First, please look past any clutter you see on our room divider, and keep your eyes up. Um, yeah. See how that curtain rod is all crooked there? It’s because we didn’t anchor it properly (thought we had a stud), and now it’s coming out of the wall. Sigh. So of course I’ve been thinking about curtains and curtain rods a lot lately. Our living room is one big room that used to be two (as you can see by the ceiling). Now it’s the entire front half of our house, most of it comprised of windows : one huge picture window, a smaller window, and then a clerestory window on the side. As you can see, we
have had the curtains all hung at the same level, and even though the windows are all different heights, we also have the curtains at the same length (right now it’s “puddling on the ground”).
Is it curtains for me? Find out after the jump!
This “ceiling fan upgrade” DIY at House*Tweaking really has fans, so to speak — I first saw it when an enthusiastic friend posted it to Facebook. I can certainly understand wanting to hide a fan you don’t like, and her ceiling fan isn’t the kind I’d choose, but it looked new and is fairly inoffensive — a lot better than the 1970s version currently hanging above my bed. (And we own our house so we have no excuse; we should have replaced ours by now.) I also worried that the chandelier would make noise when the fan is on (or at least distracting movement), but Dana at House*Tweaking says that it’s not an issue as long as the speed doesn’t go above medium. (And just in case Dana sees this post, I do just love lots of what’s on her site — this mini mudroom for instance! Genius!) What do you think of the fan fix, and have you come up with any other quick fixes for unattractive fixtures in your space? — Mary T.
P.S. Speaking of Facebook, just a reminder that you can canoodle with Shelterrific on our Facebook page!
This post is sponsored by Lowe’s.
We firmly believe in being your own handyman. Whether it’s installing our own back splash tile in the kitchen, renovating our backyard deck or giving a staircase a ombre hue, we regularly roll-up our sleeves and tackle little projects all over our homes. Sometimes things go wrong. Paints drip on the floor. Tiles dry crookedly. Equipment gets rusty. We pull our hair out. No one is happy.
Luckily, there’s a little help to be found via Vine and these handy D.I.Y. videos produced by Lowe’s. The wonderful thing about Vine is that the videos are super short — 6 seconds! — and loop over and over. So if you miss something the first time, don’t sweat it, you can catch the second or third time around. Here are six cool tricks we learned from watching these Vines — though if you start playing around on the social network’s app you’ll find many, many more.
Six Handy Tricks We Learned From Lowe’s Vine Videos:
1. Potatoes aren’t just for dinner — or making crafty stamps! The next time you are dealing with a broken lightbulb in lamp, use a potato to unscrew it without risking a finger cut.
2. Rubber bands have many uses (besides being woven into colorful bracelets for grade-schoolers). You can use them to catch paint drips from a can, or twist out a stripped down screw.
3. For your next colorful paint project, don’t mess with a new paint tray for each color. Simply line your old ones in aluminum foil and reuse.
4. Take the guesswork out of picture hanging. A piece of tape can help measure the distance between holes and get things picture perfect.
5. You don’t need luck to make your tiles line up perfectly. Pennies placed in between the rows of tiles will do the trick until they dry nicely.
6. What could be more dull than a rusty knife? Dip your cutters in some lemon juice for 15 minutes and see how they shine.
Have you discovered any great DIY Vine videos? Let us know and we’ll feature them on Shelterrific!
A bathroom renovation has been on the agenda since the day escrow closed on our house. We’ve been doing what we can to fix our eyesore of a bath without any demolition: notably converting a traditional door into a mini french door to open up the space and swapping out a rickety towel rod for rope cleats that function as towel hooks. We’re itching to rip out the too-big toilet and cultured marble vanity — and yes, that is a sheet vinyl shower surround.
Finding the right fixtures has been a big hold up on our renovation process. We want something modern, but not TOO much so, as our house is mid-century — and the footprint needs to be small, as our bathroom is a tiny closet of sadness and despair. I know that finding a combination of size, look, and god-forbid functionality is a tall order from a bath fixture, but I’ve found all of these showers by Mira Showers. I’m absolutely swooning for the clean lines of the Mira Miniluxe ER. The exposed riser is a nod to the classic exposed plumbing often found in vintage homes, but with a decidedly more modern vibe. I’m torn between the Miniluxe and the minimalist luxury of the Mira Agile which would have the added bonus of a second hand-held shower head. Not only are both these choices visually attractive, but the showers from Mira Showers have a patented Magni-flo technology which will ensure a full deluge even at low pressure. And this lazy housekeeper won’t have to worry about limescale either, since the nozzles are designed to just rub clean.
We’ve already purchased the sink — after I wrote about it here way back in 2009. We just can’t pull the trigger on the darn faucet. I want a sturdy fixture that is 100% brass — but those can cost a hefty sum. I actually found a few options I like here and here — at Overstock, of all places. As for the toilet, after hours of measuring and internet review reading, I think we’re going with the Ariel Platinum Anna toilet, which has the smallest dimensions I’ve found. And in our lil’ loo, every inch matters.
