Monday, January 31, 2011

Wait & See

Hum...liking the look after applying a bit of furniture wax!

Walking away, waiting to see how it dries...but you can hardly go wrong on a table that is meant to look like its had a long life already.

Now I'm off to pick up a few supplies for a new DIY tutorial...more on that later this week.

Happy Monday!

Tackling The Legs! Done...

In Friday's post I showed how quickly the table top had gotten sanded, as well as the solution for how to finish the table...thanks to your comments in an earlier post.{Furniture wax!}

Before I could get to applying the wax however, the table legs and leaf needed to be sanded as well. To make sure the leaf was sanded down in a similar way to the rest of the table top, I extended the table and placed it in where it would go if feeding a crowd of 30. Seriously, have you ever seen such a big table? Even extended it fits comfortably into the space. Now to just find a dozen chairs...

Before sanding: the legs are green, really!

Then it was on to the legs. I knew from testing an area that the legs were going to prove to be a little more difficult to sand than the rest of the table: by hand rather than with a sander. I had asked my Dad in a phone call if he would want to come out and catch up while we sanded, and I really did hear silence on the other end of the phone. So that was that and I didn't bring it up again. Then he read Friday's post (in which I mention his silence to my question)...ha! He promptly called to say he'd be out on Sunday to help sand. (I guess he hadn't heard me ask on the phone?)

After sanding, green 99% gone and nearly ready to wax.

Can you tell much of a difference? Probably not. And it doesn't surprise me, the green simply does not show up in the photos. I have taken well over a hundred photos trying to capture the green tint that drove me to sand the table in the first place. No luck. Oh well, it is all turning out just fine...loving both the color and the smoother finish.

Hopefully I'll find a bit of time today to clean the table of all its dust and apply some wax...

In the meantime, here are the two winners of the Lisa Leonard Designs Giveaway, each receiving a $50 gift certificate to Lisa's shop!

The first is LindsB of Everything LEB, who wrote:

LindsB said...
So so sweet! I think if my name was picked I'd have to get either the basic ID tag bracelet with my upcoming wedding date or one of the necklaces with tiny charms on it, one with my initial, one with my fiances, and one with the wedding date :)

(I was excited to see her win, how perfect with her wedding coming up! And make sure to check out her blog if you haven't already done so.)

And the second is C. M. Turner, who wrote:

C. M. Turner said...
I would LOVE the "You Are Loved" necklace for my daughter. =)

(I would probably select this as well!)

Enjoy your jewelry, and a big thanks to Lisa for hosting this giveaway here on my blog! Janell

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Would You, Could You? Boldly Upholstered Furniture

In my first Ideabook written for Houzz in 2011 I covered several trends I would like to see more of in the upcoming year, including bolder fabric choices for upholstered furniture. Yes, selecting a neutral fabric makes a lot of sense for many reasons, but come on...can we have some fun? (At least on a piece or two!)

ikat chair

Would you make such a choice?

Before you say no, visit Houzz to read this week's Ideabook featuring more examples of furniture covered in a wide range of fabrics. The collection includes bright solids and prints, as well as two more subdued options, all bringing great style to a room in a way few other decisions can.

Enjoy your Saturday...are you working on any projects or just taking time to relax?

image from Houzz

Friday, January 28, 2011

Anthropologie Ikat Mini Bowls Winner!

Thanks to each and every one of you who have subscribed to House of Fifty! I've been blown away by the number of subscriptions coming in!

And I'm happy to announce the winner of the set of Anthropologie Ikat Mini Bowls is...

Sally Baker!

Congratulations! Please send an email with your mailing address and these fabulous bowls will be sent right off to you! I know you will enjoy them.

Also, another great giveaway is still in progress: two $50 gift certificates to Lisa Leonard Designs, just in time for Valentine's Day. To enter visit this post and leave a comment mentioning which piece you would select if you won. The giveaway ends Sunday night at midnight, PST.

And what is going on tomorrow? I have another fun Ideabook at Houzz, and I'll be curious to hear your opinion on this week's topic!

Have a great weekend! Janell

Table Progress Happiness!

Blogging is amazing, you put something out there and you just know opinions and ideas are about to come your way. When I posted about my dining table arriving "dressed" in a moss colored finish, the solution to a problem was provided through your comments!

