Thursday, April 24, 2014

Just a little pause

It's not that I got to the dreaded brass and glass and couldn't move onto the rest of the condo.  It just that a week and a half ago His Grace and I decided that we were going to leave the Middle East and move to AZ this summer.  And for me, that meant I had a week and a half to pack 'cause I'm flying out on Saturday with 5 suitcases of mostly stuff.  Trust me, finding artwork to put on the walls of the condo is not going to be a problem.

Anyway... I'll be the decorator in residence as of Saturday evening, although I don't plan on regaining consciousness until about Wednesday, when I may reveal the 70s wonder that is our kitchen.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let's talk about brass and glass

As I said, the one piece of furniture I hate in our furnished condo is the dining room set.  
So here it is - and you get a view of the glorious holey orange drapes free of charge:

The top is smoked glass that sits on a brass quadropod (bet you didn't think I knew that word).  The chairs are pink/beige striped burlap-y stuff sitting on those springy brass bendy forms.  

My preferred solution is to get a "new to us" set... maybe in maple.  You can see a couple of "Colonial Maple" tables in the living room, and there are three more pieces, including a dry sink for the dining room, there now.  So getting a table that goes with that would/should work.  And while I can find sets that suit my design aesthetic (like I know what that means), His Grace, the Duke is very particular about what he puts his aristocratic ... on.  Actually, the issue is that His Grace is not a tall man, and too many chairs are too long in the seat and either his feet don't touch the floor or his back doesn't reach the chair back.  So buying is not an entirely win-win situation.

But if I'm going to make the best of what we've got, I have to figure out what to do with ol' brass and glass.  Clearly the upholstery isn't a problem - drop cloth.  But what to do with the brass.  And I'm thinking of painting it using Rustoleum's oil rubbed bronze:  I'd have to paint the light fixture too, obviously.

But what about the glass top?  Should I paint the underside of that?  The same colour?  Suggestions appreciated.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Dining Room

On to the dining room portion of the main room.  Look beyond the powder blue wing chair, the blue-green recliner and the orange drapes with the deliberately placed holes and there it is.

I have to say that the only furniture that came with the condo that I absolutely hate is the dining room set.  Glass, brass and bendy chairs.  I'll deal with that later.

But for the walls...  I found a pin about how to stencil a wall, and had a flash of pinspiration.  Which also decided me on going with a Navajo pattern in the living room.  

The walls of the whole room will be painted - probably a sand-ish colour - in a flat finish, naturally, including the small wall at the end of the dining room.  But I'm going to stencil a Navajo pattern on that wall using the same colour but in a semi-gloss finish.  It'll be subtle (I hope) but still add a bit of subdued pizzazz to the room.  

I found a great stencil pattern online - on my own, and not through Pinterest, if you can believe it - at

It might be a bit busy even done in the same colour as the wall; I'm going to have to think about it for a bit.  But stencils are down the road apiece.  First I have walls to paint, furniture to reupholster, etc.  And I really have to do something with that dining room set, that doesn't involve junking it.  His Grace, the Duke likes it because he finds the chairs very comfortable.  So tomorrow's entry will be about what I've come up with so far, but get your thinking caps on, because I'm really open to suggestions.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Finally...the drapes

So, yes, the orange with lacey holes in them drapes have to go.  And here's the plan:
I'm going to make the drapes out of drop cloths, but to keep them from adding to the sea of beige that is the carpet, I'm going to add a band of colour about 18" from the bottom hem.

I found a great blog (through Pinterest, but you probably already knew that) called The Graphics Fairy, and they have a post on how to print onto fabric. Apparently I can stick a piece of fabric to paper and then run it through my ink jet.  Is that cool, or what????  

So I've scoured Google images for jpegs of oriental rugs and Navajo rugs, since I haven't yet determined which type the area rug will be.  I'm going to print a bunch of different ones (with lots of red in them because, well, it's red) onto the drop cloth drape fabric - or cotton, if the drop cloth fabric is too thick for the printer, stitch them together and then attach them as a band near the bottom of the drape.  

I'm really excited about this, mostly because I didn't just scoop the idea wholesale from the internet.  I actually took something and came up with my own idea.  I am a DECORATOR!  Well, not really, but allow me my fantasy for a few minutes.

Next, the dining room.  Or, as way too many people on Craigslist call it, the dinning room.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Down the hall and turn left

And now on to the living/dining room, which is not - as you will notice from the floor plan - rectangular.  It may be a blank slate, but it's an unusually shaped blank slate.  Which is one of the things that appealed to His Grace, the Duke.  Having looked in the mirror on occasion, I should have realized he likes odd shapes.  Anyway... here's what we're starting with.

Yup... another blank slate.

So far, the tables at either end of the couch, with the lamps, have been moved to the master bedroom; they may or may not stay there.  And the striped orange blanket has been removed from the couch and taken to a thrift store.  Taken?  No... banished!
 And there's a tv in the corner.  To recap... white walls, beige carpet and... a powder blue wing chair, a blue-green recliner and a purpley-blue couch.  With lacey orange drapes... orange!  Can you say "coordination?"  

To begin with colour... when I look at the room I see a rather large sea of beige carpet, and y'all have to remember I've been living in the Middle East where oriental carpets - which I love - are in every home.  So I want to get an area rug to put over the sea of beige and define the room space.  I'm waffling between acknowledging where we've spent the past 10 year and going with an oriental opattern or celebrating our foothold in Arizona with a Navajo-type pattern.  (As an aside... I really want to go to the Crownpoint Rug Auction )  I suppose it will come down to what I can get early on in the process.  