What would you do with this little bathroom? We’re thinking white walls and subway tile, dark grout, and glossy black or dark gray floors. Clean, classic with a touch of modern — our goal is to open the space up and add some luxury to our modest bath!
This is a sponsored post.
The moment everyone’s been waiting for is here! The reveal of the final rooms in the Re-Energized by Design Competition is live, in a super-sized two parter. This time, the two remaining teams have TWICE the budget, a room full of LED lighting from GE Lighting, and a full range of gorgeous and energy efficient appliances from Frigidaire to pimp their room. We are REALLY going to see some major transformations happening here.
The GE LED lighting is available in many different “temperatures” of color, something that can dramatically affect in how things look in your kitchen. I experienced this first hand after I painted my own kitchen recently. I loved the paint color in daylight, but at night, the color looked awful. I switched out to a softer LED bulb (3000K) and it made ALL THE DIFFERENCE. And I won’t be needing to change the bulb (or the wall color, thankfully) for 25 years!
I really wish our team, the Bedford family, had made it to this final round. They could have really benefitted from those new Frigidare Gallery appliances — the ultra efficient induction range alone is a huge safety boost for families with young children (less burning risk). There’s no need to replace existing cookware, either — if a magnet sticks to the pan, it will work with induction. And a convection oven is a must-have for those of us who love to bake.
The Sayers, of course, did not disappoint in this challenge by using some unconventional materials to maximize their budget — and because they are obviously just cool like that. I loved their use of the salvaged steel chalkboard as a backsplash; and that mirror in the kitchen (though I wouldn’t want to be the one cleaning it) reminds me of my days as a culinary instructor, where we taught with a huge mirror over the butcher block. All this and surprisingly below budget!
The Reilly family has consistently been more traditional in their design choices, though I’ll admit I really liked what they did in the kitchen. Nothing wrong with the combination of white subway tile and dark grout, I always say. And the paint treatment on the cabinets? Spot On. No matter what team wins the grand prize, both these families have beautiful new kitchens to enjoy for years and years to come.
What do you think of the final room? Is it the Sayers family’s funky loft or the Reilly’s clean classic kitchen that should earn the $5000 grand prize? Watch and see who takes home the giant check below!
This is a sponsored post.
Even though our team is no longer in the running, it’s still fun to keep up with what’s going on in the Re-Energized By Design competition. This week, the remaining three teams made over their laundry rooms.
In addition to $500 and energy efficient lighting from GE, the homeowners each received an brand new set of Frigidaire Affinity laundry equipment. These are not your average high-efficiency washers & dryers — this is serious technology in action here. The Affinity dryer will dry a full load in less than 30 minutes, and the washer features allergen reduction and sanitizing features along with having the highest energy star rating. And aesthetically they please, too (though I have to wonder why no one picked the red option).
Love what those scrappy Sayers did in their space with that upcycled laundry drum light fixture. Their creative approach is always surprising, and will be tough to beat in the final round. In the end, the Mendes family’s pastel laundry room didn’t make the cut — that leaves the Sayers and the Reillys to duke it out in the kitchen challenge! who do you think will win?!
This is a sponsored post.
It’s that time again — time for the next challenge in the Re-Energized by Design competition! This week, the remaining four teams are making over the living room. The Bedford’s room is dramatic, with vaulted ceilings and a wall of windows (with some broken panes). I found the space overwhelmed by the arc lamp and the red brick fireplace, but not in a good way. Also — there was not a lot of lighting options. Reading was impossible on the couch unless it was daytime, and entertaining? Dim lights might be fine for a nightclub, but for a family-friendly party? Not so much. The stairs were just exposed plywood splattered with paint. Not much on the walls in regards to art, either. Their furniture was good though — a nice neutral modern sectional, and an heirloom mid-century lounge chair and dresser.
Rather than using bold bright colors on the walls, we went dark — Dark gray on that red brick fireplace. Instead of painting everything one color, we only painted two walls in the dark gray; and used a lighter gray on an accent wall and staircase, leaving the rest of the room white, allowing the space to feel more intimate and cozy without overwhelming the space with such a dark color. And next to the fireplace, Slade put in some nice open shelving painted to blend into the wall, styled with art and objects from around the house. We also broke up their sectional and reconfigured it, and flipped over their old rug for a more industrial look. Kristen also repainted their coffee table glossy black.
Kristen made some colorful decoupage art; and I (along with my uber-talented seamstress pal Suzanne) got to work on some accent pillows, a floor pouf, and the reupholstering of the mid-century lounger with a colorful new fabric. I thought the chair turned out gorgeous, going from something you barely noticed to something that can anchor a space on its own. If you know me, you know I had to work in some of my signature vintage orange velvet, too. But I’m honestly proudest of that pouf: my first sewing project in 4 years, made entirely by myself, with NO PATTERN. The boys instantly gravitated toward it. Liam declaring it “his dice”, proceeded to toss it around the room and jump all over it.
