The Evolution of My Living Room

Monday, February 15, 2016

This picture "had me from hello," or from "Pin It" as we call it in Pinterest world.  My living room is the central focus of my home and it was in desperate need of getting "done."  I stumbled across this image below on Pinterest thanks to Miss Mustard Seed which became the main inspiration for decorating my own living room.  Little did I realize how long the journey would take!


We tackled this room in stages due to the ENORMITY of the project:

PHASE 1 began years ago with the floors when we first closed on our home.  We tore up every carpet and pulled out every staple and nail embedded in the floors ourselves.  Look at this crazy pile of carpet in my garage!

The upside to all of this carpet is that it protected our wood floors which we had sanded and stained in Early American by Minwax.  I cannot say that I had executed any fancy process to pick a floor stain.  I basically chose the same color my friend had used which I thought looked nice.

PHASE 2 was the painting.  Oh the painting!  Our walls are made of plaster which makes prep work much more challenging.  They were filled with cracks and the paint on the moldings was peeling off.  My husband has become quite proficient at fixing cracks in plaster after much experience, trial and error.  I have outlined the basic premise to how we fixed cracks in plaster below:


1.  Prep wall for painting

2.  Remove all debris and loose particles from crack with a painter's knife (it's ok to widen the crack)

3.  Fill the crack with a mixture of spackle and plaster of paris (let dry/sand)

4.  Apply fiber tape over crack using joint compound (let dry/sand)

5.  Smooth over and reapply joint compound as needed (let dry/sand)

6.  Final sand should result in wall being smooth to the touch

(Perhaps at a later time, I can provide you with a more thorough guide to fixing cracks as we are about to tackle some more in our upcoming dining room project.)

Ugh!  This is why it took us years to paint our house ourselves!  Here is a sample of what our wall looked like after it was all prepped for painting.  Not very pretty, but it comes out great in the end, I promise!

When choosing a paint color, I agonized over the color as I knew it would be in a majority of my home and set the tone for everything else that goes in it.  I kept referring back to my Google Image searches of living rooms where I ALWAYS loved the rooms that were light and bright.  Thankfully I went with my visual inspiration!



Winning Wall Color:  Benjamin Moore Dove Wing

Molding Color:  Benjamin Moore Super White

We had also decided to paint our fireplace as well.  This was a big, scary decision for us as there is no turning back once you apply paint to brick.  Still, I resorted to Google Images/Pinterest to confirm that I was making the right decision.  We used the same color as our moldings and painted the interior black for a cleaner look.  Can you say LOVE? 

Right Photo Credit:  Creative Heart Arts

PHASE 3 was hiring a contractor to install a built-in on a big blank wall behind our piano which you can see at the end of this post.  Once again, I went right to Pinterest and found a built-in I loved.  I printed out the picture and wrote down some notes and handed it right over to our contractor.  This was my favorite picture from Pinterest.

The contracter nailed it both literally and visually!  I have to say that being able to hand him a picture of exactly what I want made the whole process a lot less stressful and more successful in the end!

PHASE 4 was my favorite part.  Decorating!  I began with making the curtains that I have been swooning over for months from Miss Mustard Seed.  I am providing a link to her tutorial (here), however I just used the same fabric pattern which is Tucker Resist Indigo by Waverly.  My friend who knows how to sew so graciously helped me through the process of sewing these and they turned out AMAZING!  Thanks Jess!

This picture was taken and sent to my husband who was at work to prove that I was (in fact) making my own curtains.  Yes, I know I look a bit cheesy and perhaps this isn't the best photo ever taken of me, however, I must mention that I was pregnant with my second child and didn't even know it yet, so I love this pic!

I decided on the Eton Loveseat and two Leyland Armless Chairs from Ballard Designs.  I ordered several fabric swatches which definitely helped me make a decision.  Here are some other sources that I used for my living room d├ęcor:

Rug:  West Elm
Side Table (by stairs):  Country Willow
Coffee Table:  Pottery Barn (from years ago)
Fireplace Mirror/Pillows:  HomeGoods
Fern Picture:  Country Living Fair
(and we will talk more about this fair another day as it is HEAVEN-ON-EARTH)

And here it is!  The end result!  After YEARS of working on this room, I can finally say "It's done!" and I love it!  

