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#61596 - 01/23/02 08:16 PM The Art of Making a Home
harper Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 597
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

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given that we define art quite broadly here, i thought i would throw this out there: what have you done or what are you contemplating doing to make your living space a "home" -- furnishings, decorations, paint, wallcoverings, flooring, plants, artwork, window treatments, etc. anything goes. tell us about it, ask questions, vent, etc. i'll start off with one problem and one thing i'm very happy with.

i just moved into a new home in november, and my current hang up (no pun intended) is window treatments. i am totally paralyzed about choosing these. some of the windows have perfectly servicable blinds that blend in well enough with my decorating tastes, but others are completely bare and really need to be covered. for some reason i feel like this is an irreversable decision, even though, rationally, i know it isn't, and i don't even know where to start.

on a more positive note, i love paint and am thrilled with the rooms i painted before i moved in. the living room and foyer are a medium colonial grey. (and let me give huge props to my brother for helping me with the painting -- without his ladders and skills this room never would have gotten painted. the living room has a very tall cathedral ceiling and the foyer is two stories high. he rocks!) my dining room is a fairly dark forest green (called "wet grass"), that makes me happy every time i look at it. but the best is my bedroom -- three walls and the back of a plant shelf are a subdued mauve/purple and the contrasting wall (in front of the plant shelf) is a deep plum. i *love* it.

your turn...

[This message has been edited by harper (edited January 23, 2002).]

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#61597 - 01/24/02 05:37 PM Re: The Art of Making a Home
kari
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/03/01
Posts: 129
Loc: Orange Co NY

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we've just tried to finish up a big round of improvements to our apartment - it's all about making a HOME this year, you're right.

* we put up shelves, etc. with liberal use of wall anchors and no worries about the future,
* we painted the downstairs bathroom LAVENDER. it is so. nice.
* we painted the upstairs and very tiny bathroom white all over, a nice semi-gloss so it's sparkly clean.
* we hung one of those huge metal star things with the holes in it from the ceiling, it holds a whole string of christmas lights and is very nice at night.
* I hung (ahem, glued...) a canopy above my bed - nothing serious, just very simple sheer white/shimmery fabric.
* and the masterpiece.... we COVERED THE COUCH! it was a freebie special, very ugly and tweedy, and part of a sectional so it was a supremo pain, but we covered it in denim! It's more than a cover, it's more of a reupholstering job. and it was terrible. I'm never going to do that again.

So now we have a suitable apartment, we just have to figure out how to use the space best - it's really very big, so I see some rearraingments in our future. And, some entertainment!

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#61598 - 01/24/02 05:57 PM Re: The Art of Making a Home
SusyQ
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 109
Loc: Seattle

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Great topic! As far as window treatments are concerned, I, who am a complete dunce at DIY home projects, nevertheless managed to pick up some hardware at Pier 1 and drape a sheer scarf over my bedroom window, to great effect.

harper, I may be asking you painting questions later this year. My apartment desperately needs to repainted, but I've never done it before and I kind of don't know where to start, other than going to Home Depot and throwing myself on someone's mercy.

If anyone could answer this now, though, I'd be grateful. I am looking to buy a new couch this year. A full-size one. I want it to be all cushy and comfortable but also fabulous--preferably a dark red Art Deco-style piece. I've done a Google search and looked at a numbr of on-line furniture stores to get ideas, and I'm not seeing anything close. Anyone know a good source for that kind of furniture?

[This message has been edited by SusyQ (edited January 24, 2002).]

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#61599 - 01/25/02 09:15 AM Re: The Art of Making a Home
blithe spirit
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 513
Loc: Toronto, Ontario

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I love decorating and redecorating. For me a home is all about colour and about putting up all the things you love around you. I actually like to keep my walls white and my furniture neutral and then go crazy with colour with the curtains and big, comfy pillows and lots of framed artwork and old record albums and posters and photographs on the walls. Wherever there's space between bookshelves of course. Is there anything better than books to make a home cozy? I think not.
Recently I had great fun redecorating my bathroom. I found this great white and hot pink shower curtain that somehow reminded me of Charles Rennie Mackintosh pink so I just went with a scheme of white, pink and black (it was a rather drab olive green and dirty yellow before) and I smile everytime I go into my bathroom now. It's definately worth the effort and expense of making your home comfortable and an expression of you.
The other thing I love doing is tabletops. I love getting an unfinished table top (IKEA has very cheap ones) and staining them in different patterns. Or even the cheap melamine tables - with a good primer, you can paint right over them. My bedside table was a unstained wooden square top with thin black legs. I painted it a warm vanilla yellow colour, stamped out some of my favourite poems in brown, put a crackle glaze over it and then rubbed raw umber into the cracks to antique it. I love the effect (when you can see it under the piles of books I have waiting to be read)

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#61600 - 01/25/02 05:38 PM Re: The Art of Making a Home
harper Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 597
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

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that poem table sounds awesome! i've only stained a piece of furniture once and it wasn't anything elaborate -- a plain wood bookcase that i made dark green -- but, to this day, it makes me smile when i see it. i've been thinking about doing more furniture, but haven't made the leap yet. how did you stamp the poems on the table?

susyq, i'd be happy to field any painting questions you may have. i'm no expert, but i do enjoy doing it. i love the immediate results and the satification of knowing that i did it.

[This message has been edited by harper (edited January 25, 2002).]

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#61601 - 01/25/02 10:35 PM Re: The Art of Making a Home
october
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 164
Loc: Alberta, Canada

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Two words, people. 'Trading Spaces'. Gadzooks, I love that show.

