Archive for the ‘inexpensive design’ Category

Back to the Drawing Board

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Posted by Rebecca, April 7th, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, Mike and I headed to Ikea to check out the Arholma outdoor collection we were thinking of as an inexpensive alternative to my beloved Crate & Barrel set. Sadly, I wasn’t feeling it.

That’s my sad face. Not to be confused with my some dude is circling this couch as I’m trying to pose for a picture for my blog and I feel totally weird about it, face. It’s just very low, the cushions are meh and I just wasn’t feeling the material. I wanted to like because it was affordable, but I don’t even think adding throw pillows would make me like it. I think it would be good for a small patio/city balcony area, but I think the scale would have been off for us.

After this, I figured we’d have to suck it up and go with the West Elm set.

We stopped in there this past weekend to see if they had their outdoor furniture displayed yet. They didn’t, but said they would have it in a few weeks. They asked me what I was looking for and when I said the Wood Slat collection, they told me they had a lounger in the corner I could look at to get an idea. I excitedly ran over only to realize I had walked by it minutes before, but I didn’t notice that it was what I was looking for because it looked black. I really want a nice wood tone to go with our upcoming stamped concrete patio. Whaaaamp whaaaamp #2.

So I was back to the drawing board. Then our friend Robin informed me that Pier 1 had a set similar to the Crate & Barrel/Ikea one.

We also went to look it and though it was still low, it was a step up in quality from the Ikea set and could work. But the table only sat 4 people so we’d still have to find one of those.

I’m feeling a little defeated at this point and I think I’ve lost track a little bit of what we want. Though I love the Crate & Barrel Ventura set, I think I need to stop trying to replicate it and just find something else that I like. So I revisited some sites with zero expectations, as if I was starting from the beginning. I was strangely attracted to the Target Belmont Collection, even though I have seen it and even posted this picture before.

I’m still not in love with this conversation set, but I think it may just be how the picture is staged. I looked at some of the other pieces and I really like them.

I think I wasn’t sold on this furniture the first time around because of a) the conversation set looks a little awkward to me in that first picture and b) the color of the cushions. But before I wanted a West Elm white and navy look, I wanted a bright color. I figure I can still do white and navy throw pillows since the striped pillows pictured here are not included. All of the items in this collection ship for free, except for the armless chair. Just an added bonus to think about…

As I told Mike yesterday, the last thing I want to be picky about is the color of cushions. An affordable price and a good shape/base are much more important to me. I think getting a bold color could be a fun challenge to work with. Margarita green anyone? :)

Chair Rail, Check!

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Posted by Rebecca, March 28th, 2011

This weekend, we tackled part 2 of our molding project. Mike got to write about our adventures in the hallway last Monday, so now it’s my turn :)

First, some before pictures. Okay, they’re partial before pictures since if you look closely, you can see that the chair rail is already installed upstairs. This started so suddenly last weekend that I didn’t think to take true before pictures.

View from the front door (with it open..brr)

A better view of the upstairs.

And the staircase angle that drove us insane.

Going into this week, we already had a whole 2 hours of experience in installing chair rail. We knew downstairs included mostly 45 degree cuts, but several things made us nervous.

1) that above the staircase angle

2) this pre-existing molding that we needed to remove in order to connect the old and new chair rails

3) that fancy end piece finishing off that exposed edge of chair rail above

Originally, when we started this project last weekend, we were going to get the chair rail up in the hallway just so that we could start our gallery wall. But when we had so much fun with the saw and nail gun, we decided to finish up all of the molding.

We started by prying off that one piece of pre-existing molding. At one point, Mike suggested we just start the new moldings on the opposite side of the wall.

But I thought that despite the fact that we had never done this before, we should do it right and connect the pieces along that small wall. So we crossed our fingers and hoped that it would come off clean.

Thankfully, it did! :)

We began to install the chair rail from this point by measuring, measuring, leveling, leveling and cutting 45 degree angles. The bottom of our chair rail is 33.5 inches from the floor, so we just marked off this measurement every foot or so around the room, then lined the chair rail up on the dots and leveled it. I didn’t take many in-progress pictures because my hands were full most of the time :)

We used our same crappy electric nail gun, which once again didn’t shoot the nails all the way through the molding. So we used a hammer and screwdriver method to drive them fully in.

Here’s our little wall all dressed up, before caulk.

We’re so glad we decided to do that little wall. It’s my favorite part of the project now!

