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toddler to little girl room: stencils are the new wallpaper!

As we wrote about the last week, our decorating brains have been hurting trying to make decisions that would last a decade in our girl Isadora’s room. We’ve been transforming it from toddler cute to something that she will (hopefully) love even as a teen, step-by-step. After choosing a paint color — Benjamin Moore’s lovely Beacon Gray — we decided to spruce up two of her walls with a pattern.

We called in a ton of gorgeous samples from wallpaper sites and were amazed at the variety. From the colorful to the clever, the choices seem endless. We kept being drawn to the simplest of patterns with classic vibes, and soon realized that what we wanted was a very basic repeat that was the same tone and color as the walls. We started exploring the idea of stencils — which at first had us cringing with thoughts of 80′s style flowers everywhere. After looking around we were pleasantly surprised to find that stencils have come a long a way! They are some very lovely patterns available, and after watching a few YouTube videos, Chad became confident that he could pull this off in Isadora’s room.

We went with Julia Allover from Cutting Edge Stencils. One kit is $53 and comes with one large repeat plus a top stencil for hard to reach spots near the ceiling. The nice thing about the “wallpaper” look is that you don’t have to worry about being perfect. It’s nice to show some slight variation in the pattern rather than perfectly straight lines.

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To create this look, we simply bought a small can of the next darker shade in the Beacon Gray spectrum – November Skies. In addition to the paint, you will need painter’s masking tape, paper towels, a foam roller, a tray and a (possibly) level. (A level is more important is you are using a more precise pattern than ours.

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The video below is what we used to guide us. The secret is to keep your brush nearly dry. After you load it with paint, dry it off on paper towels before touching the wall. Also, after filling in the stencil, wait for it to be nearly dry before removing to move. That way you minimize smears on the stencil itself. Make sure the previous painted section is dry before overlapping it with the plastic stencils.

One word of caution: Corners are super tricky. Chad used a stencil brush for those spots. Save the smallest spots — like over a door — for the very end, in case you need to cut the stencil down to fit.

The whole project took about five hours and cost less than $200 in total. We’ve never wallpapered anything before — but something tells us this was much less expensive and complicated.

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Got any questions? Leave a comment and we’ll do our best to get back to you!

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steal this idea: asian plate wall

Sometimes you find decor inspiration when you are least expecting it. The other night, we ducked inside Noodie’s on 9th Ave in NYC for a quick pad thai before a concert (not just any concert, but Leonard Cohen at Radio City). Faced across from this wall full of gorgeous Asian bowls, I could hardly concentrate on my chopsticks. Going up at least 20 feet high, there were about 175 bowls of various sizes drilled onto the wall. The large ones were statement pieces, the kinds you’d use to impress guests with a whole sea bass; others were standard issue rice bowls that are about 99 cents each at Pearl River. To make an impact like that, you’d have to quite a collection of your own, but I think 10 to 15 plates would be a good place to start. The key is to have a palette of colors that work well together — here it was a mix of browns and blues with some pops of red. To adhere to the wall, you’ll need an electric drill with a diamond head drill bit, a C-clamp, spare wood pieces, masking tape, a friend, and patience. Here’s how it’s recommended over at Ehow:

How To Drill A Ceramic Plate To The Wall:
1. Cover the place on the ceramic plate where you want to drill a hole with a strip of masking tape, then mark the exact point for the hole with a pencil dot on the tape. The masking tape will prevent the drill bit from slipping when you begin drilling though it.

2. Place a flat piece of scrap wood on the surface underneath the plate. Position a G-clamp around the wood and plate, place a small piece of scrap wood between the top of the clamp and plate, then screw the clamp closed to hold the plate firmly in place.

3. Fit your drill with a diamond bit of the appropriate size for the hole you want to drill. Set the drill to a speed of 100 to 200 rpm.

4. Recruit a friend or family member to spray the drill bit with cold water as you work when you are ready to drill through the plate. This prevents the bit from overheating.

5. Position the drill bit over the pencil mark on the masking tape and hold it at a perfect right angle to the plate. Begin to drill slowly and steadily without applying any additional pressure. Don’t be tempted to speed up or press down as you work, just take your time and let the drill bit do all the work.

