Thursday, August 30, 2012

Free at Last!

Whoo hoo!

I spent the entire day on the telephone getting our wifi set up. There were four calls to my Internet provider (2 last night, 2 today, 50 minutes and 40 minutes on hold, respectively).

Finally someone informed me I had to manually configure the wireless router in order for it to work.

That was a long call, too, but thanks to Dan, in the Philippines, I'm now looking out the window as I type!

And now, behind me, where I used to work?

Almost as good as a free atlas.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tha Artwork Decision

I forget where I learned this, but I was introduced to the concept of decorating a room in "layers." Here's how they break down for me:

The first layer is the floor plan--and the furniture arranged according to it. The basics.

The second layer is the soft furnishings: the rug(s) and draperies.

The third is the decorative accents: artwork, pillows, and totkches.

It's an artificial and arbitrary division, of course. Along the way we have to decide on a colour scheme, how dark or light the room should be, the amount of contrast in the finishings. The latter has been the biggest challenge for me--she likes rooms that are light--but when it comes to individual objects, she likes them dark.

To help us out, we decided to find a piece of artwork to guide our decisions about everything involving colour, contrast and style. I would copy the piece if it was something I could do.

In all our wanderings, it came down to two choices. I photoshopped them into the best shot I had of the room with the sofa uncovered.

Halyard, from Ikea:

The Tulips from Home Outfitters:

We went back to visit the Tulips and she fell in love all over again, so with a 20% off coupon in hand, she purchased it.

I hung it yesterday.

Just for fun, I played around with the Ikea picture (which was only 5" larger in each direction and twice the price). I think I have the scale right:

I am so glad we went with the tulips!

While I hung the picture, Mom worked in the adjoining study, weeding out the bookcase.

Bookshelves, after:


We're working on a dressing area she has upstairs as well as one of the bedrooms. We also have to clear some room in the basement, too. Unfortunately, it isn't a "pretty" project, but it needs to be done.

Another project I hope to be able to show you soon is this hallway. It does not have a light. I forget why, but it was another screw up in the renovations she had done about ten years ago. I am hoping to put her collection of mirrors on the right hand wall to help bounce some light around.

That's what the carpet in the living room looked like before we pulled it up. It was in much worse shape.

It needs sanding and paint, though, first!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Looking for Art

Thanks so much for your input into the big rug decision! We have decided that we can't decide on a rug just yet. Instead, we've decided to see what we can find to inspire us.

Mom absolutely loved the artwork in Emily A. Clarke's living room. She said she felt it "made" the room--and tied it together. She's right on both counts. It is stunning.

It's also a terrific jumping off point.

The idea was to find a piece of abstract art that I could try to copy--on four canvases from Micheal's, arranged like a window.  That way we could get the size of the canvas without having to purchase such a large piece.

It would go on this wall:

So, I took Mom into Home Sense for the very first time! (Home Sense, I'm told, is something like Home Goods in the States.)

Everything we looked at was about three feet by three feet (about a meter by a meter) or a little larger.

We started out well:

But soon we were distracted by all the pretties:

This is enourmous, easily over a meter (40") in each direction.

I measured these in the store, but didn't write anything down! I believe this one is probably four feet wide, maybe?

We messed around with this one for a long time. It measures 40" by 40" (I meter x 1 meter).

This one is the same size as the one above.

Oddly enough, they are all streetscapes and skylines.

Her favourite one, though, was neither: We found it at Home Outfitters.

It's a gorgeous piece. I'm afraid it may not be big enough--we forgot to measure it, but I would guess it's about 2 1/2 feet wide and 3 feet tall. Will it dominate the wall? the room? I can't duplicate this one. If she wants it, she'll have to buy it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Oh...and we found a close match to the colour in EAC's living room, Flatland by Dutchboy. It's Cotton Duck by Sico Paints (Rona's house brand) and once we had the paint chip in hand it was easy to see why it was chosen to coordinate with a pinky-taupe sofa. Mom loves it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rug Picking

To help us figure out what we want for a rug, Mom and I picked up four runners at IKEA in one of each of the colours that the ADUM series comes in: off white, brown, red, and green.

First up, the brown:

The sofa is a hand me down from a dear (departed) friend of my mother's and it is in excellent condition. It has a definite pink cast which is bothering me no end.  Now, to me, the sofa clashes with both the floor and the feature wall.  So be it.  I figured we'd remedy the situation with a sofa slip cover. (That's a painter's canvas drop cloth, bleached, draped over the sofa.)

We are agreed that the chair in the foreground will be slip covered no matter what.

Next: the green rug.

Mom disliked it instantly.

On the other hand, her favourite colour is red:

As we're doing this she mentions that she already has an off-white slip cover. She had had it on her old sofa.

"Why did you take it off?"

"It got filthy."

(She's raising my 4 1/2 year old nephew, remember.)

Then, she says to me: "I like the colour of the sofa."

