Friday, September 28, 2012

How To Decorate Your Master Bedroom

Whether you've just moved into a new home or it's been a long time since your home's master bedroom had a lick of paint, you know when it's time to change things up. Your room is the last thing you see at night and the first thing you see in a morning, so can play a big part in setting your mood for the day ahead or the quality of night's sleep you get.

However, even if you know that what you currently have doesn't work, it can be difficult knowing where to start with your changes.

A good place to begin is to understand your own sense of style and get some ideas of what you like. Flicking through home magazines and websites is a great place to start, as they are full of inspirational photography. It may be a useful to create a scrapbook or digital 'look book' to fill with images that appeal to you. This is great to refer back to when it comes to buying furniture and fittings.

Understanding the opportunities and limitations of the bedroom is crucial. For example, if there's a focal feature – such as a fireplace or large window – you'll want to factor this into your planning and make sure you're getting the most from it. Likewise, if space is at a premium or the room is an unusual shape, you may have to consider what furniture will make it feel bigger and more spacious.

Choosing your colour scheme should be next. You may want something that makes the room feel light or you may prefer a warmer feel. By identifying the type of ambience you want, you can decide on a colour palette that informs the decisions you make about wallpaper or paint, carpets or flooring and your furniture.

As well as colour, the biggest features of a master bedroom will be the furniture you opt for. There are plenty of choices, from real wood to flat-pack MDF. If you do opt for real wood, you then have to choose which type you like. Pine and solid oak are two of the most popular, so it may boil down to taste and budget. Pine wardrobes, for example, are often a little cheaper and can be bought with a painted or natural finishes; whereas solid oak wardrobes may cost a little more and can deliver a warm, rustic appearance.

Once you've chosen your colours, furniture and focal points, your final step will be to add the finishing touches – such as bedding, wall hangings, rugs, and curtains. These will add character to the room and help it feel like a room you're happy to go to sleep and wake up in.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


{image source: flickr user law_keven at }
I remember the buttercups that used to dot my elementary school playground. 
 I went there for nine years so I knew the field well.  The buttercups would shoot up faster than the blades of grass between mowings.  
{image from wikipedia}
When we were younger, we'd hold them up under eachother's chins & it was, " Do you like butter?" 
A little older and it was, "he loves me, he loves me not"
{He loves me!}
 You never really knew if he was going to love you or not with buttercups because some types have 5 petals and others have 6.
I loved making flower chains & never really grew out of it.  I remember doing them in the Spring as I waited for my turn at long jump in high school track.  One day I remember making necklaces for the other sprinters & somehow convincing even the guys to wear them as crowns...  (My coach must have loooved that ;)
ahahahaha   (It really still makes me laugh out loud.) 
More than anything, I just remember always picking them up & playing with them when I see them.  Long talks on the field with my best friend, scooping down to pick a buttercup, subconsciously.  Crumbling the old flower centers into little pieces between my fingers & rolling them around. 


I love these pics of the plants from NC State...  (above & below) 



It's for pretty much all of these reasons that I've known for a while I wanted to do a buttercup design for my textile line.  When the power went out for days this Summer & we needed to get out of town, we made an impromput visit to see my dad in Illinois & have him meet the baby...  The car ride is 13 hours and it was the first time after Luke was born (in May) that I'd had some time to sketch.  I  worked on "buttercup" in my lap...

{The beginnings of it...  as you can see, drawing doesn't come easily to me & there are lots of erase marks & mess ups}
The design (like all of them) is just an interpretation... not a botanical study.  I add my own little things here & there and I'm sure I leave out pretty important parts, but it's the feeling that I'm after...

{One of my first strike-offs}

I'm working on the final colorways now but I'm really happy with the light earthiness of this first one...

A few more options are on their way & I hope you enjoyed a peek into the process.
Do you have any buttercup memories?

