Monday, February 28, 2011

Decision time

I've been stalling the refinishing/painting of the staircase for three reasons:
1) indecision
2) laziness
3) financial hemorrhaging

So after numerous Photoshop attempts I've fixed problem number 1. We made a decision!

The above is obviously another Photoshop mock-up. This is what it will look like when finished - everything painted white except the banister and the treads.

At first I was a little hesitant about painting the post white. Funny our laziness as noted above actually helped the process. We noticed this same look in the Modern Family house as we were lounging catching up on our DVR on Sunday:

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cavalier Chandelier

On the hunt for a new dining room chandelier. Look at these beauties:

A little heavy but wow.

Love this, but maybe a little too severe?



The last two lights are $8000. Each. Of course they are my favorites and my eyes went straight to them on a page with about 25 other affordable lights. My insanely and awesomely expensive taste is a curse. I don't even love brass, but I could make an exception for these, like, if there was a situation where somebody forced me to have them. Or something.


Sources here, here, here, and here

Monday, February 21, 2011

One more thing...

Yesterday I forgot (and Mom reminded me about) one more option for the stairs... Option E would be each step covered with sisal. I'm still leaning towards C.

Please tell me what to do :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

don't stair at me

Yesterday we tackled the staircase carpet. I just couldn't take it any longer. This was underneath:

Then about 2 hours of taking out all the staples and trying to clean the wood underneath:
This is as good at it is going to get. For now.

Are we ready to live with this while we decide what we are doing?
In the meantime we gave ourselves strict instructions to use slippers or shoes when traversing this thing. There may or may not be scary splintering wood sticking out all directions.

What should we do? As previously discussed many many times on this blog, the banister and woodwork will be painted white. But the rest??

Choice A - Refinish wood to match rest of house, add sisal runner:

Choice B: Refinish treads only, paint risers white:

Choice C: Refinish treads only, paint risers white, add sisal runner:

Choice D: Paint risers and treads white, add sisal runner:

And all the choices together:

I'm leaning towards choice C, but not totally convinced. John really likes A. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Staircase Walls

Remember this mess? Well, it's done!

I will spare you the grisly before photos (if you're really curious you can click the above link).

Here is what it looks like now:

We are so happy that we finally did this! (Or paid someone to do this!). I am all for taking the DIY route when I can - but this was clearly a case for the professionals.

Next up:

Most people viewing this will fall into one of two camps:
1) Burn the gosh ugly rug and paint the freaking wood paneling and banister already.
2) Burn the gosh ugly rug and don't let me see a paint brush in your hand!

Sorry, but it's gonna be number 1! Soon!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Screen Project

Our contractor mentioned the other day that he had some Indonesian-style folding screens. (Or maybe they are Indian? I don't know - I googled both and they both returned pretty much the same results.) Anyway, he had them for a long time and never did anything with them, and he was clearing out his garage and about to throw them out and offered them to us.

Here they are, in our basement:

As you can see, the center one is the only one intact. The one to the left is missing a top "arm"(?), the one on the right is missing a leg... and the one on the floor is cut in half (but it is broken along the joint, so it would be seamless to put back together.

John wants to put it all together as a working screen. I really like that idea... but I keep thinking about this big blank wall in our living room that has been really bugging me lately:

I am thinking about losing one of the screens and mounting the three best screens together in a row, so it would look like this Photoshop mock-up:
(We will eventually get a new couch in a toned-down color, also some new pillows, so use your imagination)

John also had the idea that the screens would look really awesome sprayed silver, so I mocked that up too:
Me likey! What do you think? Mounted to the wall or made into a traditional folding screen? Spray painted? What color?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Andirons and Irons

Is it me or am I getting a little slap-happy with the painting and spray painting?

Remember those andirons? The brassy ones from way back when? See:

Well, they've been tucked away in the basement for, like, a year. And I realized I had an opened can of metallic spray paint. In the exact dark metallic color needed. And I started thinking...

And one thing lead to another...