6. Stop drilling as soon as you feel that you have gone all the way through the plate and into the scrap wood underneath it. Un-clamp the plate, wipe it clean with a soft rag and remove the masking tape.

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get re-energized by design!

This is a sponsored post.

What is Re-Energized by Design, you ask? Well, it is an awesome web series that Shelterrific is excited to be participating in — produced by Puget Sound Energy, it’s all about incorporating energy efficiency into home design. The challenge is this: six teams of homeowners are paired with design coaches and together they compete to re-design 5 rooms with a focus on saving energy with a small budget. Cameras are documenting each leg of the challenge, and with every room one team gets the boot! The prizes are great: a home full of new LED and CFL lightbulbs from GE, a full suite of kitchen and laundry appliances from Frigidaire, and $5000.

I was fortunate to be paired with the Bedford family, who are just delightful. Kristen and her husband Slade have a great contemporary house, fun design aesthetic, and are really willing to completely put themselves into every challenge. This experience for me has literally been re-energizing to me as well, ending a year-long creative rut and getting me back into blogging and crafting and having fun again. I can’t wait to share what we’ve created together.

But as of today, I won’t have to wait much longer, as the first webisode is available at 6am PST at the Re-Energized By Design site — this week’s is an introduction to all the contestants. And stay tuned each week as we reveal another webisode. Also be sure to go to the Re-Energized page on Facebook, where you can enter to win a new Frigidaire appliance like those featured in the challenge!

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vintage chairs ready for the dip-effect

Could someone buy these chairs please? They’re on sale now at Three Potato Four, a set of four for $165. They are the perfect style and size to create the faux “dip” look we love so much. Why don’t you buy them and fix them up yourself? We would, but we just don’t have the room!

Click here for some color inspiration on how you can transform them into something mod and wonderful.

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holiday how-to: making angel noodle ornaments

The other day my resourceful husband, who’s also an extremely hands-on dad, saw a link on our local Baristanet site that gave instructions on how to make noodle ornaments — cute little angels made from different kinds of noodles to hang on your tree or give as gifts. Apparently it’s a Swedish tradition, but in our house, noodles are always on the menu du jour. We had most of what we needed already in our cabinets: Glue, a Sharpie, paint brushes, string, farfalle, elbows, rigatoni. A trip to Michael’s and we got the rest of the supplies — wooden beads, white gloss paint, metallic scrapbook paper.

This project took several days to complete and is a little tricky, even for nimble fingers. You have to be patient and wait for the glue to dry before adding the next element. Also, the dry pasta is extremely fragile; we crushed a couple just picking them up too carelessly. Still, it was fun to see our little choir singers come to live. This week we’re giving them out as gifts to all those we want to say a special thanks to.

Here is the step-by-step for Noodle Angel Ornaments:

What You Need:

Macaroni elbow pasta (note: make sure they are not the curly kind)
Farfalle Pasta
Tubettini Pasta
Rigatoni pasta
Wooden craft beads 3/4″
Craft/wood glue or hot glue gun (we used both and the glue fun works better)
White gloss- spray paint — be warned: it’s stinky!
Paint brushes
Metallic scrapbook paper
Scissors
A fine black sharpie
String

1. Glue the noodles together to form angels. Make the head and body separately. We started with rigatoni body and the farfalle wings.

2. Next, glue on the tubettini to the wooden balls. Spread the glue over one side of the wooden ball and place the pasta around its crown and back of head. Leave the hole on top empty for your string. We went back and filled in blank spaces with extra “hair.”

3. While the heads are drying, add the elbow arms to the body.


4. Let dry completely and then glue the heads to the bodies. Let those dry, perhaps overnight.

5. Spray paint the angels white — in the basement or somewhere where you won’t fill house with fumes. Let dry overnight.

6. Glue gun folded pieces of paper — about 3/4″ x 1/2″ — to the arms.

7. Draw on the angels’ faces with the sharpie to draw on your angel’s face.

8. Glue a loop of string in the hole at the top of the head.

7. Let dry and hang on your tree.

Do you have a favorite holiday craft? I’d love to hear about it!

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