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Garages in High Risk Areas

In city environments like London and Bristol security is at the top of everyone’s list. This is no different when it comes to garages and storage. Garages in high risk areas are often cheap and affordable - but they hold a high price when it comes to chance. There are a lot of crafty fellows out there who will not hesitate a seconds thought to break in, steal and damage property if they see the opportunity. If you are afraid of this happening and are worried your property is at risk you can ensure this doesn’t happen with the right advice and precautions.
If you keep your garage in a high risk area chances are you can’t change the surrounding environment but you can adapt your garage to withstand attempts of a break in. Follow this advice below for peace of mind:

A stronger door
Roller garage doors should be your door of choice. They are industrial, strong and sturdy – a great defence against thieves. With a roller garage door the lock is much harder to break compared to an up and over canopy style. Made out of strong aluminium strips with a tough finish it can’t be kicked in or unlocked without a key. It would take an awful lot of effort for a chancing thief to break through this barrier.

Put steel bars in the windows
If you have windows in your garage you should either brick them up or put steel bars across them. A thief wouldn’t hesitate to put a brick through it if they believed there was a rich bounty inside for them. Thieves can also be crafty and agile getting through the smallest of spaces. No matter how high up or small your garage windows are make sure you remove the risk of an intruder getting in.

Install an alarm
If your garage is in a secluded you don’t want to run the risk of someone spending a lot of time breaking in. With an alarm in place someone will be sure to hear it and the loud sound itself will alarm your intruder.

Automatic lighting
Make sure the garage is well lit. If you have a security light outside that comes on when it detects movement you’ll eliminate any risk of having a thief sneaking around without anyone seeing them.

Install CCTV cameras
CCTV cameras do not come cheap but there are affordable alternatives out there. You can get fake CCTV cameras with a blinking red LED, your everyday thief isn’t going to risk snooping around to find out if they are real or not. Many thieves are repeat offenders so even if they are not doing much they may not be too please about having their faces on camera even if they come across as an innocent passer-by.

Thieves like dark, secluded places where no one can see what they’re up to. With these precautions you can help protect your garage from unwanted intruders. So long as you ensure you have a strong sturdy garage door and your garage should be safe. Luckily there are some great companies out there, whether you are looking for garage doors London or garage doors Bristol be sure to fit the sturdiest style available.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Real Topiary and a Fun Giveaway

I have always loved real topiaries, but have never had one.  Recently I was at a nursery and found this beauty.  It was a little wild looking, but exactly what I was looking for.  The woman there said not to cut it, but to push the wild strays back into the center.  She also said to keep it moist or the leaves would start falling off fast!



I had it on my kitchen island and loved it, but then so did the cat...  (ugh)  After finding it tipped over a couple of times, I knew I had to find a better place for it.

We are having our wood floors refinished and needed to move EVERYTHING out of the living room, kitchen, entry and hall.  What a job!  One good part about moving everything is that I found a great place for the topiary.  It should be safe from being knocked over and I'm not as grossed out by the cat climbing up on this counter....

I love the delicate little leaves. 
If you haven't yet entered my giveaway for Eco Natural Soaps click HERE to enter!
The giveaway ends on Monday, October 1, 2012.
Thanks for your visit!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Demo & Rebuild

I'm back to the construction zone from a whilrwind trip to NYC and, like I've been mentioning for the past few weeks, we're now down to the studs at our place. (!!)  We're reworking the floorplan- closing doorways, adding new ones, moving walls, removing them... plumbing is being moved, windows are getting enlarged, we're adding a fireplace, redoing the bathrooms & kitchen... it's madness!! (but the good kind of madness ;)  We have the air off because there's so much dust flying around & we want to keep it out of our upstairs "apartment" as it's been dubbed... But as I type this morning, I'm hoping it stays warm a little longer because there is definitely a chill in the air & there's no heat for us until we get the bulk of the contruction completed. 

One of the biggest changes we're making is opening up the kitchen to the living room...  Here it is before:

