Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Copy That: Navy Blue Sofas

I have been wanting to slipcover my couch since the very expensive upholstery job we had done about ten years ago started failing--about eight years ago.

Until recently, I'd always thought I'd just do white cotton. Tough to live with, perhaps, but easy enough to throw in the washing machine to clean. Or so I was told.

But I never quite believed it. If I had, I would not have procrastinated this project for years. First, by inclination, and now by necessity, I need a slipcover that can co-exist with convenience --and the dog.

Enter the navy sofa.

There is no doubt that velvet is da bomb. But it is hardly dog friendly. When I saw this room by Ralph Lauren in House Beautiful (Sept. 2014) with the sofa covered in indigo denim, I was sold.

design by Ralph Lauren in House Beautiful, September 2014, photography by William Abranowicz

of note: chiefly monochromatic with warm touches of cognac and pops of red

ratio of dark to light: 4::5. Medium to low contrast room.

I've been collecting images of rooms with lots of navy and dark blue. I want to see if I can figure out how light rooms and a dark sofa can happily co-exist.

 design by Lee Ann Thornton  source

of note: lots and lots of cognac, in the wood and the leather. Lots of pattern.

ratio of dark to light: 2::5 Mostly medium tones. The navy acts like punctuation. It is not the main event. Bold contrasting pattern livens up a fairly low contrast room.

design by Victoria Hagan source

of note: if not cognac, then a paler cousin, seagrass and other natural fibres are making an appearance.

ratio of dark to light: 1::5. Again, the dark is not the main event, though the coffee table is the darkest thing here. Light floor balances light walls. Medium toned sofas tip this into a low contrast room.

design by Orlando Soria and Emily Henderson source
of note: cognac and natural fibres. Sofa is the focal point. 

ratio of drk to light: 1::3. High contrast room.

 design by Victoria Hagan source

of note: a monochromatic room with unobtrusive touches of pink. 

Ratio of dark to light: 3::5. (Maybe 2::5? The floors, though covered by a rug, are dark.)
Very high contrast room. There is next to nothing in medium tones.

design by Nate Berkus. source

of note: colour scheme is navy, cream, grey and camel. (All the neutrals). Texture abounds.

ratio of dark to light: 1::5 Low contrast. (Lots of medium tones present.)

design by Klara Wesot(?) source

of note: the reds liven things up. Wall adds enviable texture.

ratio of dark to light: 2::5. High contrast.

design by Emily Henderson, source

of note: cognac! and red and white.

ratio of dark to light: 3::5? Lots of medium tones present. 

And I could not resist:

Rothko source
Ratio of dark to light: 3::1 

I think I prefer a high contrast room: though I do want to introduce some cognac in my upholstery--or in a natural fibre rug (though I'm not sure that's dog friendly?)  I love the pops of red. My ottoman/coffee table is darker than I would want it to be with a indigo or navy sofa. The left end-table is also too dark. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Accountability Post: Maintaining Momentum

I promised myself I could have a "day off" this schedule on days I worked more than six hours. That was Monday and Friday. 

All told, it was a pretty good week.

I didn't exercise as much as I wanted too (only once this week). I'll have to make that more of a priority next week.

I didn't do it alone, either. I enlisted help.

sorry about the blur, I was laughing at my son's reticence to admit to the world he does dishes.

I put the duvet back on the bed for winter and played around with the pillows for fun colour combinations.

It didn't take long to pick things up and put them away, but I had to be diligent. I won't lie: it took some effort. Reminding myself that I committed to taking as much as half an hour in the morning helped. A half hour on housework feels just doable. (And I likely didn't even spend that long on actual housework.)

I worked on a few projects this week. I did our taxes (finally!) and submitted them to a friend for filing. I ran some things I'd decluttered to Value Village (a charity shop). And, boom da da boom, after a false start on Sunday (where thirty degrees plus wind made putting on that final coat an impossibility. I had to sand it off and start over later in the week) I finished painting the kitchen cabinet doors! I asked my husband to reattach them for me.

 I like it! I was so afraid I wouldn't, but as I'd hoped, painting the small lower cabinets a nice dark colour (Dragonfly by Benjamin Moore in Advance High Gloss) helps them balance against those massive uppers. (Ugh. That yellow has to go.)

I take it back. It wasn't a good week--it was a great week. I took a few hours, again, on Saturday morning and vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, and mopped the floors. So, we have a clean slate for the upcoming week. It is going to be a busy one with the launch of the One Room Challenge. (October 2nd). I am so excited.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Finally: Getting It Gone.

In the Spring, I embarked on an ambitious program to get rid of a certain number of items every single day during the month of March. The number of items was to be the same as the number of the day: so on the 3rd of March, I got rid of 3 things. On the 29th, 29 things.

Now according to the rules of the "game", you are supposed to actually take those items out of the house each day. I did not. I let them gather in piles, I worked on several days at once, and when it was all over, had a list of places to take things to really, finally, get rid of them.

The exercise both took over my life and overwhelmed me--and there are still a lot of boxes in my garage. In short, this way of decluttering really didn't work for me: and that's OK.

Much more successful for me is to declutter organically--as just a part of whatever I'm doing. So, as I decorate the mantel and take down a thrift store painting, I decide whether to keep it--or let it go. When I do the seasonal clothing swap out, I assess each garment and decide what to do with it.