'Cause the rug is where I'm going to get the colour scheme for the room.  I found this amazing website - probably on Pinterest - that lets you click on a photo and then tells you what paint colours are in it.  Yay, Sherwin Williams... what a great toy!   

For example, I clicked on a photo of this rug, and Sherwin Williams gave me the list of colours for the room.

If I had this rug, I'd probably paint the walls New Colonial Yellow and reupholster at least the couch and recliner in Canvas Tan.  

Which is, as of now, the upholstery plan regardless of the rug pattern, because canvas tan is pretty well the colour of drop cloths you can get at hardware stores relatively cheaply.  This is another Pinterest idea, and I wish I could find the site that gave me the idea because it's flaming brilliant.  Actually, if colour plans change before I get to this stage, I'll still use the canvas drop cloths because I can dye them using that cool Rit Dye site I posted yesterday.

So once I have the walls painted and the reupholstering done - easy peasy - I'll move on to replacing the ghastly moment of 70s indigestion that is the orange drapes.  But that's for tomorrow.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Oh, and another thing

Before I leave the bedroom and move on to the splendiforous plans I have for the living room - really the plan for the drapes is brilliant, I promise - I have to share some sad news about the chosen bedspread that appears in the colour scheme picture.  It's the perfect green, but is no longer available.  I could, of course, haunt my favourite thrift store mall, but instead I'm hoping to bring a white bedspread I already have (depending on luggage allowances and all that) and then turn it into the perfect green bedspread using this website:

How cool is that... colour concoctions for every imaginable colour.  My inner mad scientist is stirring.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Two/three things about the master bedroom I forgot to mention.

The master bathroom has carpet on the floor.  Nice on the toes, but it just bothers my mother's daughter the housekeeper.  How do you scrub carpet?  How can you be clean without scrubbing the bathroom floor?  So, obviously, I'm going to learn how to lay some tile.

I found this idea on Pinterest, and it's absolutely fascinating.  Torn brown paper and expoxy.  Super cheap and surprisingly rich looking. But I'm not sure it's tough enough for a bathroom floor.  So let's wait and see what tiles I can find on craigslist.

The other project in the bedroom is the master closet.  For the first time ever, I've got a walk-in closet.  

Oh, look... another blank slate!

So here's the inspiration look I'm going for.  But in our closet there are two rods (one high, one low) on the left side, so I won't have cabinets on that side.

And I think these units from Ikea will do the trick.


And there's one more thing about the closet that I'm considering.  Well, ONE more today.  These darned ideas seem to pop up like mushrooms.  Anyway... just inside the bedroom, on the right side as you enter, there's a built in linen cupboard.  But the darned thing is no more than a foot deep, which means than comforters have to be squashed in.  I'm thinking of shortening the hanging rods on the left side of the closet by two or three feet and putting in a deeper linen closet there.  People are getting rid of their entertainment centre armoires now that they're getting flat screen tvs, and I think I could convert an armoire to a linen closet fairly easily.  

But that's for later.  First, paint!  Blue paint!  No more builder's white.  Yay!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

And the adventure begins

After 20 years of living in rented housing, we've bought our little condo in the desert - Sun City, AZ.  We bought it furnished, without actually seeing it because, at the moment, we're living overseas.  We have some friends who just moved to the area - he's an architect and she and I have similar tastes.  They looked at it for us and they liked it, so we bought it.  Really... we bought a house only having seen photos, but we really feel that God has blessed us with this place; we love it.  

For the past decade or so, it's been owned by a widower who only lived there a couple of months each year, and when he passed away, his family just painted all the walls white (except for a morning glory stencil in the kitchen) and left it at that.  In other words, I have a blank canvas.  Not much money, but a blank canvas and a bunch of thrift stores not too far away.

Here's the floor plan:
The first challenge was to find a place for his grace's desk.  Right now it's in the master bedroom, which means that when I'm indulging in my morning beauty sleep after spending half the night looking at decor ideas on Pinterest, he can't use his computer.  Since the condo's in Arizona and most of our family and many of our friends live in Canada, we expect/hope that the guest room will get a lot of use, so that's out as alternate office space.  Eventually we might close in part of the lanai, but for now, the first project is going to be to tear out the hall closets and make that into office space.  (One wall in the garage is built in cupboards, so I'm not really worried about losing the storage space.)

Then the decorating fun begins.  After all these years of living in rentals where every room is the same  colour, I'm really excited about being able to paint the walls.

The first room I'm going to tackle is the master bedroom.  Here's what it looks like now:

See... I told you I have a blank slate to work with.  I found a colour palette - on Pinterest, naturally - that I like.
The plan is for pale blue walls, drapes, dresser and maybe the headboard in that greige colour and the bedside tables - which are actually end tables I've moved from the living room -  are going to be painted silver - as near to mirror as Rustoleum will let me go.  I haven't found a headboard on craigslist or at my favourite thrift store strip mall yet, but the style will be the deciding factor in which colour it get's painted.  If it's quite solid, it will be greige; if it's quite airy, then I'm thinking of going crazy and using the fuschia.  

Then it's on to the living room and dining room... I have an idea of what I want to do with the furniture, but I still haven't decided on the wall colour... I just know it's not going to be the same colour as the bedroom.