Monday, September 15, 2014

Living room update & decorating for fall

Happy Monday! Is it starting to feel like fall where you are yet? It's been in the upper 90's here but that didn't stop me from breaking out my autumn decor and jumping on this bandwagon. I'm slowly coming to terms with letting go of summer.

Last week I finished giving our sideboard cabinet a makeover and posed the question on instagram... which knobs?

It elicited quite a polarizing response... a lot of strong feelings on both sides. But one person said I should keep looking, and in the back of my mind I knew that was right. I didn't love the choices they had at Lowe's, but I had no other options at that moment so I impulsively bought two pairs and decided I'd settle.

Well, I changed my mind, took them both back and ordered these instead:

I love the look of pendant pulls, and these were only $3.50 shipped! I'll probably spray paint them black. And that way I shouldn't have to cover the skeleton key.

So that is why there's no knobs right now...

As you can see I switched things up a bit. I took down the map print and pulled out a large mirror from storage.

I had the opportunity to visit Home Goods last week (drool) and grabbed this lovely fall wreath while I was there...

(I added the bow)
I also got to utilize my flea market scores from a couple weekends ago.

Like this awesome vintage scale.

And this cool rusted milk jug (which I filled with foliage from my dad's yard).

And the two rusty metal boxes on the left for $1 each, as well as the red and black plaid blanket for $2.

I bought the lanterns ages ago when we lived in Florida—they're filled with white pillar candles and mini pinecones.

The pumpkins I've also had for years (either Michael's or Hobby Lobby).

After setting all this up, I finally figured out what I want to do with the staircase wall to the left of it. I'm going to find (or make) a beat up piece of wood and add coat hooks, then probably relocate the jug to the right (or just leave it empty).

Mid way through the photo shoot, Susie wanted in on the action.

This is one of her hiding spots.

It was a rare cloudy day yesterday (I almost forgot what clouds look like) which made the mountains extra vibrant, so I had to look over and snap a photo...

We don't get too many leaves that change colors in the fall because of the mediterranean climate, but it's nice that our view is at least consistently green and full year round.

After sprucing up our sideboard for fall, I decided to tackle an easy project I'd been wanting to take care of...

This is the door to separate our lower level, and there was way too much white in this area.  It needed contrast.

I used the same paint color (Valspar's Dark Kettle Black) as our front door and bedroom door in an eggshell finish. One by one, every door in this house will be black.

Rather than tediously taping it off (which never works perfectly anyway) I used Katie's method of windex and a putty knife to scrape off the excess paint.

I had a nice short handled angled brush so I still tried my best to get a clean, smooth line so I didn't have to remove as much in the end, which definitely helped. The paint came off so effortlessly, it actually ended up being easier to just use my fingernail under a paper towel for the smoothest line. I also avoided scratching the glass that way.

Here's the new door:

Complete with a fall wreath I made a couple nights ago.

Oh yeah, I also had purchased a fancy glass knob but realized I need a retrofit kit to adapt it to the bore hole (why can't they make modern door handles with glass knobs that aren't $100? Argh) So, I ordered some backplates online and I'll replace the handle as soon as I get them. Stay tuned.

I love how it ties into the front door. Yay for contrast!

And now for the big exciting stuff... our ceiling is finished!!

Our handymen worked on it Friday and Saturday and it all came together perfectly.

My dad and I quickly assembled the beams Thursday (using the same method as the kitchen and our bedroom) and they were up in no time.

They also added quarter round trim, caulked and painted:

And they're just perfect.

Here's my view right now from my desk:

And from the back corner of the room, looking towards the kitchen...

And looking back towards the foyer:

And this is what you see when you walk in the front door:

They really draw your eyes up and anchor the room. I'm so happy/relieved this part is out of the way.

Now... completely unrelated but I just had to share a daily dose of cuteness for your Monday. This little 4-week old furball is in our guest room as I'm typing...

I don't know how I'm even at my computer right now instead of in there cuddling. Sadly, it's not my kitten—we're holding her for a friend who is moving today. But HOW CUTE is she?!

In less than 24 hours we leave for my favorite place in the country... Florida! I'm so excited to be reunited with my sister and friends for a week... and to remember what rain and non-freezing ocean water feel like... ahhh. Tiling on the fireplace won't start until we return on the 24th, so there won't be another post until that's done (in at least two weeks).

In the meantime, you can follow me on instagram to see what I'm up to and join in on the Florida fun. Have a wonderful last week of summer!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Living Room progress report

We've been busy bees in the last week! Let's talk about where we're at now... starting from where we left off last week:

Right after that post went up, so did our mantel...

Unfortunately, and I didn't realize this until it went up, but the wood isn't perfectly straight. It a little twisted which means one side isn't exactly level...

See how it angles upwards? It bums me out but unfortunately at this point there's nothing I can do—short of driving back to the lumber yard, attempting to find a perfectly straight chunk of wood (does that even exist?) spending another $70, refinishing it and pushing back our timeline. Not going to happen, so we'll embrace the imperfection by chalking it up to being more rustic. There ya go.

The TV will be sitting on this and we realized our tv base is wider than we thought, so we had to extend the mantel by adding a few inches to the back of it (which our handyman secured with huge lag bolts). This will all be hidden by the framing and stone.

