Thursday, August 30, 2012

DIY chandelier

A while back, when we first moved into our house, one of the first rooms we updated was the entryway.  We started there because mostly all that was needed in that room was to take the wallpaper down, paint the walls and add a new light fixture and most of this I could handle doing myself without the carpenter's help.
The one thing Dan needed to help me with was replacing the light fixture.  The light fixture that was hanging there was a small, shiny, brass chandelier.  Not what I had in mind for our entryway.  But I did have something else in mind for that light fixture.

I wanted to keep that little chandelier with the idea (and hope) that someday if we ever had a girl, I could possibly use it in her nursery.  So we stored that little chandelier away until many months later, to our delight, we found out we were having a girl! When it came to preparing her nursery, I was sure to make that little chandelier part of it.

Of course I couldn't leave it a shiny brass; that just wouldn't do.  We would need to paint it white.  I first took a picture of the fixture so I could later look back at it to see where the crystals go, since we'd have to remove all the crystals to paint it.

We took all the crystals off, cleaned it up and spray painted it with some old white spray paint we had.  Then Dan used an old extension cord we had and attached it to the light fixture (don't ask me how he does what he does) so that it was a plug-in lamp and then hung it from a hook he screwed into the ceiling.  And there you have it - our DIY chandelier for baby girl's room (because I just know baby girl always wanted a cute, little, girly chandelier in her room!)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

baby girl nursery

Being 36 weeks pregnant and feeling very, very uh... large, I'm very ready for baby girl to make her appearance.  I. am. ready. Not only am I ready physically, we are actually prepared this time around.  (see Kaiden's birth story if you don't know what I'm talking about).  I have my hospital bag packed; I have everything I need for baby girl and we have her nursery done and ready to go.  So, while I'm waiting for baby girl to come into this world, I thought I would share baby girl's nursery.

We of course need to start with the BEFORE pictures:

notice the plastic pull-down shades and green/orange/brown shag carpet

And now for baby girl's new nursery:

I started with a book of scrapbook paper that had a color scheme and theme that I liked.  I used the scrapbook paper to create a small gallery wall of artwork.  I also used the color scheme to find matching fabric and sewed a few pillows and a couple crib sheets.  I had seen the tissue paper pom poms at a friend's house and found how to make them on this pinterest pin. And to top it off, we replaced the 33-year-old orange/green/brown shag carpet with a neutral colored carpet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

kaiden turns 3

Three years ago today, we first held our new baby, not yet realizing the extent of all the joy he would bring us.  Today marks three years of life with our little guy.  He brings us so much joy and we are so blessed to have such a wonderful, loving, sweet son.  He makes us smile and laugh everyday.  Happy 3rd birthday Kaiden!  You are loved!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

design dilemma: where to put the speakers

Not only is updating our house a lot of physical work, there's also a lot of thought and consideration that go into the process as well.  There are so many decisions and problem solving to be made through the whole process.  From choosing things like paint color and light fixtures; to deciding the width of shelves; how many shelves we want and how far apart we want them; to designing a fireplace surround and what color and material to use; to the overall look we're trying to accomplish all while staying within a budget.  This all takes a lot of time and discussion and research.  But this takes a WHOLE lot more time when you're like Dan and I and cannot agree on ANYTHING when it comes to home decor and design.

Over the years of being married we have realized our constant disagreement on design so we have learned to give and take a little here and there and we both end up liking it in the end (but not without a lot of discussion and arguing compromising). Here is just one example of our many issues that came up in the process of our recent update:

Before I knew Dan, he had purchased a very large set of speakers.  Where talking big.  Like 3 foot tall speakers that sit on the floor.  And ugly.  Don't get me wrong, these babies sound good and not that I don't like nice sound from the tv or stereo, I just prefer my family room/living room to look nice over a good sounding movie.  So when we were first married we lived in a very small duplex and didn't have room for them so we stored them away.  That took care of that.  When we bought our first house, he kept them in the basement where I didn't have to see them and we agreed that someday, most likely in the next house we buy, we'll hopefully have room for them and he'll be able to use them in the family room.

So here we are.  In a house that finally has room for these two massive doesn't-go-with-my-decor speakers and he wants to put them in the family room where anyone that walks in the house would see these ugly things.  So our dilemma: he wants the speakers in the family room.  I don't want them in the family room.  Another disagreement.

So here begins yet another problem-solving/compromising process.  After some time of me trying to contemplate where to put these things in the family room and make myself be ok with two very large speakers in there... I mean, really, what is the big deal right?  Leave it to Dan to come up with a splendid idea.  He proposes he somehow hide the speakers so they can't be seen but can definitely be heard.  He gets his speakers.  I don't have to see them.  We're both happy.

Back to the drawing board.  He studies his design of the fireplace surround and figures the new fireplace surround will not be as deep as the old one.  Therefore there will be extra space in the wall behind the book shelves around the fireplace to put the speakers.  Yes, the idea is to hide the speakers in the wall.  The back of the bookshelves would be sheetrock except for the bottom shelf that he would 'dry brush' some fabric with paint and place it behind the shelf to make it look the same as the wall behind the rest of the shelves.

This shows the sheetrock wall without the shelves in front of it yet.  There are two places on each side of the fireplace to fit his speakers.

Here, his speakers are in place.

The shelves are placed in front of the sheetrock wall and speakers.  Muslim fabric is wrapped around a frame and dry brushed and placed behind the bottom shelf to cover the speaker and to match the wall behind the rest of the shelves

I can't see the speakers.  I'm happy.  But those speakers are there.  Dan's happy.

There you have it - a behind-the-scenes look at not only the labor that goes into updating a space, but also the decisions and design process that goes into every little detail.  Good thing this carpenter loves a design challenge.