.

That’s right. Full circle. Back to bright colors. I just can’t keep away from them. They make me so happy!

I have a board on Pinterest exclusively dedicated to my soon-to-be-rainbow room. It’s filled with images like these:

Pinned ImageBright Rooms: Good Cheer

From: http://smallplacestyle.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-03-02T13%3A14%3A00-06%3A00&max-results=7http://www.designsponge.com/2011/05/make-it-yours-gemma-ahern.html#more-89132http://www.ivillage.com/40-bright-rooms/7-b-336494

The problem is we’ll be moving in a year or two, so that dark grey is out. I’ve been trying for months to find a grey that isn’t to bold that I could accept. I just couldn’t find the right one.

Then I saw this loft in Paris.

2

3From: http://art-decoration.dekio.fr/reportages/contemporain/Un-loft-moderne-confortable-et-colore

I pretty much fell head over heels in love. I am obsess with this apartment. Now, I obviously don’t live in an old factory that has amazing architectural features, high ceilings and natural light pouring into every room, but I can take this style and make it my own. I’m sure of it. I am so inspired! So excited!

Step 1. Find tan wall color. I was under the impression that the tan/ beige gravy train departed about ten years ago, but now I see it everywhere. It’s definitely ‘in’ again. (I don’t really care about trends…. but the sake of resale.)

I got the 4 samples above. The colors aren’t quite right in the photo. The two left colors are a little two orange, so I eliminated them. That leaves the two on the right. The upper center one in is Sherwin Williams 7532 Khaki Shade and the lower right is Sherwin Williams 7534 Outerbanks. If you happen to have a paint deck handy, let me know what you think. Khaki Shade is a little lighter, more neutral, which I like, but in some lights, it kind of looks like the color of skin, which creeps me out. I naturally gravitate towards bolder colors. Outer Banks is a little more robust, it’s presence is less suble. What so you think? I guess I really don’t have to decide until all the prep work is done (i.e. spackling and caulking, maybe even priming.

I am also contemplating painting the wall behind the TV a bright turquoise. I know, I keep mentioning resale, but what’s one little wall? It’s little more than six feet wide and would make me endlessly happy. But that’s another post for another time.

I am hoping a week… Maybe two weeks? And on to the fun stuff, I absolutely can’t wait to flick paint on to a giant piece of plywood!

Stay with me as this decorating journey unfolds!