Here's a shot from the bottom:

Still figuring out how I'm going to hide the side where the bare wood is... either wood putty to blend the two and stain or veneer.

After the mantel was in, the framing went up (using 2x4's):

Then Brad ran some cables to where the TV will be.

I asked him to give a writeup of what he did in case anyone is curious (I could never explain it):

1 – Power – We tapped out of the outlet next to the fireplace to get power up there so we ran ROMEX wire in the wall next to the fireplace.
2 – Network Cables – We ran two Cat6 network cables. One cable will extend the HDMI video signal from the AV Receiver in the network and audio closet to the TV over the fireplace. The second cable is just a standby
or data cable. It can be used for anything data related, internet, network, etc to any device next to the TV, or a smart TV in the future that needs internet. They are each 75ft long.
3 – RG6 Coax – For future use, in case someone wants to put a cable box physically at the TV, they can connect this outside the house to the cable splitter.
4 – Possibly might run Component RGB cables, if I have an issue with Video delay caused by the extender box.

Extending video from the closet – What we’re doing is splitting the output of the AV Receiver to the fireplace, and to the outside deck. To do this we’re using the Monoprice HDMI Splitter/Extender. This duplicates
the HDMI output of the AV Receiver and sends it to both places using CAT6 Network cable. HDMI Video will not run over about 50 feet without issues. The audio is straight out of the AV receiver in the closet to the 5.1 audio system
in the living room. 

Clear as mud? Great, lol. Moving along...

For our ceiling, I found a painter at the last minute and explained to him our situation with the pine knots bleeding through despite using shellac based primer. He decided to use something called PVA Primer which is used to seal porous surfaces (drywall) and apparently contains a plastic-like quality that should block the tannin from bleeding through.

Oh yeah, I noticed as they were prepping the area for paint that some of the knots had already started to bleed through! After less than a week! Thanks a lot, Zinsser customer service... let's be clear: regular water based primers do not work on knots!

The painters sprayed a couple coats of the PVA primer followed by two coats of paint (Kelly Moore's Swiss Coffee in a low sheen)...

Don't forget, the beams will hide the ceiling seams.

The ceiling looks great but I'm still not convinced about the knot bleed through. We'll find out soon enough, I guess.

After the paint was dry, Brad got up into the attic and finished wiring the lights and speakers.

It sounds so good in there! Now we can have music playing in every room. Fun stuff.

And the lights....

Seriously, you have no idea how much of a difference these make until you install recessed lighting in a room that had no overhead light sources before. It's like a completely different space... we can actually use it at night now.

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of design. Don't neglect it!

We have six on the ceiling and three along the soffit. They're warm LED bulbs on a dimmer so we can change the mood with one touch of a button.

Here they are on the lowest setting. Kinda hard to tell from the photos but we love being able to control the mood.

While all of this was going on, I was giving our sideboard a little makeover...

I know not everyone agrees with me on this, but I've lived with it for a while now and it just wasn't working out. Something about the glass bothered me and I just don't like lacquered furniture. It also wasn't some expensive rare piece in perfect condition so it's not like I am modifying anything super valuable. 

Why keep something around if you don't love it, right? No harm in switching things up to suit my needs.

I started by removing the glass which was held in by thin pieces of wood... super easy to remove:

Here's what we were working with after removing the shelf:

It was brought outside for sanding. I used 80 grit paper (on my mouse—best sander ever):

The sanded areas look lighter because of the dust but it's darker once you wipe it down. I spent a few days on this... sanding is a lot of work! Especially when there's a lot of little details.

I didn't know exactly how I wanted to finish it, but it started looking a lot like my au naturale dresser I recently made over in our master bedroom...

And I loved the way that turned out, so I decided to do the same for this one. That means no poly, no wax, just wipe it down and it's good to go. 

I may very well change my mind in the future and add a coat of wax to it if I feel it needs it, but I'm digging the raw wood look.

These inspiration photos for the doors pretty much sealed the deal on chicken wire:



Don't you just love these? I have no chicken wire in my house and it's about time. Luckily, my dad had a roll leftover from his coop and gave it to me...

I didn't have any specially designated wire clippers, so I used workman's pliers and soldiered through it:

It's not the most fun material to work with.

Once my pieces were cut, I did my best to straighten them out. This wire has a mind of it's own and I haven't quite figured out how to make it perfectly flat, but it's not easy to pull it straight against your frame when you're securing it, so you want it to be as flat as possible before installing. This was my best attempt:

Starting at the top, I used my hand stapler to secure them in place, working my way around the perimeter.

Many times the staples didn't secure completely against the wire so I had to hammer them down. Soon after, I had this:

I like how subtle it is. It's not in your face chicken wire.

Repeat on the other side, and this sideboard is (almost) done!

One of the knobs was missing when I bought is so I still need to find replacements. It's times like these when I miss living near a Hobby Lobby.

I was going to fill it back up and shoot it all finished and styled, but then I started to pull out my fall decorations and decided to rearrange everything, so that's worthy of it's own post. I should have a post ready Monday. I promise, it looks a lot more exciting now than it does empty!

Thanks for stopping by... enjoy your weekend and feel free to follow along on instagram for what I'm up to in the meantime ;)