Archive for the ‘family room’ Category

that whole house audio thing


Posted by Michael, December 16th, 2010

Multi-zone and multi-source audio for the house.  Sounds pretty sweet, eh?  I’ve been wanting to do this since we first purchased our home.  It was just too expensive to go through the builder.  And even if we had the cash to do it, they didn’t exactly offer what I had in mind.  I wanted functionality with components Rebecca and I were already comfortable with (read: iTunes and Apple products).  Builder wasn’t offering such capabilities.

I also thought about doing a ton of pre-wiring throughout the house while it was being built.  I figured this might be a good idea.  But much like everything else, even this was insanely expensive.  They wanted $125 to run one network cable from the basement to the master bedroom.  If you don’t know about network cable, it’s relatively cheap so this was pure profit for them – something I just couldn’t stomach. 

So where does this leave us?  Right now, I have an Apple TV powering our “entertainment center” in the family room.  The Apple TV allows us to manage our music on a remote computer and stream it to the family room.  The thought here is to expand this streaming capability throughout our house.    Music in the formal living and dining rooms, music in the master bedroom and bathroom and music in the basement.  But here is the catch:  I want to be able to control each “zone” independently of one another.  That is, if Rebecca is in the bedroom and wants to listen to Jack Johnson at a very low volume, she can.  And at the same time if I’m downstairs in the family room, I can be rocking out to, and pretending to be, Justin Timberlake at a very high volume.

But how do you pull this off?  And how do you pull this off using Apple products?  Oh and how do you do this without going broke?  The answer is the a combination of some stereo equipment collecting dust, some speakers, the Apple Airport Express and the Apple TV.  Plus the iPad’s and or iPhone’s Remote app to control everything.

First mission?  Get speakers mounted in the living and dining rooms.   The speaker wires will be routed through the walls and into the basement.  The basement will hold all the wonderful stereo equipment.  I’ve used my elite Photoshop skills to show you what this might look like.  Displayed below is the living room looking into the dining room.  Between these rooms, we have columns (with just enough room inside for me to fish some wire without wanting to kill anyone).

On each side of these columns, we’ll have a speaker.   Once complete, we’ll have two zones — each zone will have two speakers.  For those out there who are interested, I went with Polk for the speakers.  I wanted something a bit more towards higher end, but these were ridiculously cheap on sale and solid white, so I could not pass on these (plus they’re refurbished so I saved even more money).

So there you go, the first mission.  Stay tuned.

unfocused Monday


Posted by Rebecca, December 6th, 2010

I have the attention span of a gnat tonight.  Here are my random thoughts…

A rare daytime photo snapped before work this morning.  I just had to show you the new shades in the light!

All you need in life….

I picked up a can of brown and white spray paint.  I am tempted to run around the house and find things to paint but it’s 10:30 and….

I am tired from playing with these all night…

I figured December 6th is late enough to at least start making some holiday decorations.  We’re planning on getting a tree this weekend.

A sneak peek of my ornament creation…

I’ll tell you aaaall about it tomorrow since I’m tired, cranky and I have glitter all over my face.  Have I ever mentioned that I hate glitter?? Hate it. All you need is one piece on your nose and it annoys you all day.  And I currently have it all over my pajamas…..

‘Til tomorrow kids 🙂

it’s a Christmas miracle!


Posted by Rebecca, December 5th, 2010

One of the items on my Christmas to-do list was to do something with the window treatment situation in the family room.  Incase you didn’t catch Kerry’s perfectly imperfect post on our family room, here are some pictures.

Hard to tell in this picture with the sun, but the window on the left has no paper blind on it. It’s naked. The things would not stick in this room for some reason and that one in particular fell down like 30 times before we gave up on it.  The rest were just stuck to wherever they would stay…

I couldn’t tell you how many times we stood on the couch, did three bounces then attempted our highest jump to slap these suckers up.

These paper shades weren’t hung because of laziness.  In fact, we tried hanging 3 different shades before deciding that we didn’t like them.  This has been a 7 month ordeal.

My first idea was a cordless bamboo shade from Macy’s, since we had a lot of gift cards from our wedding left to cover the cost. I wanted bamboo shades to bring in another wood element since the room felt very fabric heavy. They were custom order, so I only ordered one to see if we would like it. Apparently it comes directly from China and took about TWELVE weeks.  So we got it, hung it, looked and each other and immediately hated it.  That was attempt one.  I wish I rehung it and took a picture.

Attempt two is also undocumented.  Since I was stuck on the additional wood element idea, we thought maybe we should do the 2 or 3 inch blinds in a dark stain.  Do you have any clue how hard it is to find those things in a stain as dark as our entertainment center??  Most in-stock wood and faux wood blinds come in white, light wood and cherry.  We would have had to special order blinds which would have cost us more than $100 each… we needed 5.

Attempt three, a woven shade from Lowe’s.  The first time we hung it, it was completely sheer.  So we decided to pick up some privacy liners, which required going to two different Lowe’s to get 5 of them.  Then we attached it, which was no easy feat with Macky around.

And when we hung it it looked like this…

Definitely not right. I needed time to properly sew this thing on and since I was extremely frustrated with it, I sidelined it for a few weeks.  Plus we only have weekends to work on things, so just finding 5 shades and privacy liners took up about 2 weekends.  So I finally did get it right and…. we hated this one too.  The brown was too dark and it looked cheap.