Photo Credit:  Creative Heart Arts

Right Photo Credit:  Creative Heart Arts

Picking the Perfect Paint Color

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hi!  Erica here with how I picked the perfect paint colors for my house.  

A little background:
I closed on my house in May but I needed to be out of my old house by mid-April.   The solution was for me to put all of my stuff into storage and move in with my parents for a month.  The cons were moving twice, the cost of paying movers twice, bringing all four of my pets to my parents' house, and obviously being a thirtysomething adult living with my parents.  The pros were being a thirtysomething adult living with my parents (no need to make myself dinner), time to plan for my new home, and an empty home when I finally did close.   Since, I was already paying for storage, I decided to get the floors done and almost the whole house painted while the house was furniture free.

It was a bit difficult coordinating between the painter and the floor guy.  I lucked out and found this super-cheap and fast painter.  The only problem was that because he was super cheap he was in high demand.   He agreed to squeeze me in on weekends and work on the rooms the floor guys were not touching.

I found a lot of my paint inspiration on Pinterest.    You can click below to check out my board for Old House Charm.

Erica's Steps for finding the right color:
  • Make a list of colors you like from Pinterest. 
  • Ask your local paint store if you can borrow a color wheel.  Or sit down at a paint store with your list. 
  • Narrow down the colors from the wheel.  Hold them against your wall. 

  • Go back to the paint store and ask for bigger sample chips to borrow or narrow it down then and there by looking at the bigger paint chip samples.  Most Benjamin Moore paint stores will have a binder of large square paint chips. 
  • Purchase paint samples of the colors you are torn between.   Try them out on your wall in your lighting.  *I have Revere Pewter in two different parts of my house and the color looks totally different in those two rooms.  It really depends on the lighting and what else is in the room. 
Living room color choices.  I went with the B.M. Classic Gray.
  • Don't be tempted to purchase the cheapest, lowest quality paint.  You may end up spending just as much depending on the number of coats of paint you need.  Talk to your paint store representative and see which type of paint would work best for you.  
  • Take photos or keep a notebook of the type of paint you used and which room you used it in.  This will help you in the future for touch-ups. 

I really lucked out that my plaster walls were in great condition.  The previous owners of my house had removed wallpaper that was up for many, many years and were happy to find smooth, crack free walls.   

Here are some of the before and after color changes I did on my walls:
Hallway: The color on the right is B.M. Revere Pewter.

 Master Bath: The color on the right is B.M. Half-Moon Crest.

 Master Bedroom:  The color on the right is also B.M. Half-Moon Crest.

 Den:  The color on the right is B.M. Manchester Tan.  I may be changing this color to Edgecomb Gray because it is actually too similar to the color of my couch and I want a little more contrast.

Laundry Room/Summer Kitchen: The color on the right is B.M. Classic Gray.  I had some left over from my living room and was anxious to paint over the orange.  If you look closely, you can also see that the ceiling was yellow.  The ceiling was changed to a standard ceiling white.  I really had wanted to do this room in the Best in Show Wallpaper pictured below but it was just too costly and would have been a difficult room to wallpaper.  I compromised by moving my Ballard Design The Inconsolable print to the room. 

 Home Office: The color on the right is B.M. Hale Navy.

Dining Room: The color on the right is B.M. Kendall Charcoal.

Floor Stain
As I mentioned earlier, I also had the floors done before moving in.  I wanted a darker wood to go with the character of the house.  

This was something that I knew I had to take advantage of while all the furniture was out of the house.  The previous owners had redone the floors only seven years earlier and they were still in great condition.  Could I have lived with them, yes?  Would the orangey tone of the floors bother me every day, you betcha!  It was an expense and meant delaying moving in for two more weeks, but I am so happy I did it. 

Above are the two floor stains I narrowed it down to.  I ended up going with the Antique Brown on the right.   The result is a rich looking floor.  I think the steps up the staircase look stunning against the white trim. 

photo credit: Creative Heart Arts

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you come join me as I continue to make my new house into a home of my own.