Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“Sailing 'round the world in a dirty gondola oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!” - Bob Dylan

This project was fun for me because I got to work with my Mom on it. This is the guest room at my parent's house. It is on the third level, down the hall with the two kids' rooms and a bathroom. We chose this room to be the guest room because it has a large window with an amazing view of the woods in the their backyard.
My mom had a few concerns with this room:
1. She needed to be able to also use it as well, They couldn't "loose" a room for the occasional guest to stay in.
2. It was too feminine before. We needed to make it so a single male could stay over and feel comfortable. But it also needed to be suitable for my mom to use as an office.
3. We basically had NO budget for this room. With four kids and a household to obtain, we decided to make it work with spending as little money as we could.

So what theme should we work with? I had some old Coca-Cola decorations from a room in another house when I was in high school. Is that a good theme for a guest room/office? Well, we don't have much else to work with, so Yes! What colors do we have that we can use? Brown, tan, white, and red. Perfect!

These are the best before pictures I could find. One wall was a blue, while the others were a heather grey. The trim and ceiling are white, along with the fan blades in the center of the ceiling.The large window is on the far right wall from the off-angled door frame. The closet is to the left of the door. The room has always been an office for my mom, as well a guest room and at one point my room when I moved back for a little while. I do know, from living with the colors of the blue, grey, the yellow in the drapery and the large canvas of a soft picnic scene, that I was even overwhelmed with how much it did not flow and did not feel cozy.

First of all, the walls needed to be painted. We had the Sarsaparilla Brown from my previous room, as well as an ample amount of light tan from somewhere else in the house. But these two colors were no good for the neutral look we were going for. So, we added some of the dark brown to the lighter tan. (Add just a little at first. Darker colors take over the lighter colors really easily. Just keep adding a little until you get your desired color.) This gave us the perfect sandy-neutral brown we were looking for. It also gave us enough to paint all four walls with two coats. We didn't use any taping, we just used a smaller brush and got close enough to not get the molding. It took maybe two hours from set-up to finish and let dry.

 1. These side tables and basket may look familiar from my room that I posted earlier. I gave a lot of things to the guest room since I was moving out of state. The bed in this room now has two side tables. There are matching baskets on either side so the guest can put anything in them, being that there is not enough space on top of the little tables. The comforter and white pillow cases were used in the guest room before. And the red pillows were from a room I had before.
2. This corner holds the desk and chair also from my previous room. It also is the home of a cabinet that is being used as gift wrapping and other crafty assortments.
3. This is my Grandpa's old mirror. Again, mirrors let light reflect as well as take up wall space. This mirror is on the left wall with the closet. The theme of the Sarsaparilla goes perfectly with the old Coca-Cola theme.
4. These paper lights hanging above the desk are also from my old room. With the lights from the fan off, they create a low glow. The lighting is important for making someone feel comfortable in their environment after a long day of traveling. The shear drapery was used on my old closet in my earlier post of my room.

You'll need a headboard. It instantly adds a center point to the room. We had an old wood board in storage that we cleaned off and sanded a little. We mounted it right to wall, right above the edge of the bed. The pillows rest on it. Above that is a large canvas. This canvas WAS the old one with the soft picnic scene on it. TA-DA! Not any more. I was more excited about this piece then anything else, it also took the longest to finish. I painted the whole thing with the Sarsaparilla Brown I already had. My mom and I decided to center around the word "enjoy" with the Coca-Cola theme. Enjoy + Travelers = 5 different languages. We got deep red and white sample bottles of paint from the hardwear store. We printed the words in different fonts then sketched them on the canvas and began.

Things to remember:

1. If you are needing to combine two different functions (guest room + office) make sure that both parties feel comfortable with the theme.

2. Like in this room, if you are using it more then the guests, make it a get-away for you as well. It's your hard work, in your house... Let it be your space too.

3. Think about the guest. They are probably tired from traveling, they are in a different area, in a family's home, and would love nothing more then to have a few minutes or hours in comfortable seclusion. Leave some towels, maybe a robe, some bottled water or juices or sodas, maybe a snack or candy, offer to do their laundry, or show them where it is at, and then let them be.

4. If you have clutter or personal photos at your work space in the guest room, clean and remove these things before they arrive. The guest does not want to be remided they are in someone else's home. This is the one thing you can offer them (besides a good dinner) when you are hosting a traveler.