Our second beast was the stairway angle. Once again, I didn’t take any in-progress pictures, probably because it would have just been images of Mike and I staring at each other. But here it is once we finally got it up there.

We decided to keep the height of this chair rail consistent with the other areas, which was 33.5 inches from the floor to the bottom of the rail. We debated whether to line it up with the railing, but decided to keep the measurement. It’s pretty close to being in line with the railing anyway! I measured 33.5 inches from the bottom of the baseboard, in several places, then connected them with a pencil line.

I wish I could tell you how we calculated the angle of the stairs, but it was really a lucky guess. It bothered me that we guessed by looking at the baseboard cuts, then tried it out on some scrap pieces and just so happened to have guessed correctly. In an effort to learn the proper way to do this, I found this article. According to this guy, our method was exactly right! I felt all guilty like I cheated on a geometry test or something…no, I’m not a nerd…

We disagreed about how the end of this piece angled piece should be cut. We ended up going with my suggestion of keeping the cut consistent with the other end pieces. Mike thought that this would look funny because it would not meet the railing at the same angle- there would be more open space at the bottom then there would be at the top. But I figured that once the bottom half of the wall is painted white, that part wouldn’t be noticeable. I was more considered about the funny pattern that would result from cutting this particular rail at a different angle.

Finally, we tackled the super scary end pieces. They were the easiest thing ever. Ever. I don’t know why they scared us. In fact, we had loads of scraps around and didn’t even have to cut some of them. They just required a 45 degree cut, then the other side was a straight cut from the point where the 45 degree angle ended. Here’s a piece.

We actually attached these with Gorilla glue, since our nail gun isn’t the best and these pieces are small.

We really couldn’t believe how easy these were to install, yet they add such a pretty effect!

Finally, yesterday morning we caulked. I have never caulked before in my life, but we managed to get the entire downstairs finished. We still have some work to do upstairs, since we have to do the baseboards up there from the hardwood floors we had installed this past fall. All it took was a quick line of caulk, a wipe with my finger, then a few wipes with a wet cloth to get any excess off of the walls.

Tada! Here are some pictures of our finished (but not painted) chair rail!

I think to say I love how this is turning out would be an understatement. I cannot wait for next Saturday to paint the trim and the lower half of the wall a glossy white, then eventually add the boxes underneath, then down the road add the gallery of pictures I’ve been dreaming of.

So, is it Saturday yet??

ps- I’m linking this post up to How To’sday at The Lettered Cottage and Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before & After Party!

S’more Patio Furniture Options

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Posted by Rebecca, March 23rd, 2011

Mike and I are currently in the midst of a slew of unfinished projects.

1. I have to order fabric for the office, but I’m waiting for the price to go down since I swear I once saw it for half the price!

2. We have to finish our chair rail/fake wainscoting project we started this weekend. I LOVE this project. I loved using the saw. I can’t wait to see the finished product. I can go on and on and on. I am just counting down the minutes until Saturday morning when we can chair rail the downstairs!

3. Patio, patio, patio. Contract is on it’s way :) Though we’re not doing the actual work on this…

These are all being sandwiched in between my graduate course load, full time jobs and a bunch of parties and other plans that the spring always seems to bring. Slow and steady wins the race though, right?

Today I received an email from West Elm about their new outdoor collections, so my focus was thrown back towards the patio for the day. After our friend Jon commented about how awesome the Crate & Barrel outdoor furniture is, I had to look around a little more. There has to be some sort of solution out there and thank you to all of you who have sent recommendations my way :)

So, the results of my (minimal) research today.

West Elm Wood Slat collection:

Considering the price of the Crate & Barrel Ventura collection, I was expecting this set to be astronomical in price, but it is strangely reasonable. Not as cheap as Target, but the table is $399 which is half of the price of the Crate & Barrel one. Each chair is $149 compared to Crate & Barrel’s $300, plus the chairs are stackable for storage! So really, who on earth is Crate & Barrel trying to sell their stuff to? Though their set is still my favorite, I’ve given up hope :(

I like the West Elm set, but the couch isn’t very cushy and inviting looking. One thing I love that I hadn’t thought of? White cushions. The white cushions with the dark frame look so nice. I love the idea of white and navy pillows, so very Grecian paradise!

(via)

I also remembered that Ikea had a Crate & Barrel knockoff last year, so I figured I’d check their website to see if it was listed yet. Sure enough, I found the Arholma collection

This little sectional is just $650, now that’s a better price! I have heard that the cushions look cheap, so I googled for some better images. I found this one from a previous Ikea catalog…

(via)

The good? The cushions appear to be white to go with my new inspiration, it’s affordable and I like the color of the rattan. The bad? The cushions maaay be cheap and the table that goes with the set is missing an umbrella hole! Being the pale person that I am, this is a deal breaker.