{Finally, a photo taken during sanding that ALMOST shows the green tone of the finish!}

Soon after the table arrived my Dad was at the house and we nimbly sanded a bit of the finish off, selecting a safe little spot on the apron of the table leaf. The wood looked great immediately, with the green disappearing and in its place a tone revealed that I had thought I was getting in the first place. Okay, so I am going to sand it all down. Then what? The character of the table nearly requires it have a natural worn finish, stain and polyurethane would most likely ruin the authentic character of the reclaimed wood. But how do I protect the wood from spills?

Well, I knew an answer would come, at least I had discovered the color was fixable!

Then after posting about the situation several of you suggested a furniture wax used by furniture makers called Briwax. After doing a bit of research I realized I (well, you...) had found my answer.

So next I got to work and sanded the entire table top. Now I am usually one brave soul when it comes to jumping feet first into a project, even if I've never done it before. I figure any surprises can always be worked around and you won't know if you like it or if it works until you try. But this time, I have to admit, putting the sander to the table top I felt fear.

Fortunately that only lasted a few seconds. When I saw the results of the first pass, wow, I could see this table was going to be gorgeous all sanded down! And it is, table top and sides done, now to just find some time for the legs...

I used a very fine grit sanding paper, not wanting to over-sand and loose the character: just the green.

Next, a trip to Home Depot for additional supplies: tack cloth and the furniture wax. The store did not end up having Briwax in stock. However, I happened upon two exceptionally helpful sales people, one who has used both Briwax and Howard Citrus Shield natural paste wax, and prefers the Howard brand. Okay, sold. But Briwax comes in many tones, and I had intended to use the clear option, to keep the table looking as natural as possible. Wanting to make sure there was no color in this brand's wax, they opened up the can to check. Don't you love it when sales people WANT to help you?!

Back home I wiped a section of the table top clean with tack cloth, removing any remaining dust...

...and rubbed a bead of wax onto a small section. At first I was pretty nervous seeing the wood turn quite orange, much deeper than seen in the photo. Oh no, I hope it "dries" clear!

It did. Table happiness for sure. Now to just get those pesky turned legs sanded down, that is probably going to be a little more time consuming than the table top. I put in a call to my Dad, "want to hang out and sand table legs?" The phone was quiet on the other end. I think I have my answer.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Last Day: Anthropologie Ikat Mimi Bowls Giveaway + Random Tidbits

Today is the last day to enter to win this stylish set of Ikat Mimi Bowls in four colors from Anthropologie. If you have not already done so, simply subscribe to House of Fifty for a chance to win by clicking here.

Look for the winner to be announced tomorrow!

Also, a big thanks to Shari of little blue deer for designing the button for House of Fifty this past week. You can grab it from the sidebar if you feel so inclined!

Thank you to everyone who was written and left wonderful comments regarding this new venture, and a big thanks to all the contributors who are working on the e-zine with me. It is proving to be a lot of fun to collaborate with this great group on their stories and articles! And here's a little inside scoop, this is truly a team effort coming from the "house of beals", with my husband signing on as assistant editor. There is no one's opinion I trust more than his, he is my number one supporter, and lucky for me he is also a talented writer with a background in journalism.

And now I'm off with another contributor to interview an interesting couple who runs a business in the Portland area. During this meeting I'll be getting fitted for an item associated with a story...and no, it is not a bra! No more hints, you'll just have to wait and see.

Tomorrow: It's back to decorating...I'll be sharing progress on the table, which I've begun to sand!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nothing Can Update A Room Like Paint!

Over the last three days Pk of Room Remix has been hosting a series on selecting paint colors. Many of you requested I cover this design dilemma in your comments on this post. And I will. But in meantime, how great to be asked by Pk to contribute to her series covering this topic. {Now I can just send you over there!}

Is there anything that has the power to transform a room quite like paint? If so I have yet to find it! Here are two examples of rooms that were given a makeover, with paint providing the change with the biggest impact.

A kitchen nook in our previous home, before paint...

...and after.

My best example of how paint can transform is our master bathroom.

The befores...

...and the afters.

A paint change set the stage for a dramatic redesign. Other additions include new light fixtures, a Mirror Mate frame installed around the large plate glass mirror, roman shades and a few accessories.

