Wednesday, August 31, 2011

High + Low Design

Introducing a statement wallpaper makes this room, so the splurge was completely worth it. However, as I pretty much blew the budget for redesigning our bonus room with the wallpaper and its installation, the remainder of the room will be completed by using what is already on hand, refinishing pieces and finding the remaining items at Ikea. A true room of HIGH + LOW! 

This room will remain a multi-purpose space: work area during the day and a spot for play, movies and sleepovers during weekends and evenings! Therefore, a lot more storage is needed.

The long wall behind the sofa is calling out for a large bookcase and I found several options at Ikea.

The Expedit. Who hasn't seen this shown on endless blogs used with success in virtually every type of room?

I also liked the looks of the Besta Vassbo, with its glass doors. 

But I like the size, price and size of the Expedit in its largest version. With the open back it won't look too visually heavy against the walls with the brown paint showing through.

Ikea also sells some really great storage options with these boxes and drawer insets, perfect for games, toys, and whatever else finds its way into the room.

Unfortunately the unit was out of stock on my last visit to the store, but I'm sure to return soon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Storm

Scott Olson / Getty Images

I trust all of you that live along the east coast got through this past weekend without incident.
 Thinking about you...


Friday, August 26, 2011

In Search of Sunny Skies & Heat

Much of our summer has been filled with gray skies and cool weather. In case you don't know, I Depend on being able to soak up all the heat during long hot summers to get through our gloomy wet winters. If you live in the NW, you know what I am talking about!!

So I've finally given up, packed up the kids and boarding a plane to Texas. I did hear on the news they are having the hottest summer around, so off we go.

And yes, if you live where it has been hot for months you're thinking I'm crazy. But trust me, you don't want me getting grumpy beginning around mid-October.

{recent Texas trip}

This should be me, right about now. Happiness.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Been There, Done That: Alternatives to Granite Countertops

Karen Chanan of Number 4 Design, a talented designer in the Chicago area, is sharing her favorite alternatives to granite today. While granite still seems to be the number one choice of people house hunting or looking to update a kitchen, there are so many other exceptional options on the market to consider! Janell

I’m dreaming about my next kitchen…it will look something like this.

Maybe the cabinets will be gray; maybe they will be white, not sure about the floor.
One thing I know for sure, there will be no granite anywhere in sight.

Granite has long been the usual go-to for countertops, and it’s starting to feel a little redundant. With so many choices, both natural and man-made, you can really make a statement, yet be practical at the same time.

Before you go looking, consider these factors:

1. Your budget. This is the first place to start, considering your budget will help narrow down your options.

2. Use. Are you an avid cook? Do you avoid the kitchen at all costs? Some countertops may or may not be the most sensible choice for you based on use.

3. Maintenance. This is a matter of personal preference. Some countertops are super high maintenance, and some are not. Let your lifestyle dictate the direction you take.

So now that we’ve gotten those decisions out of the way, let’s talk options:

Without a doubt, my all-time favorite is Carrera Marble. It’s high maintenance and shows wear, but I don’t care. I love it. Beautiful, elegant, classic. That said, you have to accept that it will show etching and patina over time. I think that’s what gives it character, but if you like a more pristine look it may not be for you.

Concrete is gaining popularity in countertops, as it can be transformed into any shape, finish or color. It’s also heat and scratch resistant. This is another one of my favorites, but keep in mind this is typically a custom project so it may not be right for the budget conscious.

Engineered countertops are made of natural stone mixed with resin, so they are more durable and practically maintenance-free. They are available in a wider variety of colors than granite and have a nonporous surface that resists scratches and stains. You may recognize them under their brand names: Zodiaq®, Cambria Quartz, Cesar stone and Silestone.

If sustainability is one of your goals, Paperstone is a great alternative. It’s a green product made from post-consumer recycled paper mixed with resin. It’s strong, waterproof, and available in a wide range of colors. But keep in mind that the resins in this product can cause the color of the countertop to change over time.

Many associate stainless steel with commercial kitchens, but it can give a great industrial look to residential spaces. While it’s highly durable, heat resistant and easy to clean, it definitely shows scratches, so if you want flawless surfaces, you may want to move on.