But! I am not giving up hope on the lounge furniture. The pieces are all sold as separates, unlike the Target furniture, so I would be able to pick and choose the pieces and sizes I want. Plus I am thinking that if the white cushions look cheap, I can fancy them up with some white and navy outdoor pillows along the back of the seat. I even found some options that I like from fabric.com

Waverly Sun N Shade Parterre Indigo

Swavelle/Mill Creek Finnegan Indigo

Swavelle/Mill Creek Faylinn Atlantic

One of the 5 Ikeas in our area has the Arholma collection on display so we’re going to go check it out in person. If we like it? Maybe we’ll go with the West Elm table or something similar. I think that a wood table and chairs would add more interest to the rattan furniture vs. trying to match it. As of today, I like this mismatched, white and navy lil Grecian paradise plan. It feels nice to have a plan, since just a few weeks ago I couldn’t pin down a plan for any sort of outdoor space. Thankfully it came to me, literally, in the form of a West Elm email today.

Some Molding Love

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Posted by Michael, March 21st, 2011

Rebecca and I have always loved molding in a home. Whether it was crown molding, large baseboard molding or bead-board wainscoting, we were in love with it. For me, there was something about the clean lines it presented and the overall framing of the room. It is a great finishing touch that can ultimately transform a room.

We always talked about doing our own molding, but it was something we were scared to do ourselves. How do we do the corners, how do we make the cuts, will I cut my hand off using the power saw — all scary questions that ran through my head. We previously had a friend of the family install some molding in our formal living room.  Our plan was to eventually bring the molding into our foyer area, up the stairs, and the upstairs hallway.

So when I told Rebecca earlier in the week that I had an itch to do a chair rail, she kind of shrugged me off thinking it was just another molding conversation that would soon pass.

But when we woke up Saturday morning, we began passing along ideas to accomplish during the day since we both felt somewhat motivated.  Rebecca mentioned hanging some curtains and I mentioned the chair rail.  We decided to start with the upstairs hallway since it would be the easiest in terms of straight cuts and easy angles.  We made some measurements and a couple minutes later, we were on our way to Lowe’s to pick up some molding.

Here is the view looking down the hallway and into our master bedroom.  The plan here is to put up a chair rail and then eventually do boxes; similar to our living room in the picture above.

Everything is pretty straight so cutting+nailing would be pretty straight forward.  This was so until we got to an angle at the top of our stairs.

We struggled with this for maybe a half hour or so.  We could not figure out how to make this cut.  We tried several different cuts, holding them up and trying to determine how to do this.  We went back and forth a bit before I went downstairs to draw the angle on paper and try to calculate some numbers.  And just when I was about to lose my patience, Rebecca figured it out.  We made two cuts with some scrap, one angle at 20 degrees and the other at 25 degrees.  We held the pieces together and sure enough, we were golden.

A few more finishing cuts later, and we were finished.

So what did I learn with this experience?

  • We waited just about a year to do this project because we were scared.  We were scared for absolutely no reason.
  • Invest in a nail gun with a compressor.  We used an electric nail gun and half our nails barely went completely in.  We had to hammer a lot of them flat with the surface.
  • Take your time.  Measure twice, cut once.  Or if you have scrap pieces, make some cuts as an example and work from there.
  • The molding area at Lowe’s isn’t scary nor overwhelming.

I categorized this post as inexpensive design because this was an incredibly cheap project to accomplish — especially compared to what we would have paid a contractor.   All said and done, 40 linear feet of molding and some tubes of caulk ran us just under $100.  An absolute steal.

A Little Logical Thinking

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Posted by Rebecca, March 10th, 2011

Since the weather this weekend is supposed to be this…

I’m hoping to finally get outside to play with this…

And even some of this…

 

I bought this spray paint a while ago, but because of cold, rain and being busy, I haven’t had a chance to use it. I’m hoping to spray some office accessories this weekend, as long as the weather cooperates. I would tell you what I’m spraying, but I am slightly nervous to take my beautifully traditional things and make them funky with glossy green spray paint. It is either going to be a brilliant idea or a complete disaster.

Good thing I have this blog to publicly humiliate myself if this doesn’t work out, but I have a feeling I’ll be just fine :)

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