And here it is now:
They've finished sanding down the beams.  The red-brown stain is now GONE and we've exposed the bare pine.  (How I wish that pine had been exposed over the past 40 years, aging gracefully but oh well... It's very raw now & we had it hand scraped & wire brushed.  )  We've also had insulation added between the beams because before there was only a layer of plywood before the roof & we're making it a bit more energy efficient. 
And of course as  you can see... the wall is DOWN!!!  The kitchen is now completely open to the living room.  We also expanded the kitchen two feet to the right (taking space from the dining room) so that it spans the whole width of the living room now. 
Floors are going down this week & next (more on that as soon as I have pics!) and I CANNOT WAIT.  Once we have floors, we can move our things inside from the garage & pod.  Dave went diving in the pod for clothes last week & climbed over all of the front stuff to get to the Fall stuff in the back.... He dug himself a little hole and climbed down into it....  And I  honestly thought he was buried by the stuff at one point.  (thanks to him of course.) 
{it's since been rearranged}
Me, after realizing I hadn't heard him talk in a while:  "Dav, are you okay in there??"
him, very quiet/ far away: "Hellllllllp"
At that point I was about to launch the jogger strollerfrom the pod to the woods behind me as I screamed "DAVE?!!!!!!"
Then I heard "No no no no no!!  I'm fine!!" in a completely normal volume. 
Then laughter.
Oh wow.
He's very lucky I couldn't reach him at that point.
We've had the discussion before of "fright or flight" in emergency situations.  I'm a "fight" kind of girl.  There's tyipcally no hesitation in my reactions and I find myself doing things before I've even thought about them.  Thanks to him, (yes am still bitter ;)  I almost launched our Christmas breakables into the woods. 
Anyway, things are happening around here & I'm in the midst of planning the kithen (and pretty much everything else around here) so I'll be back this week to share some plans!!  Off to some clients for the day & keep your fingers crossed we find our nanny soon!!  My head is busting with things I need to remember & people I need to speak to... send some brain space my way. 
I've never been so busy in my life. 
I'm not at the breaking point yet but feel like I should be. 
Maybe once you actually get here, you're too busy to break. ??? ;)
{at least I've got what matters most}

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A $5 Dresser and an Eco Natural Soaps Giveaway!

My son is in college and renting a house for the first time. We are visiting soon and he asked for a dresser. He said he didn't need anything big. I know that spending a lot of money on a dresser in a college guy's house might be foolish...

So I went out garage saling yesterday and found this little dresser (maybe bedside table?) at a sale. It's solid wood and sturdy and the price was right---$5. I figured that if he didn't want it, we could always use it somewhere.

I sanded it down. 

I put a coat of primer on it.  

I used Semi-Gloss Black paint by Rust-Oleum applied with a foam roller.  It went on very smoothly.

I decided to only paint the outside.  I promise, my son will not care one bit!

I added some knobs that I already had.  I think it was $5 well spent. And the best part--I texted him the pictures and he said it looked perfect!  :)

Now on to the giveaway...
The people from Eco Natural Soap are giving away several items to one lucky winner.
Their products are amazing! I have been using their facial soap for a couple of weeks and my complexion is already looking better.
All of their products are chemical free. They have everything--soaps, makeup, body balms and lip gloss.

The winner will receive their choice of the following:
Two Soaps
One Body Balm
One Lip Balm
How can you win?
It's EASY!
1.  Be a follower of my blog. 
2.  Go to Eco Natural Soap and find your favorite item.  Come back here and leave a comment telling me one item you would choose if you won.
I will choose a winner on Monday, October 1st via Random Number Generator.
Thanks for your visit!
I am linking to the following parties:

DIY Show Off

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top 5 Bizarre claims made for home insurance

Home insurance companies are increasingly bombarded with some of the strangest stories out there with claims that are too far-fetched and sometimes needless, embellished or falsified. Sample these bizarre home insurance claims that will likely have you rolling over with laughter. Be careful not to damage the house, though.

1. Buzzing bee

A bee found its way into a man’s house. The man got so engrossed watching it fly around his head that he got dizzy, fell over and dented his kitchen wall. The man claimed it was obviously the bee’s fault that his kitchen wall was damaged. The bee just wouldn’t buzz off! But, his insurance company would not hear of it. Home insurance does not typically cover insect infestations. If bees won’t buzz off your home, call the exterminator!

2. Hungry hamster

A couple let their hamster with an appetite out of the cage for "play time" only for the furry creature to gnaw through their skirting boards. The couple posted a claim form saying that the “tasty wood” was to blame for the damage and not the hungry hamster. Evidently, the hamster with an appetite did not get to chomp the claims form before it got posted because the form was actually received!

3. Bowling stroke

An insurance company was little bemused when a woman decided to use her hardwood floor to practice her ten pin bowling stroke. The insurance company was even less amused when instead of blaming the heavy ball the woman blamed the hardwood floor for the resulting damage. She claimed the hardwood just wasn’t hard enough! Her insurance company, unsurprisingly, struck out her claim.