So then! I decided to forgo the wood aspect and go with good old fabric roman shades.  We already have them in our office, formal living room and kitchen.  The ones in our living room and office are from Lowe’s Allen + Roth line and we love them.  Our downstairs windows are all 72 inches long which is actually the standard in-store length for these shades.  The problem was that they have limited colors… we have blackout version in smoke in our living room and the ecru in our office.  We ideally wanted blackout shades again, since Mike doesn’t like that he can’t see the TV during the day.  We tried one of our ecru ones from the office and the color clashed with our accent chairs.  I wanted a dark brown, but Lowe’s didn’t carry them.  So I thought I’d try JCPenney, where we got our custom sized kitchen shade from, but the 72 inch shades were custom also and would have been about $90 each, plus shipping.

We then decided to give the white roman shade from Lowe’s a shot.  I liked the idea of the white since it wouldn’t make the room too dark and would keep the bright and airy feel.  It wasn’t a blackout shade, but for $25 each, could we really go wrong? Then we hung it and the white was too white against our mantel…

I was bummed and very confused.  What the heck was the solution? Then a light bulb went off in my head.. I could dye them off-white! This was my new mission, until I realized there is no slightly-white dye.  I would have to take my chances with a diluted beige.  And the color we needed wasn’t even off white, since our Ikea curtains in our kitchen are off white, as are our cabinets, yet the trim work in there looks bright white.  So I could potentially ruin this shade trying to dye it.

I scratched my head for a few more weeks, then realized this was really stupid.  We should just go with the white shades.  Mike wasn’t a fan, but I told him that when we have people over, our shades are always up.  They are only down for us and really, I’m sick of seeing the neighbor in his kitchen every night since he has no blinds either.  So last weekend we went to Lowe’s and we were only able to get 2 more in the size we needed.  Then this week THE SHADES WERE RECALLED.  No, no this could not be happening. I panicked a little, because I am the most paranoid pet owner ever (for good reason) and these shades are all over my house.  I read about the recall and it wasn’t a mandatory recall, so we decided we think we’d be okay.  The shades have a very sensitive safety release, so sensitive that we often accidentally unhook the entire shade.  So we knew that if Macky really got stuck in there it would release.  We also try to put them up before we leave the house.  But now the problem was, could we get the other two shades we needed??

Today we traveled to another Lowe’s and found the other two shades we needed and strangely, there was no sign, no warning, nothing about the recall.  If I didn’t read the news religiously, I would have had no clue.  So long story short, today we finally hung window treatments in our family room!!

Adios paper blinds! Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out!

Macky shared my resentment.

“Peace out paper!!!”

They just need to be steamed at this point and we’re good to go!

And right now, we can watch Dexter without worrying whether or not Jordan Chase is stalking me through the naked family room window.

That sense of relief alone is worth it.  Doesn’t the fire look photoshopped? It’s not, totally real.

So there ends the Window Treatment Saga of 2010. Hopefully. I still want to go to Lowe’s and ask them for 12 of those release clips I just read about. Better safe than sorry!

Oh and I think I want to add some curtains…. but first I need a break from worrying about these windows 🙂

first time for everything!


Posted by Rebecca, November 26th, 2010

Yesterday my family room was featured over at Kerry’s blog, First Time Fancy. I was dyiiiing to get on here yesterday to tell you all about it, but I was trying to be the hostess with the mostess.  Kerry holds a special place in my heart because she was quite possibly my first legit twitter follower waaay back when I started, a whole two months ago.  And now Kerry has hosted my first “guest blog”, so she has solidified her place as one of the sweetest bloggers around.  So thank you Kerry!

Cool things about Kerry… 1) she’s a design student …I’m jealous  2) she’s from Canada..I don’t know anyone from Canada! 3) she has a very cool blog with awesome features, such as dream homes and perfectly imperfect spaces, which is where I come in. No I don’t fall under the dream home feature, I fall under the perfectly imperfect feature.

Every Thursday, Kerry features a space that is not perfectly designed, but that is loved and functions as a space. When she introduced this feature, I just had to email her. So often when reading blogs and browsing photos, you assume the house is perfect.  Many people don’t realize that photos are cropped, objects pushed aside and rooms excluded just to appear “perfect”.  I loved the honesty behind Kerry’s concept and just had to show her this…

Those are my family room window treatments. I am not even embarrassed anymore.  You can read my entire post, complete with a bunch of non-cropped, full room views of my family room over at First Time Fancy!

ps- I’ll fill you in on how our first Thanksgiving went a little later 🙂



Posted by Rebecca, October 24th, 2010

Yesterday we got around to stacking all of that firewood we got last week…

And then we covered it up so it’s nice and dry.

That’s an eight foot rack and we’re definitely going to need another, we hardly put a dent in that ginormous pile.

Earlier in the day we made a trip to Lowe’s for a wheel barrow and found some fireplace tools we actually liked.  They’re from the Allen + Roth line which is always so good to me.  I’m pretty sure I love all of their stuff.

They’re actually the bronzey-brown color I was hoping to paint the slate.  So with all of the materials we needed plus a chilly night, we were able to light our first fire in the new house.

It wasn’t exactly roaring at this point, but you get the idea 🙂  And the house still smells so wonderful!

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