With the help and approval of my wonderful Mom, we transformed this room into something so much more then it was before. AND, I might add, with only buying two sample paint bottles. In the end, no matter how much $$ you spend or don't spend, or how much help you get, you just need to make sure you Love Your Space.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” -Epicurus

This is my old room. It was TINY! It was located in the basement with a side closet that was more of a storage underneath the stairs. I wish I had more pictures of it, but this is the beginning phase of wanting to show the things I have tried.

Two before pictures:
All four walls were a pale green. It made me feel sick. Just the green of how you feel when you get sea sick is what I thought of. I had asked my landlord if I could paint neutral colors on the walls, and I'd be more then glad to paint it back when I had moved out (she liked the colors enough where I didn't have to paint back, but I did cover the holes I put in the walls and painted over those.)

I was working with a single bed (it was the only size that would fit with enough room to walk around, and I am a small person, so I didn't mind too much. If I were working with a couple or someone who was attached to thier full or queen, I could have made it work.)
I needed to just move my things in quickly so I threw it all in there then took the next two weeks to get it all "zen-ed" out.
I was starting a new life, so I couldn't bring in my old bedding and colors (which were black and red.)
I went out right away to find some colors I liked. The colors are the first thing to go over and decide on. And I do believe, always in a bedroom, that the bed is the focus. I was on a "new move" budget so Wal-Mart was my friend for the bedding. I would love to have better quality and choices from Urban Outfitters or Anthropology, but that's something I can invest in.

My first layout plans. I know they are ghetto looking. I also know there are programs and more accurate ways to figure out a layout to a room. I do like to use my pencil and paper. I do like to open up the creativity part of it more then the logistics and numbers. I know that I will eventually work my way to better technological planning, but this is what works for me now.
I drew up the shape of the room, added furniture that I already had and that maybe I could keep an eye out for. Eventually I used a TV stand from the house that no one was using. I got a corner desk from Staples on sale for $100, and a brown leather chair for $50. I also got from Wal-Mart two side tables with shelves for about $40. I went into Lowe's and grabbed a few sample color swatches to take home before actually getting the paint. Putting them all together and looking at the layout gives you little better idea of what the potentials of the room could be like. If you decide the colors aren't working or something is off, go back and switch a color shade or two, or even all of them, until YOU feel good about your choices. It is your room and your $$, so make it how you want it.

Two after pictures:
1. I hung my longboard and snowboard up on my wall with 2 hooks on each side of the boards. Mine weren't very pretty looking, but you could find some at any hardwear store. This is good storage as well as a good motivator and encourager for the activities you love and the seasons they bring.
2. There was no door to the little closet I had. I layered two shear curtains of different colors (one cream and one tan) that I picked up as singles at Wal-Mart. This kept the "clutter" from the closet (though that was organized as well) from the view being in the room.
3. I went to this awesome fabric store and got scraps of fabric on sale that had brown, tan, cream, and turquoise in the designs. I sewed them to fit the two windows that were in the room. They seperated in the middle so that they could be drawn to both sides of the window. I sewed the two different types together that way because of the limited amount of fabric that was still available. "Make it work!" (Thanks Tim Gunn.)
4. Mirrors create the illusion of a bigger room, as well as letting the light coming in from the windows or lamps in the room bounce off and create more light. I got these three mirrors from the Dollar Store. They are cheap, but they are also just hanging against the wall, and served thier purpose well. Putting the first one that high up on the wall allows the eye to go up that far with it, making it feel like the ceiling is higher then it is.
5. I like pillows, obviously. I like my bed to make me feel like I am in a princess' bed, because, ladies, we are all princesses. I had this white downed comforter from years before, and brought it out from storage when I had to go back to a single bed. The white creates a pop of color off all the neutrals of the walls. I found the accent pillows at Wal-Mart and went off of those colors for the colors of the sheets (one set of burnt orange and one set of brown.) The accent pillows are two different patterns, which is very in now. Stripes and a floral design work well with being feminine but not too girly. Then the pillow covers were red, orange, and brown. Light throws at the end of the bed are always good for cuddling up to read a book or watch a movie without getting in the bed and calling it a day.

