February 28, 2011

Faux Built Ins

One project for the family room that I am so excited about is our "built in" shelving.  Originally I was planning to do built in shelving units along both sides of the fireplace.  Something like these (our fireplace is red brick as well)

Then I thought that may be a bit unoriginal and I wanted something a bit more modern looking.  Also our fireplace has a rounded brick hearth, which would have to be covered or incorporated into the design, adding an additional complication.

Then it happened... a flash of genius!  I could use the Ikea bookshelves that we had in our old house and create a kind of faux built in bookcase wall.  Beside the fireplace I had the perfect place for a shelving nook... I will explain.  As you may recall, the family room looked like this:
The plan is to fill that far wall with bookshelves to hold all of our DVDs, CDs and some decorative items using these
BILLY Bookcase black-brown Width: 31 1/2 " Depth: 11 " Height: 79 1/2 " Max load/shelf: 66 lb  Width: 80 cm Depth: 28 cm Height: 202 cm Max load/shelf: 30 kg

I'm so excited!  It's going to be amazing... can you picture it?  I will post some photos as soon as it is done.

February 26, 2011

Family Room - The Plan

Our first room to tackle is the family room; this is the room that we tend to spend the most time in (mostly because it has the big TV).  For this makeover the plan is to remove wallpaper and chair rail, paint, install new carpet, install some shelving and move in the furniture. 

This room is really dark, so we plan to lighten it up with a light paint colour and lighter carpeting... preferably one without gross questionable stains on it.  We have an existing couch, which is GIANT, that we will be planning the furniture layout around.  Its the Morton sectional from EQ3... we have 2 of those center pieces and an extra corner... HUGE.

The paint colour that we've chosen is Behr Sandstone Cove (middle)

It's warm and light, but still has enough colour to stand out against white trim.  I never thought I would even paint a room beige, but I guess there is a first time for everything.  We are trying to match the paint and carpet to these pillows from Ikea (KAJSA RAND pillows), which match the couch.
For the carpet we're going with Stainmaster berber in Cream (which is almost the same as the paint colour). 
We ordered this from Empire Canada.  They come right to your home with samples.  I love shopping at home.

I know we'll need some colour in this room since I don't want it to be all beige and gray.  I'm thinking RED would really spice it up.  What colours do you love to add a punch of colour?

February 25, 2011

Wallpaper Removal - How To

Our house has a ton of wallpaper.  I'm convinced that when this house was decorated in the 80s it was probably the height of style.  However, that leaves me with lots of scraping and sanding to remove the wallpaper, borders and sponge-painted textures from the walls.

Now that we've done a few rooms of wallpaper removal, here are my secrets...

First, remove baseboards and chair rail (if applicable). 
This is easily done using a crowbar (or you could use the back of a hammer) to pry the wood away from the wall.  Our chair rail was installed using nails only (no glue), so the surface was in pretty good shape after removal.  If you have glue... sorry... sand, sand, sand.

Wallpaper removal was a bit tougher… but very doable even for beginners.  Here’s what you need:

  1. large bucket (or spray bottle)
  2. large sponge
  3. wide putty knife (for scraping) - I use a 6" one
  4. hot water, vinegar
  5. patience!

  1. Try to peel off the paper with your hands or using a putty knife (gently).  Some of our paper was two layers and the top came off easily by peeling it off, and the paper backing required the following treatment.  If your top layer does not come off with peeling start with Step 2.
  2. Fill bucket with hot water, add a big splash of white vinegar (or whatever you have).
  3. Wet the wallpaper by wiping it with the sponge, you want to make it very wet and allow the water to penetrate the paper.  Alternatively you could spray it with a spray bottle, but this can make the whole wall wet... your call.  I have found the spray bottle to be faster, but you may not have one on hand. 
  4. Wait – you have to wait at least 10 minutes for the water to loosen the glue.  If the paper does not seem any looser after 10 minutes wet it again.
  5. Scrape – if you have wet the paper enough and waited long enough it should come off pretty easily although you may have to rewet and scrape as you go.
  6. Have patience, this part is VERY time-consuming, but it will be worth it when you are finished!
Of course I realize that there are fancy steamers, etc out there.  But I removed all of our wallpaper for around $5 (the cost of the scraper and the vinegar) and some elbow grease.

February 23, 2011

Wallpaper... why?

So as most of you decor girls (and guys) out there probably know wallpaper seems to be making a comeback.  Now its all the rage in magazines and design shows on tv.  I would like to ask those of you who are putting up wallpaper... why?  I have been pulling down wallpaper in my family room.  Yes!  The whole upper part of the wall is wallpaper (keep in mind, this is a "before" picture).

It takes forever and its a sticky mess.  I can't imagine that I would be able to choose a style of wallpaper that I will love for 10 years... or even 5... or 2... Maybe other people aren't as fickle as I am, but I like to change the throw pillows on my couch every 2 years, which means that the wallpaper wouldn't match anymore.  Also it costs at least 3 times are much as paint (or more... I haven't priced out a whole room), which is a deal breaker for me as I like it beautiful... and cheap!  So no wallpaper for me.  Do you love wallpaper?  Do you hate ripping it down?  Do you have a genius hassel-free way of removing it?  I would love to know.

February 22, 2011

Blogland here I come!

After admiring MANY other decorating blogs from afar (well, from my computer screen)... I have decided to start my own.  I have a story to tell that starts like many others... Once upon a time... just kidding...

My husband started a new job which meant that we had to relocate and leave our beautiful first home (did I mention that we had just finished completely renovating the bathroom?).  I was sad, but excited for new challenges and a fresh start.

Our new house was built in the early eighties and is about the same age as me.  I suppose we can bond over that, but otherwise my new house and I don't have much in common.  I'm not really into pink and green, dark paint colours, pink carpet, wallpaper or sponge painting... are you?

I am determined to make this house "us" and inject some style and fun into the decor.  I hope you will join me and follow along as I "design" it home.