I am constantly doing something to my house. We have an 80-year-old farm house that was moved in to town in the seventies. The house is so old the bathroom is an addition, about three inches lower than the kitchen floor to which it is attached. It's like someone came by and stapled a shed to my house.

To make my house a home, I have lots and lots of pictures. I'm a photographer by trade, so there are tons of black and whites all over the house. I also use deep colours. I find them comforting and inviting. I just painted the spare room dark green and put down new hardwood-looking laminate flooring. I even made curtains! (Just learned to sew) My living room is an adobe colour. I did this really cool thing in the kitchen with barn board that I turned into wainscotting. I was on *fire* all summer.

I'm heading to Calgary tomorrow to paint a friend's bathroom, and another friend called and asked me to come up and do something to her daughter's room. I love painting.

harper, if you want window treatments on the cheap, but still snazzy, find a store that sells sari fabric. There should be a remnant bin where you can get end of the roll stuff for cheap-cheap, and the materials are all so beautiful. I got enough to make 10 pillows, two curtain panels and drapes for my spare room. (It's like Aladdin's palace in there.) for 20 bucks, all different designs. So pretty. You can go to any hardware store and get a curtain rod that fits and drape your new fabric over it, like SuzyQ did with her scarf. I'm telling you, two metres of pure silk for three bucks!

This may sound odd, but wood is a really nice accent. Natural wood or a nice stain. It brings that whole 'life' thing in to a room, very warm. A nice table or shelves or even just some wooden IKEA frames. Dude, I can hook you up with some barn board. :-)

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#61602 - 01/27/02 11:44 PM Re: The Art of Making a Home
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

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Heh. I've been working on this whole "home" thing lately. We've lived in this house for almost a year and a half and it wasn't until two weeks ago I started hanging art on the walls. See, we're planning to refinish the hardwoods and take the awful dark fake wood paneling off the living room wall, plus we want to paint because all the non-wood walls are white. So I never hung anything because I was waiting for the money/time/energy to redo the walls.

But I got tired and lonely in my bare walled house. So I hung up my grandfather's plaque that's a reproduction of the one that was left on the moon (he worked on the Apollo program and his name is in the capsule). I hung my favorite fish painting in the bedroom. And I started hanging the Micronesian woven straw things. We're still planning to paint etc., but we haven't had the money to do it and we're both so opinionated it's going to take a while before we agree on colors.

We want to paint the four bedrooms in the colors of the seasons. So far I think we've agreed on the Autumn room. The walls will be a cafe au lait/toast color, and we plan to put up moulding and paint it green, orange, and yellow. Actually, that's my plan. I think Mr D wants red, orange, and yellow. We'll see. I have a very hard time visualizing these things, so he has to work pretty hard to convince me.

I wish we had money. Our house was built in 1950 and still has the original wiring (which hasn't yet been overloaded by our four-computer network, but I'm sure it'll happen). We need to replace the plumbing. The yard has never been maintained, and we want to take out the rhododendrons and put in bamboo. The bathroom is PINK. Try finding a pink toilet seat! The old one broke, and we had to replace it with a grey one because the pink one was a) the wrong color and b) over $100.

Window treatments are another area I'm lacking. We have blue blinds of the very cheapest sort in the living room, and all the other ones are that lovely taupe color. I want curtains, but we have to paint first. And I always go for the plainest possible look. I don't wear patterns, and I don't buy patterns, so finding something we both like that is plain enough for me and interesting enough for him is going to be a challenge.

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#61603 - 01/28/02 09:32 AM Re: The Art of Making a Home
blithe spirit
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 513
Loc: Toronto, Ontario

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Harper, re: the stamping of the table. I bought a simple set of letter stamps (they were about 30pt big) and a brown stamp pad and did them all one letter by one letter. It was very time consuming but worth it I think. For puncuation, I also found a brown marker that was similar in tone although now I think of it, you write out all the poems with a brown marker anyways. (I have very illegible handwriting). Have a selection of poems of all different lengths so you can slip a small one into small places.
Have fun!

Oh and again I envy the British chicklits who have Changing Places (the British version of Trading Spaces) on the telly all the time. We get the odd season, probably about two years behind sometimes. I like it better than the American version, or the Canadian (The Decorating Challenge) because I think the designers are better, definately funnier and really, a modern suburban townhouse can't really compete with decorating a 17th century manor or a lighthouse or a farmhouse in France.

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#61604 - 04/28/02 05:07 PM Re: The Art of Making a Home
harper Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 597
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

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bumping this up for you trading spaces fanatics out there (and everyone else). that show really makes me want to start some projects around the house. if only i had amy wynn to build things for me...

i have made no progress on my window treatment dilemma. actually, i've made negative progress because i found some shades that i really like but that i can't really use anywhere in my house.

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#61605 - 04/29/02 12:30 PM Re: The Art of Making a Home
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

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I love this topic! I was reading along through and actually was shocked to see I'd posted something. We got the dark panelling off the living room wall back in February. It makes the room so much better! Even with the yellow contact cement and holes from pulling off the panels it looked better. A day of sanding and a day of spackel and then white paint. Not enough, and it doesn't match, but it looks SO much better.

I've got an unstained oak bookcase I've been meaning to stain for ten years. I'm thinking I'll paint it along with the three-drawer dresser. White with green drawers/shelves. I'm also thinking of writing my favorite quotations down the sides or on the top. Not sure how to do calligraphy with a paintbrush. Maybe if I use a clear stain over, so the ink doesn't run? Hmm. If it's taken me ten years to get to the point where I want to do something, it might be a bit ambitious to think I'll actually paint, write, and stain. But I'll keep thinking about it.

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