Soapstone is a soft, non-porous, natural stone which is distinguishable by its dark, almost black, honed surface. Great for cooks because it's an excellent heat insulator, at the same time it is one of the higher maintenance surfaces requiring regular applications of mineral oil.

We’ve covered only a few of the dozens of options out there…take your time, do your research, don’t be afraid to venture off the road of conformity. You’ll be happy you did!

{images via Houzz}

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wallpaper Love

Some of you seemed surprised I was not taking on the project of hanging the wallpaper in the bonus room myself.

Not a chance!

First of all our home has textured walls that had to be skim coated and sanded, requiring a few layers to achieve a flat surface on which to hang the wallpaper. I've worked before with Chuck of WALLPAPERPRO on client projects that included wallpaper, so as soon as the paper arrived I picked up the phone!

{laser level thing required}

Once the wall surface was properly prepared Chuck could move on to hanging the paper. This is when two more reasons arose for why I would not tackle this myself: getting the paper hung straight and matching the pattern at the seams. Not an easy job.

And yet more reasons! The paper needed to be trimmed...

...and hung around a window! 

At this point I needed to leave, to pick up the kids at camp and meet friends for dinner. But I felt confident and excited about returning home later to see the completed job!

When I got home I was so excited to run upstairs. Would I like it?

I gasped...and wish I could capture in photos how fabulous the paper looks on this wall that is seen when first coming into the room.

{oh, do those ceiling light fixtures need to be changed out stat!}

Then I had to look at the wall closely, how were the seams matched? Beautifully!

So much remaining to be done to pull this room together, including bringing in a shelving unit along the wall to the left and finding a spot to hang the wallpaper art.

But the David Hicks Vase wallpaper certainly makes a fabulous statement which defines the room.

One last shout out to Chuck: look at the wonderful job he did hanging the paper around the window frame. If you live in the Portland area and are looking to have some paper hung, he is your man.

Wallpaper love indeed...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Easiest Way To Add Style To A Room: Pillows!

Yes, just right for the bonus room project:
The Gotta Twill in yellow & white and the Chevron Print in brown & white.

I was so happy to open my package from Kassapanola and wasn't disappointed. Though now I think I need to go back and order another pair!

{ps. A big thanks to Kassapanola for sponsoring the latest issue of House of Fifty!}

Up next...the wallpaper is being hung!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wallpaper Samples As Art?

When I posted pictures of all the wallpaper samples received, in a fabulous range of colors, several of you suggested I find a use for them! Oh, you readers are smart.

So on yet another trip to Ikea I picked up two Ribba frames with matting. These are such a fabulous deal! 

Besides the taupe colorway I've selected to hang on one wall, my other favorites are the yellow and red.

While these are just sample, I couldn't bring myself to cut them. Silly, I know. 
Simply taping the wallpaper in place...

...the back of the frames were put back in place...

...and the hanging wire attached.


I adore that the samples in these two colors were cut from a similar section of the repeat, allowing an identical portion of the pattern to be showcased for each. 

Something similar could be done with a favorite decorative paper or fabric...just think of the possibilities!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Simple Shelves

At the beginning of the year I had a grand plan of carving out a little office in this corner of the large bonus room. It included constructing a couple walls, extending wiring, a door and window. But when quotes were showing up in my inbox with price tags hovering around $10,000 I decided a plan B was in order!

Now I'm simply creating a work area within the room, and bringing in storage and shelving will go a long way in creating an organized area to get some work done. With some basic supplies from Home Depot, MDF shelving lengths cut to size, brackets and toggle screws, simple shelves where installed above the filing cabinets.

I looked at "pre-made" shelving kits from Ikea, but none were the right length and I wanted the shelving to extend from side to side in the recessed area. The MDF shelving was cut to size at Home Depot; luckily I measured right and the man at the store cut right! They fit just perfectly.

I made sure to pick up some heavy duty threaded drywall toggle screws, nothing disrupts organization like a shelf tumbling down with all that is on them following. I'm looking at a lot of books these days and the shelves will have to hold them.

Remembering these posters ordered last year....

...some inexpensive frames picked up at Ikea make them look great!

The last project for this nook is to find a countertop to place on the filing cabinets, creating a good surface for the printer and such to sit on. I saw this option at Ikea...much cheaper than the walnut I originally had my eye on. I am going to have to give this some thought!