If painting is in your near future, visit Room Remix for tips on how to select paint colors, (Monday's post). It was fun to read everyone's suggestions, I learned a few new tips myself! Also, yesterday and today the participates are sharing their favorite neutral paint colors, favorite statement colors and suggestions of colors that work well with stained trim, with examples of the colors shown in rooms.

And don't forget to enter for a chance to win one of the two $50 gift certificates in the Lisa Leonard Design giveaway, just in time for Valentine's Day! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ordering Furniture Online ~ What Happens When A Surprise Arrives

UPDATE: Originally I didn't mention the source of this table because I didn't want to be snarky, but I can't even begin to tell you how many people have written me for more detailed information on how to refinish this same table that also arrived at their homes with a terribly rough surface and a less than flattering green tinge that in no way resembles all the images online. So, dear Restoration Hardware, I think I might have to start charging you for my services!

I'm attempting to figure out how to write this post so I don't leave you completely confused. The pictures don't tell the story. 

I am in the process of turning my dining room into a dining room. Brilliant I know, this space had previously housed a piano. One of the first tasks was to find a very long table to fill the space. Anything too short and it would be out of proportion in an area which is open to both the living room and entry. Wonderfully I found the perfect piece, solid wood featuring a worn finish...which is ideal when you have kids! And extending up to 10 feet long, can't you just imagine the large dinner parties that could be hosted?! Also, the light weathered oak finish fell in line beautifully with the soft color palette I have planned for the space.

When ordering online there are several factors to consider. First is size, and that I nailed. Next is quality, so it is best to order from companies with a proven track record and make sure to research the specific item to see if there have been any complaints. I encountered no red flags. Finally, order swatches if available. In this case that was not an option, so I intently scrutinized all pictures I could find of the item and placed a call to inquire in more detail about both its construction and finish. With all this done to my satisfaction, along with a sale running, I placed an order.

I love it. It is gorgeous. Long, heavy and solid. So what is the problem? The finish. And this is where you are going to get confused: I can't for the life of me take a photo that shows how the finish looks in person! In these photos it looks exactly like it did in the store's photos, how interesting is that? But in real life? The table is a dark deep green the shade of moss, only that actually sounds like it could be nice. So how about moss that is beginning to dry out, turning slightly brown with strong green undertones. Seriously and completely ugly. (When the delivery men carried it through the front door my first thought was, "oh, that is ugly...this should be interesting.")

This is the finish I expected, seen on the underneath portion of the leaf.

And this is what I got. Out on a family walk this past Sunday I spotted this tree, "hey, that is the color of our table!" I came back later to snap a photo. This and a mixture of the colors below.

Yes, I called customer service, and I'd have to pay the shipping charges to have it returned. But you know what? It's all a good thing. The wood is a rougher than I would ideally like, but it is nothing that a good sanding won't fix. Do you think if the table had showed up dressed in a perfect finish I'd be willing to sand away the rough spots, to make it nicer to sit at without fear of getting a splinter? Absolutely not!

So, that is the plan. I'm sanding it down and will then figure out if I like the natural wood tone or if a light stain will be the route to go.

And no, returning it didn't make a lot of sense. Even if I could accurately show the color and it was determined the finish was outside reasonable variances, there would be no guarantee the next table wouldn't be exactly the same. So as Tim Gunn would say, I'm going to "make it work"!

What has been your experience shopping for furniture online?

Monday, January 24, 2011

While Looking For Some San Francisco House Photos I Came Across...

I was in the process of  writing a post about the challenges of moving from a very small house (our 800 square foot San Francisco rental) to the first home we purchased in Oregon, measuring a grand 2500 square feet.  Everything we owned fit easily into the bonus room, with only a bed for our master and a crib for Isabella's room.

But I got distracted when I came across these...and I couldn't stop myself from sharing!

Oh sweet Isabella! How time flies.
There was a day when all we needed to do to be happy was tuck magnolia leaves into a fence.

Lisa Leonard Designs: A Giveaway For Valentine's Day!

Didn't we just finish packing away our holiday decor, could it already be time to think about celebrating Valentine's Day? Yes it is and oh, do I have the perfect giveaway for you!

Lisa, of Lisa Leonard Designs, creates the most beautiful hand stamped sterling jewelry. In celebration of Valentine's Day she is giving away not one, but two, $50 gift certificates to her shop of very popular and beautiful jewelry.

To enter for a chance to win simply visit Lisa's shop here, look for your favorite item and mention it in a comment below.