It was the perfect opportunity. Since this was the same spray paint used on the hinges and hardware of the built-ins:

Now I have one more major project for the fireplace (ok, two major projects if you count actually getting the fireplace to work)...
What can we do to the hearth area? I would like to use a material that is somewhat historically accurate to the 1920s. Or a nod to something that would be historically accurate to the 1920s.

Penny tile?

Marble tile?

One large slab of blue stone cut to size?

Color? Grout color? Am I missing something? Someone please tell me what to do.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Perfectly Eclectic

We still have a big block of painting work to get done in the living room. I'm using that as an excuse why our living room remains undecorated. Nothing hanging on the walls. Same old couch. Don't even get me started on our coffee table situation. And a rug? I will only purchase once we have aforementioned painting done.

But I can dream. I really love how these rooms are a perfect blend of traditional and modern. Let's analyze...

I haven't thought of a sunburst behind the couch, but I'm kind of loving this idea. Also how sweet are those coffee tables? Sleek but traditional.

The overtly ornate mirror reminds me of the wooden one we have at the bottom of the staircase. I love how layered this room looks, while at the same time remaining calm and clean.

This layering in this room is insane. Love the mix of prints, the cozy rug and the warm wood tones. I want to just curl up on that couch with a good book.

More living room updates to come later this week!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Secret Door!

If you are especially observant you might have noticed in my last post that there is a door built into the paneling of our staircase wall:
We have lived here for over a year now, and we have never opened this door. I thought for a while that it was nailed shut, then realized that it was locked. With a skeleton key lock. Despite owning a set of skeleton keys from our house, none of them worked in the lock.

The other side of the door faces a corner of the kitchen. I tried unlocking/picking the lock from both sides but it wasn't budging and I lost interest.

To be perfectly honest, I thought that one day we would get the door open and reveal a secret porthole to Narnia, or John Malkovitch's mind.

But... our contractor got the door open! I have no idea what he did, but it's working now! John was so psyched when we got home from work tonight - he couldn't wait to demonstrate walking through the door.
Opening the door did not reveal the Narnian realm I thought it would!

I find that I can't stand having parts of the house broken and not working. So this is especially satisfying.

I'm not sure we will use the door, but I'm glad we have the option.

I asked John what he thought of all this door nonsense, and I quote verbatim:
"I think, it's like - a wall has opened, it's like - a wall that moved. A wall - that it's basically like a - it's a, like a secret passage! Uh, a not-so-secret passage!"

Upon further questioning, John had a much more eloquent thought:
"This is a door that could have been closed for a decade, maybe more. There is no way of knowing if this door has ever been opened."


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nitty Gritty

One of the longest-lasting construction (or deconstruction) eyesores in our house is the stairwell. It contains so many layers of ugliness. Blah!!

Let's start with what we had when we bought the house:
Woodwork: charming (dingy)
Wallpaper: mediocre
Rug: Gross, yet simultaneously comfortable
Ceiling: cracked


2 days through 3 months after buying the house:

Woodwork: still charming (dingy)
Wallpaper: partly stripped where we could reach.
Rug: Still gross, still forest green circa 1986
Ceiling: cracked, also cracks behind the wallpaper! Woohoo for awesome discoveries!



Woodwork: half painted, half wonky
Wallpaper: totally wonky
Rug: Still wonky
Ceiling and walls: Wonky McWonkerstein

So we are crossing our fingers that our contractor will show tomorrow and by the weekend we will have eliminated at least the annoying parts we can't physically reach (without risking life and limb) (I'm being overdramatic - but really, let's be serious and admit that neither of us is getting up on a ladder in a stairwell).


Here is my latest inspiration photo:
How funny that the situation above is almost identical to our home? The direction of the photo, the location of front door with light shining in, the ornate wood mirror facing the bottom step, neutral paint on the wall, the desire for white woodwork/paneling alongside the staircase. It all points towards awesome goodness, if you ask me!

Photos to follow soon (hopefully!!)