4. Wondering dear

A policyholder came home to find a broken sitting room window and a dear wondering around his kitchen. It did not take him long to figure out what had happened. He swiftly filed an insurance claim that the deer had accidentally rammed through his picture window and found its way into his kitchen! However, he soon learned that standard home insurance cover does not usually protect against damage resulting from wild animals.

5. Embarrassing claim

A woman’s kitchen was nearly destroyed by steam when her washing machine got stuck in the middle of a boiling cycle. Her insurance company wouldn’t hear of her claim because according to them she was covered for water damage only and not steam damage! Luckily for the woman, a claims court did not even allow the insurance company’s representatives to speak. The judge reviewed the case closely, laughed and ruled "Water is H2O as is steam – case for the plaintiff."

Turns out bizarre insurance claims stories don’t just come in one way after all.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What's Up

I can barely remember this past week...  We moved into our new house a week ago. 

We're still living on the upper floor because the rest of the house has been gutted, which is actually working out just fine.  Most of our things are packed up & in the garage...  We labeled things as best we could & had a lot of help from our family, but some things have still just ended up "missing."  Right as we were moving into our house, a huge storm hit and the movers got our stuff under cover as quickly as possible so "organization" sort of hit the fan.  We're slowly climbing through the garage in search of some really important (A.K.A.  "work") things.  Dave's whacked his (bald- completely exposed) head on the garage rafters mulitple times during his searches.  :(

Fall is hitting (I loooooove Fall!!!) and it's time to switch over our wardrobes but most of our stuff is buried in a POD in our driveway.  We've had people (on a couple of different instances) walk up to our house & ask if we were having a garage sale!!!  My grandmother was here one day & told the woman asking, "No, it's just junky."  (Thanks Grandmother! ;)

We had a new nanny start last week & it didn't work out so we're on the hunt again.  I've realized I can pretty much deal with stress calmly in any situation- except when it comes to my kids.  When I'm worried about them & who I'm leaving them with, I am not okay. I may not freak out & show it, but inside I pretty much just want to give up & quit everything & just be with them.  This past week, we watched as the new nanny we hired (very sweet, I think?)  do things over & over that just didn't sit right with us.  As the week went on, I realized we'd completely lost trust in her & that it wasn't going to work out.  I'm swamped with deadlines at work & having to constantly check in on the kids &and worry about them being okay or not didn't work out so well.  SO, she's out and now we're on the hunt for Mary Poppins again!  For now, we're trying to make it work. 

We handed the keys over to our old house this weekend (tear!) and getting the holes in the walls patched up & getting all of our things out was so intense that I really don't think I ever want to move again.  (Please remind me of this next time.)  There's just SO. MUCH.  STUFF.  I broke multiple vaccuums & Dave was out until 2 AM getting the house ready Friday night for the Saturday morning walk-through.   We did so much of it with our kids with us because we were afraid to leave them with the nanny, which was one of the hardest parts.  You just can't get as much done holding a 3-month old.

{Bye bye sweet home!!  We loved  you!!}
...And it's onward march!

{It's even more contemporary than our last home, which I'm really excited about!! It's not the home I ever imagined myself living in but I looooove it & can't wait to make it "us"!!}

So... for a very long time, this house is it.  We're done.

Which brings me to the overall conclusion that I want this house to be just right.  Just right to raise our family in.  I want it to flow & work well on a daily basis & then be able to convert easily into party space for gatherings.  At around 2400 square feet, we need to make the most out of it.  I want the materials to feel good & to be perfect for the vibe I'm after.  I'm willing to wait for the right things and I don't want to rush anything.  (Although I can't wait to have a kitchen again!!  And a washing machine too for that matter!! ;) 

{The back view}

The messiest things need to happen first and so one of those "messy" to-dos is sanding down the pine beams on our living room ceiling...  They currently have a dark brown stain on them that hides the old pine beams.  I really want to be able to see & appreciate the wood iteself, so the team from CarrMichael Construction is hard at work, hand-sanding the dark stain off the wood & hand-scraping and wire brushing the wood to give it a rough-hewn look. 

{above, beams before}

{You can see in the pic above that they're getting lighter!!}
Time to start my day but I'll be sure to post progress pics & show you some of my inspiration photos!!  Finegrs crossed for us in the hunt for Mary Poppins!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.