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Thursday, September 24, 2015

House Updates, Round....Who Knows Anymore

The sitting room even MORE done than last time I said it was done! REJOICE! 

I'll give you a glimpse of the before and after before making you delve into my totally succinct post with absolutely no superfluous words or pictures. HA. Right. 

HOLY SHIT, RIGHT?????? I live here and I'm having a hard time believing it. 

Anyway, back to the beginning. 

So after we were done painting, I swept the room and realized that I got paint all. over. the. fcking. floor. UGH. USE A DROPCLOTH, LARA. It was a deliberate choice not to use a dropcloth because I was thinking that we'd be replacing these floors soon, but since we ended up not selling our house (we're renting it out) we didn't have the large chunk of change to invest in this house, so we'll probably be living with these floors (and the two hundred other types of flooring in the house) for a while.  LESSON: USE A DROPCLOTH ALWAYS.

The result of my BAD LIFE CHOICES

So I spent a day using Goof Off* and a scraper to try to get all the primer, paint, and caulk off. The paint came off pretty easily, but the primer was another story. I was on my hands and knees scrubbing and spraying and scraping for hours. Ooooof. Not fun. My back did not like me after that night. 

*If you are painting, do yourself a favor and get this spray. It makes getting those marks off SO much easier! Recommended by St. Danny and enthusiastically endorsed by me!

No pictures of this OH-SO-INTERESTING process, but after that, I worked on putting the shelves back in, which involved lots of math and measuring and re-checking measurements and cursing builders who can't make even or level built-in shelving units. Although each side actually should have five shelves, when I started working out the distances and the spacing, I realized I only wanted to use four, which would allow for each section to hold larger frames - if I was using five shelves, I would have only been able to fit 5x7s or smaller. 

(NOTE: all of these pictures show a broken drawer handle. I lost the screw for that drawer so I need to go pick another one up. Someday. When I'm both at the store AND I remember. The struggle is real, ya'll.)

I collected all the frames in the house, laid them out on the floor, and picked a variety of sizes in a variety of finishes to fill the shelves. I tried to keep it somewhat cohesive, while still being eclectic and fun. I don't know - in my mind that keeps it from looking too formal while not being jarring. Question mark? I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING, OKAY? But, like...if I used a silver frame, I made sure to have at least one other silver frame in the collection as well. Is this a design rule? I don't know. But I think it worked? 

Choosing the pictures was the HARDEST part. I could have filled 20 more shelves, easily. I love my family or something, I guess. I think my kids are cute, I guess. I sorted through hundreds that I had lying around (waiting to be put in an album...ho hum) and printed off a few more to add to the pile (I'm not the only one who is woefully behind in printing, right?) and then just tried to match my favorite pictures to frames. I let Carys pick out a couple of her favorites and Emmeline...well, Emmeline liked to pick up piles of pictures and throw them all over the room. So she wasn't quite as much help. But she did uncover a couple that I used with her method, so....thanks! I guess! I also included a couple of small prints that were all in the same little scrapbook paper set that the hipster in me couldn't resist.  #lifeisbeautiful #arrows #embarkonadventure #celebratetoday #somuchhipster

I tried really hard to get an equal number of pics of both Carys and Emmeline, but Carys has been around for 2.5 more years than Em has, so while it's close...it's not exact. I'm sorry, Emmeline. Thus is the life of the little sister.

As a reminder, here's the before (like WAY before...before we moved in) -

And here it is now.....

I almost can't believe it's the same room, and I look at it daily. And that transformation was with just. paint. Well, just paint and a couple of billion man hours, but still. PAINT. MIND BLOWN.

That middle section is acting as a placeholder for a couple of decor pieces and those are not final (in fact, I've already removed the tall topiaries - if you scroll up to the very top before/after pic you can see it as it looks right this second, complete with some fall decor I threw up). Those will be replaced with a giant painting. I'm picking up a 35x60 canvas from Craigslist later this week (the exact perfect size!!!! for $35!!!), which I'm going to repaint in a way that pretty much just rips off the inspiration picture from this post. Well, rips it off as well as my meager talent will allow.