So, when we considered the off-white rug, we lifted the cover to see "what it would look like." She didn't like the cast of the rug, it really did look kind of dirty, so we didn't bother taking the cover all the way off.

I'd hoped that when she saw her living room this way, she'd recognise something close to her inspiration images and agree to putting the off-whiteslip cover back onto the sofa.

I can see it, but then I've been immersed in images almost my entire life. I took off my pink shirt and wrapped it around a pillow and propped it on the couch.

"This is what you can do, now," I said. "You can go in any direction."
She got it. But she wasn't convinced. She likes the current colour of the sofa. It's likely, too, she doesn't want to fuss with cleaning a slip cover, too. Fair enough.

Fortunately, there's Emily Clarke. Her living room is a good example of what to do with a pinky taupish sofa (if indeed I'm reading the colours right).

Ms. Clarke used "Flatland" by Dutchboy paint on her walls. I've done a google search to see which Benjamin Moore colour might be close. Unfortunately, nothing came up. (We don't have Dutchboy paint in Canada).

I think we're going back to the drawing board.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mom's Living Room, The Basics.

In early July, my Mom ripped out the twenty year old carpet in her living room and began the slow, laborious process of finishing her original 60 year old hard wood floor.

We developed a floor plan, started collecting inspirational images and began a major declutter of her house and garage.

Finally, as of yesterday, her living room is functional once again.

To help orient you, here is the floor plan we came up with, using her current furniture:
The window wall is to the left behind the sofa, the brown wall is at the top of the page, and the study is to the right and the TV wall is at the bottom of the plan.

When I arrived yesterday, this is what we had in the room:

Here is the gigantic 42" TV, which truth be told, really started the whole process. Currently, it is sitting on a cupboard and two cube units we gathered from a couple of different places in the house. I am hoping we can switch this out for a chest of drawers or something like this (though I seriously doubt we have room for it):

Moving along:

This is the "fireplace." It is actually an electric heater, cleverly "disguised" as a fireplace. Obviously, nothing is styled or decorated, yet. The room to the right is the study. We're taking out that carpet and doing the floor in the Spring.

These chairs are the perfect size for the room. Unfortunately, they are both in poor shape. That lamp in the middle will be getting a new shade, obviously. Oh, and that carpet? Mom purchased it from Value Village while I was on vacation. I have vetoed it but she didn't return it in time to get her money back, so it's staying until we can afford something I approve of.

And here is the window wall (with the entry to the left). I took down the old curtain rod and purchased, painted and installed the new one about a week ago.

Here's what the old one looked like--clearly not wide enough for the window! When I first installed it about 15 years ago, I hadn't yet learned about the stack back and the importance of clearing the window frame. (These curtains are intentionally short, by the way. We needed something on that window while Mom was working on the floor.)

I bought new 1 1/2" hemlock dowelling, 12 feet long.  I installed the new rod at the same height as the old one--but it was still quite tricky to get it right--(especially with a stucco ceiling). I can appreciate why there are professionals who do this job.

Mom got the great retro curtains from Value Village.

After work, my husband and son moved in the couch. Then, my husband and nephew promptly plopped down on it to watch a movie.

And so, the first, basic layer of the room is done. Another angle: (sorry for the blur and the water bottle on the mantel!)

We still have to discuss and decide on the colour scheme, the rug, and slipcovers. Then, there's the art work and pillows and accessories: the fun stuff!

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Re-vamped Lamps.

I am getting very cocky, these days. I'm begining to think that I can do almost anything DIY.

I wanted to convert this lamp from something which takes a downward shade to one that takes a shade with a harp. Why? Because I cannot find the former, but the latter abound.

It was too easy, really.

Here's what the shade looked like inside:

I'm only showing you what the harp looks like because at three of the four stores I went to to find one 9" high, I had to explain what I was looking for ("You know, the thing in the lamp that the shade sits on.") I didn't talk to anyone at the fourth store, or my percentage might have been 100%.

Walmart, by the way, carries a line by BH&G and their harps do not come with the bottom bit--the part the harp actually sits in. The lamps, however (also by BHG) do have it--but not the top part of the harp. (So, when you buy the lamp, you have to fork out an extra $4-$5 for the top part of the harp and a conversion project like this is impossible.)  Tacky marketing, if you ask me.

Moving on.

(Sorry for the blur. We were watching the Olympics while doing this little project.)

Off everything came.

Make sure you identify which wire goes with which screw as you dissamble everything. You don't want to mess with the circuit!
I don't know if you can see it, but I used a black marker on the screw and the wire coating.

There. The bottom bit which holds the harp is now in position.

Matching up the right wire with the right screw.

The top part of the harp is in place.

And so is the new lampshade!

For some reason, my Mom had two. We thought they were the same. They were similiar, both brass: but definitely not the same.

(Yes, that's dust on the wall! This was taken a mere 24 hours after Mom finished verathaning the floor.)

I just googled "swing arm lamps" and I'm now thinking these shades are actually too big for the lamps. What do you think?
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