This week's decluttered items were gathered like that. But, as usual, it took me a long while to get some of them actually out of the house.

This pile was from my closet purge in June--and then I did another closet purge a little while ago. The clothes sat upstairs, outside my bedroom door for about two weeks.

This stuff here in the basement "donation station" is mostly from my daughter--and her closet purge in June!

Finally, I got it all together in one pile--but it was already dark by eight pm.

But no matter. It is all gone now! My house and I feel several pounds lighter.

 (Those are the brown drapes I took down out of the living room this spring. I haven't decided what to do with them. Meh. Progress, not perfection, right?)

Boom da da boom.

The Kitchen Project (To Do List)

Some time ago, I decided to change up the kitchen.

In truth, I wanted to glam it up. I wanted to be like the big kids and have a fabulous internet-worthy kitchen. (Whatever that might be.)

And frankly, after 14 years, I was ready for a change.

So here is what I have left to do to complete this little makeover:

1) Finish painting the cabinet doors

2) Re-install the cabinet doors

3) Sew window treatments. Either roman blinds or curtains.

4) Clean, spackle and paint walls. (This would require actually picking a colour, of course.)

5) Re-paint the kitchen chairs.

6) Do something about my poor kitchen table.

7) Build a banquette into the corner?

8) Raise the microwave shelf.

Wonder how long it will take me?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Copy That.

A blogger I have been reading for a long time--Darlene, over at Fieldstone Hill, has this great series she calls "Ditto." The idea--and it is a great one--is to pick an image of an interior and identify what elements you would copy.

When I saw this image in the September issue of House Beautiful, I was immediately drawn to it. I have been looking on-line and have not found it anywhere, so I scanned my copy and uploaded it.

side note: This is an odd thing. It is treated by HB as an editorial: but the "rooms" (and there were three of them) were created and styled by the stylists at Ralph Lauren (and I quote) "to illustrate their innovative paint line" (which my workplace had set up just that day!) So, really, it's an ad.  An aditorial?

Here is the one I fell in love with:
photography by William Abranowicz

What would I ditto?

1) That navy sofa. Apparently it is denim. Works for me.

2) All the cognac--in the leather and the wood.

3) The tall stump. Love it!

4) Can you see the floor clearly? Narrow slats of wood. Various shades of rough, weathered grey--and then, interspersed like the raisins in an oatmeal cookie, little planks stained blue and dark golden honey. Our floor is absolutely on its last legs. This looks like such a fabulous re-invention. It's be a lot of work. Would I tire of it too soon--or would I love it forever?

5) Layering one rug over the other.

6) The weathered paint job on the side table.

7) The old "wavy glass" window panes (but maybe not the paint, lol.)

8) That chain and wood slab end table in the foreground. Awesome.

See anything you'd copy?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Clean House = A Clear Mind


the kitchen table: a project all by itself

I cleaned the house.

Of course, I was expecting someone.

They didn't show, so I was left feeling somewhat deflated--and even more anxious about the state of the house than when I'd started. It stole my joy. How dumb is that?

Does it ever happen to you that once you start cleaning, you start to see all the dirt? all the things left undone that need doing? I decluttered the table, changed the burnt out bulb, turned on the lamp and bang: there it is. That's one filthy table top staring back at me. I vaccuum the rug in the hallway--and suddenly I can see all the smudges on the walls and windows! I am sure it happens to everyone.

the desk: to be reset every night before bed

So, instead of feeling like I could relax on my day off, after cleaning my house for three hours, I felt like there was so much more to be done.

But, you know what?

It's Ok.

Last night, I sat at the computer after working late, knowing I needed to get the house ready for the impending visit and my mind was in a fog. I could not think clearly about what I had to do. There just seemed so much of it. I hardly knew where to begin. Making a list, my normal starting place, would have made me far too anxious before bed-time. All I could do last night was ask my son to do some of the dishes and pick up and put away my clothes in my bedroom.

the hallway, as seen from the front door. I still want to pant those yellow bits.

This morning, even before I put on my slippers, I made my bed. That propelled me into the bathroom where I realised I needed cleaner before I could do anything. No matter. I started in the kitchen by filling up the sink while I prepared my coffee and then moved immediately to the living room to de-clutter the dishes and so on.

I just kept moving with a rough list in my head.

It's a clean slate.

why yes, the living room does look at little different from the last time you saw it.

And now, not only can I see the dirt, but I can see my way clear to doing something about it--and all the projects still left to be done. I can make a list. Actually, I've made more than one.

bullet journal still going strong

My goal this week is to spend one hour a day on all the things which need doing (except for the two days I work more than seven hours). I may split that up into two half hour sessions or do it all at once. We'll see how the day goes. For accountability, I'll post an after shot of the above page when the week is done.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Five Minutes

I needed a fork clean for my lunch to take to work.

I had no time to do dishes.

So I challenged myself to do dishes for five minutes and five minutes only.

This is what I accomplished.

Sometimes you gotta do what you can and say "good enough."

I m sorry I haven't been able to return as fully to this blog as I wanted to. I am still struggling with keeping my home clean and tidy while I am working. I have also recently decided to put prioritize working out over house work-- so that won't help.

Most of all, I am really embarrassed that I am still struggling.
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