This window wall is DYING for curtains. Unfortunately, we'll have to make them or custom order them. None of my old reliable home decor stores (um, Target, basically) had curtains that were long enough to cover these windows, nor did they have rods long enough to span the width of the windows. To do it the way I think I want, I need 144" long curtains and a 136" long curtain rod.  I debated where I wanted to hang the rods - I've seen these types of windows with the rods running just under the half-circle window and with them running across the top of the half circle, and I think I've decided I want them at the top of the half-circle.  I just don't want to cut the wall height visually by hanging curtains 1/3 of the way down it.

Like this only like 1/10th this grand:

Perfect I was just looking for drapery inspiration for my four huge windows in the family room. Similar color scheme including floors.:

So picture curtains here. I'm thinking just simple cream or white, maybe with the ends dipped in gold or some other fun color.  And maybe some white or bamboo roman blinds? 

The other side of the room literally just has a tree. That needs to be repotted pretty desperately. The tree will probably stay there, because it's too tall for any other room in the house. The blue towel, however, will be replaced with a nice drip tray. Maybe even one on wheels? #BIGDREAMSYALL

Soooo let's just go back to the pretty side....

We also need to figure out the lighting situation in there. As you can see below, right now there are only lights within the built-ins, so it gets really dark once the sun has gone down. We're going to need some lamps, which frankly I'm not looking forward to. I don't know anything about lamps. Where to put them, what kind to choose, ANYTHING. I like my built-in lighting.  

I scoped out some chairs at a place called At Home and found some contenders. At only around $200 a pop, I'm sure they're not lifetime investment chairs that I'll be passing onto my grandkids, but they were comfortable enough and at that price I wouldn't be devastated if when they are ruined by tiny humans.

What do you think? Any grab your eye as the perfect fit?

In other news, we also painted the brass fireplace surround black. This is a project that I've wanted to do since we moved in but on a whim I finally ordered the paint and then one morning when Em was napping I decided to just go for it. I started by cleaning the brass well and then roughing it up with a light sanding, per the instructions on the spray paint.

Here's the before - it actually doesn't look bad in this picture, but in real life and up close, the brass was really tarnished and full of spots/rust and in bad shape. 

I taped off everything (hint: a plastic drop cloth instead of a dozen garbage bags would make your life ONE MILLION times easier and also expedite the taping-off process by a factor of about a thousand) and stuck a cut-to-fit piece of cardboard INSIDE the fireplace, behind the doors, so I could get the inner brass pieces but not any of the actual fireplace interior. I had no idea what the overspray would be like - would it reach the built-ins on the side? Would I be fine? I got sick of taping so I just went for it and figured I could stop quickly if needed and add more plastic and dropcloths. Well, I was mostly okay. The overspray didn't reach the cabinets, but it did get on the floor, so I stopped to grab another dropcloth and covered the floor entirely. Luckily, the spray wiped off the floor easily (I'll begrudgingly give tile that benefit).

This spray was different than other spray paint I've used in that the second coat had to be done either within the hour, or after 48 hours. Assuming I read it right, anyway. Since I didn't want to live with garbage bags on my walls for two days, I did the second coat within the hour. I gave it about 45 minutes to dry, then sprayed again. It took pretty much the entire can of spray paint to do this small job, but I always apply spraypaint liberally. I know you're supposed to do lots of light layers, but I'm too impatient for that.

As you can see above, I used Rustoleum High-Heat Ultra. We haven't lit the fireplace yet, so I don't know how it will hold up then, but so far it's been good....except if you slam the doors open wide and allow them to hit the VERY sharp brick corners of the fireplace. Then it scratches. I realized that the brass was scratched in that place, too, so not just a problem with the paint. I don't know if there's a solution for that, but...we'll just open the doors carefully, I guess.

 I don't LOVE how that area is now a gaping black hole, though. I might have to see if I can replace the handles on the doors to bring some interest back into that area? Or maybe put some white candles inside it to brighten it up? But on the plus side, I think that takes care of all the brass in the main floor??? RIP brass.

Now please let me RIP the tile floors in the family room. SOON.


  1. What the what?! GORGEOUS! Amazing transformation - that blue (I'm calling it blue, I know it is mercurial) in all three spots worked out great. Nice change on that fireplace, too!

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