 1. I origanally got these hanging paper lanterns for my mom at Peir One, but she was kind enough to let me have them for my new room. I hung them from the ceiling with push-pins. A staple gun would work well, along with the clear, plastic hooks that have adhesive backs.
2. The brown I put on the one far back wall was a Sarsaparilla Brown (which I liked because I had an old Sarsaparilla mirror I hung above my desk, though I dont have a picture for it, from my grandpa.) I chose a dark color despite the small room because I just like dark colors. Makes it feel more intimate I think, and it is followed with the contrasting tan. Dark colors usually take more coats, so be sure to get enough. It is easier to see any color differences or places you missed, so know that when you get a dark color, you are signing up for a few coats.
3. I put the two side tables on each side of the bed. They were good for holding candles and a glass of wine. I like that they had a small surface because then they couldn't get cluttered. The shelves held all my books and magazines. Since I had no other shelf space in my tiny room, this was perfect to store these things. Plus it displays your interests and is out in the open to remind you, "Hey! You haven't read me in a while...how about now?"
4. The tan that I put on the other three walls was "Oops" paint from Lowe's. It was all $6 for a gallon and since the walls were small, it lasted the two coats I needed. I hate plain white walls (unless it is the accent color.)
5. I am a big fan of mixed frames. They are easy to find, paint, and hang in a "cluttered" manner. The ones I have on this wall have been collected over the past few years from Hobby Lobby, the Dollar Store, and Goodwill. If you find a cool design but ugly colored frame, paint it. If you find wierd shapes, grab them, you will always find a place to use them. I have pictures from when I was little, ones I have edited with quotes on them from vacations, of course ones with friends, and my numbers in races I have done. The race numbers keep me motivated to get some more up on the wall. A good way to make sure that even the "cluttered" look is balanced is to get large butcher paper (or even tape papers together) and lay out all your frames and trace them when you find a way that fits them all together. Then put the paper up on the wall and mark the centers of each frame on the wall. Refer to your "map" when hanging the frames.

Lucky for me, there were these two windows in the basement that did let a lot of good light and a nice breeze in. There are basement rooms that feel like a dungeon or warehouse, which are difficult to work with the lighting, but it is still workable and can be manipulated.

That's my first documented room that I started from almost scratch, made my layout, shopped around, did the dirty work, and enjoyed every second in MY quiet oasis. I did have a corner desk with a large mirror, computer, office supplies, etc. (I unfortunantly did not get a picture before I moved out.)

I hope this made sense and helped motivate a few to get cozy in their small spaces...because you need to Love Your Space.

“Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.” -Rita Mae Brown

I am finding that my mind is healthier all around when I include my creative side on a regular basis. Getting into, and voicing my interest in decorating has put a smile on my face and paint on my walls.

I have found that you usually know you'd like to put love into the rooms you live in, you just have a difficult time deciding and then getting out that sand paper and that hammer. If you are afraid of a permanent change, and not liking it or moving, that's why there is no end to the coats of paint you can put on a wall, and why they invented wall putty.

It is hard to say, "I am a purple/black girl, how do I make that a room?" or "I'd like my guest room to be gender-neutral and functional, what does this look like in MY home, and not in a hotel?" or "I just moved into an apartment on my own and am on a budget and have my great-grandmother's furniture...Help!"

Relax! A lot more people are in those positions right now then you think. You have the freedom to change as little and as much as you'd like. You put a lot into your life and the adventures that you go on on a day to day basis. You have a job, maybe more then one. You have kids. You have classes. You have load after load of laundry. You have roomates who don't clean. You have demands every day. And it is hard to balance it all sometimes. But at the end of the day, you come home. At the end of the day, you try to unwind and regroup. I believe it is so important to take care of yourself. And I do think one of the easiest ways to center and relax is if you get the place where most activities are centered around, the way that you want. The way that shows a little of who you are. The way that let's you know WHY you work so hard, and why you settled down there, and why you want to have your friends over to your place.

I have been blessed to have been able to paint every room I have lived in from deep reds to neutrals, and changed my bedding color scheme with nearly every move. So these decissions and budgets and garage sale huntings and bargain shoppings and crawl-space diggings are familiar and comfortable to me.

This is about the spaces I have helped with, started, worked on, and changed. It's about seeing options all around us, and making them ours. It's about interests and others' ideas that inspire me. It's about the shopping. It's about the comfort. It's about you. You are living  (relaxing, conversing, cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, hosting, working, wrapping presents, working out, reading a book, getting ready for work) in these spaces every single day. Let's make it yours. Let's Love Your Space.