{listed under items for men, I have to say I love this style for myself}

What is your favorite? A little bit of loveliness for yourself or a piece for a special someone?

This giveaway runs through Sunday the 30th at midnight, PST, with the two winners announced the following day...just in time to place an order to be received by Valentine's Day!

This giveaway is open to readers with US and Canadian shipping addresses.

{adorable sweet heart cookies from SunshineBakes}

And coming up tomorrow: Have you ever ordered a large piece of furniture online and been completely surprised?
In a good way, or in a bad way? I'll be sharing my story!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

This Week's Ideabook On Houzz: Bedding Trends

While sipping on my early morning cup of coffee last week, I came across an enjoyable post on Good Life Of Design. Inspired by an article Kathysue had read from the Wall Street Journal, she was compelled to write a post entitled: The Demise of the Duvet?

Bear Hill Interiors

Apparently duvets are too poufy, too heavy and hot, and will no longer be what is in vogue for bedding. A sleeker look is on the horizon. (And most certainly fewer pillows, for goodness sake!) Well, not having given bedding trends a whole lot of thought recently, I decided to take a closer look at what homeowners and designers have been up to when it comes to bedding choices. The bedrooms I found on Houzz tend to indicate that indeed a change in is the air. Take a look at the Ideabook here, and come back if you will and tell me...thumbs up or thumbs down?

Friday, January 21, 2011

An Award Has Been Going Around...

Like a chain letter, but most certainly nicer, an award has been jumping around blogland. Here are the wonderful bloggers who have passed it on to me:

Marianne at Style For Living

Barbara at the Hampton Hostess

Thanks ladies!

Now to the rules: State 7 random things about yourself that people may not know, and then pass it on to 7 others.

Passing it on is easy, I could go on and on about all the blogs I read and enjoy and learn from. The sharing random thoughts about myself, not so much. So I've run those together in a quickie just feels odd to share tidbits in this fashion, not related to some topic in a post!

1) Well, as a firm believer you can't do it all, (at one time anyway) to make room for new ventures I've stopped taking on client design work. 2) At one point I thought I would pursue a career in music. 3) I worked in a fisheries for seven summers to pay for college: wet, stinky, cold and somehow, strangely, a lot of fun. 4) I do not like the cold. And while I love where I live, this time of year I search real estate listings in warmer climates, just to make it worse? 5) I work fast, I move fast, it seems the older I get the faster I move. If it were the opposite I'd be concerned. 6) Blogging has actually changed my life. When I stop to think about that fact it seems very bizarre. 7) Yes, the rumor is true. I do wake up at 5 a.m. to find time to catch up on emails and blogs before the kids get up. I have found a great many new blogs that I wish I had even more time to read.

Which leads to the passing it on part. Here are seven of these recently discovered blogs, they definitely deserve to receive this Stylish Blogger Award. Enjoy!

Stefanie at anna and blue paperie writes a wonderful blog and designs the most adorable stationery, gift cards, party decor and more!

Kristen at Cottage Modern is a designer specializing in kitchen and bath remodels and recently redid her own must check out the before and afters on her blog. It will offer up hope to anyone with a kitchen well past its prime!

DIY by Design

Judy from DIY by Design is a talented blogger who shares wonderful projects she is tackling in her home. I know if she lived down the street from me we'd be great friends...and shopping buddies on the hunt for a great find!

Modern Country Style

Sarah lives in England and is doing wonders transforming her English Edwardian home full of charm and quirky character. I would like to meet her, most certainly!

pink wallpaper

Shannon at pink wallpaper sells the best pieces of fabric through her blog, click on 'the designer's attic' button on the sidebar. Also, if you are a mom read her latest post, "I Try". I know a lot of us can relate!


Autumn from design*dump offers up inspiring posts with a really sharp eye, which makes sense when you look at the collection of rooms she and her contractor husband have produced together. What a talented team!

And finally, let me close with another outstanding kitchen renovation. Lisa just posted the final results of the work she and her guy did on their kitchen. What amazes me most, apart from the fact it is gorgeous, is the amount of inventive thinking and work they put into this project to make it a success.

And now back to the regular programming schedule...coming up tomorrow: Bedding Trends, my latest Ideabook for Houzz. I'll be curious to hear if you give these trends a thumbs up or thumbs down!