In the energy improvement category, the Bedfords did a lot as well to improve their usage. Slade installed (from scratch) a LED track lighting system that we hid behind the beam, so we could add light around the room on the bookcases, on the couch, and on the new art. We also swapped out LED bulbs for incandescent in the other lamps around the room, adding significantly more light to the space while reducing the wattage in half. Slade caulked all the windows and beams, helping to reduce heat loss. They also put their stereo and charging docks on a smart powerstrip, so they can reduce that energy loss when not in use. And if that wasn’t enough, they reduced their thermostat 3 degrees to produce a significant savings in energy usage.
Alas, it wasn’t enough for the judges, sadly. I loved our room — basically, I think it all came down to a matter of points. I wish we had more time on this room, we could have done so much more. My project checklist had about 10 more to-do’s left unchecked, believe it or not. Our fatal error was when our plans to make fabric roman shades for the windows became impossible; rather than the shade choice made, I wish we could have thrown up some cute no-sew curtains on tension rods. I think that could have made enough of a difference to get us into the next round. Twenty-twenty hindsight, I guess. Honestly, I’m proud we made it this far; a lot of which I should credit to the valiant efforts of Kristen and Slade. Our rooms were up against some pretty stiff competition from professional architects and designers, so our rag-tag team of DIY’ers made a good show!
Stick around for next week’s post, where
I bitterly tear apart the remaining contestant’s rooms with derisive judgements we see how the competition proceeds with the laundry room challenge! Who will get the chop next?
By this time next week, weâ€™ll have installed the last of three water-efficient toilets in our house. After that, weâ€™re kinda at a loss for our next green project. Over the years, weâ€™ve replaced the dishwasher, washer and dryer as they wore out with greener versions; added a solar attic fan; replaced doors and windows; and tackled a host of smaller projects to improve our homeâ€™s efficiency. Weâ€™ve also ran the numbers on a few ideas that we just canâ€™t justify the cost of, like solar panels, geothermal furnace or a tankless hot water heater. While weâ€™re seplaceing for our next project, do have any green reno ideas to throw our way? â€” Sarah L.
Weâ€™ve been working on fixing up our little apartment since we moved in a year and a half ago, and for all the painting, sanding and decorating weâ€™ve done, our smallest bedroom hasnâ€™t seen its fair share of love. At just a touch larger than 4â€™x 6â€™, the tiny space comes with itâ€™s own unique dÃ©cor dilemmas and besides patching holes, painting and tossing in a bed and an Ikea Malm dresser, weâ€™ve left it alone. But for a long time it irked me. The bedspread was too much; the paint color too sea-foamy, but because we may move in the next year, I was hesitant to address it. Then I finally decided to make a day of the project. Having a place I love is important to me, and the benefit of a microscopic room is that it can be painted in a day with a toothbrush if need be, so I took the plunge. Picking a paint color has always been a challenge but it proved even more difficult with such a tiny space. I wanted something light and calming, but not white, because I was planning on pulling the trigger on the pin-tuck duvet of my dreams, and what better place to glean inspiration than from someone who already owned it and was also painting her room? Rachel DeSchepper of Fresh Home shared her thoughts on my pin-tuck problem, so I popped over to her room-redo and loved what she did with a light gray (Benjamin Mooreâ€™s Whitestone) in her bedroom. After much obsessing over paint chips, I settled on Benjamin Mooreâ€™s Silver Fox, which I loved: not too light too be overlooked, too heavy to make the room look dark, or cold enough to inspire jail cell chic. And no sooner had I gleefully lugged home a gallon, I stumbled upon Shelterpopâ€™s â€œPaint Color Trends to Move On Fromâ€. First on the list? â€œGreigeâ€. Oy! Click to see the outcome of my mini room redesign! (more…)
I had an unfortunate accident happen a few weeks ago. The hanging wire on my beloved dining room mirror gave out, and the mirror slid down the wall and crashed onto the floor. Luckily the frame took the brunt of the impact and the mirror only cracked â€“ not shattered – into 2 pieces.
The price for getting a new mirror cut to fit the frame was exorbitant, so instead I brainstormed some ways to salvage the cracked pieces. Since the wall behind the mirror is covered with maps, I decided to let the crack help me integrate both the mirror and the wall coverings into a single piece of artwork. I used blue painters tape (perfect color!) and created a sort of abstract river covering the crack and extending onto the walls. I intend to have it branch above the frame as soon as I can locate a ladder to reach that high! What do you think? Iâ€™m pretty sure this technique would also work with vinyl wall decals as well. And the crack could easily become a climbing vine, garland, tree branch, or lightning bolt, depending on your taste and wall color.
Other options I came up with were to cover the crack with cut-out sections of maps or photos of places I had visited or use a mirror patina to age the mirror and make the crack less noticeable. What would you do? â€“Rebecca F.