Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Picking out (basement) paint colors

Hey there! How the heck are ya?

I’ve been really excited to tell you about the paint colors in the basement – really excited. I don’t know why exactly, I guess maybe because it’s a whole new floor to decorate. (About the best. thing. ever. for someone like me.) But it’s also that I’m going a direction with colors that I’ve never gone before. And it’s got me giddy.

I finally finished the painting of the main/family room in the basement just tonight. Remember when I said it was going really fast? Yeahhhh. Well, that was a week ago and I worked on it pretty much every night. Not “really fast.”

It took forever, and at times I wondered why I didn’t just pay to have it done. But most of the time, I kind of enjoyed it. And at the risk of sounding hokey, I feel fortunate that we have a basement to paint, that we’ve been able to finish our basement and that I’m able-bodied to paint it myself. Cheesy I know, but true.

And I am IN LOVE with the result. But first, I want to share my paint plan for the whole lower level.

I’m taking every color from one paint swatch:

  benjamin moore grays

They are Benjamin Moore colors that I’m having mixed at Sherwin Williams (they go on sale all the time so are cheaper and I’m just plain in love with it now). Did you know they have the BM formulas? (Or at least they say they do.) Home Depot has Lowe’s colors as well (and vise versa I believe).

I’ve never done this anywhere else in our house, but I’m using the different tones of the colors throughout the spaces.

The lightest color, Pebble Beach, will be the laundry room:

pebble beach, benjamin moore

The lighter colors on the swatch show up darker on the computer screen, and the darker colors show up lighter. What the? Oh well.

I tried to examples of each of the colors and it was hard! But Dear Lillie had two rooms painted in Pebble Beach, and they are gorgeous!:

pebble beach bathroom dear lillie pebble beach bedroom dear lillie

OH my gah. Beautiful!

Isn’t that a lovely color?

The next color is Silver Lake and it will go in the bathroom:

silver lake, benjamin moore

I couldn’t find anything “in real life” in this color, surprisingly. I’m really excited about the tile I hope to use in the bathroom and I think this will go with it beautifully!

I showed you a bit of the next one last week – it’s the one I used in the large family room space:

marina gray, benjamin moore

I had it lightened 25 percent because I was concerned it would get a little too dark. I’m so glad I did – it’s perfect!

We LOVE it. Love love love. Every time hubby walks down there he comments on it. (So does the Bub, which cracks me up every time.)

It’s a very warm gray – so cozy, but cool:

marina gray benjamin moore moon chairs

Doesn’t it look great with the moon chairs? Awesome!

I’m not using the next two colors on the swatch (Timber Wolf and Hearthstone). I have a BIG accent wall in mind for the Gunmetal color:

gunmetal, benjamin moore

I’ve been hashing out ideas for that wall in my head for months now. I want to do something fun and a little different. I love that I get to stretch a little bit in the basement and do things I may not do in the rest of the house.

The final color is the one I’m most excited about. Like REALLY FREAKIN’ EXCITED:

graphite, benjamin moore

This color is actually a bit lighter on the screen then it is on the paint chip – it’s dark. And I love it.

Here it is on a bathroom vanity:

graphite vanity


It’s going on the walls (yes, the walls) in hubby’s office. There will be a white treatment around the bottom of the walls, and this will go above. I saw a black room with white trim on a TV show a year ago and I’ve been planning to do this ever since.

It was wicked cool. :)

This color isn’t black, but it’s dark. I’ll do more of a matte finish with this one to keep it from getting shiny.

I can’t wait!! And hubby is all in – it’s gonna be awesome. (In my head anyway.)

This is a different way of picking out paint colors for me, and I gotta say, it’s the easiest yet. :) Seriously, it took all of five minutes. I especially love these grays because they really act as a neutral – pretty much every accent color works with them. (I’ve tried quite a few.)

So how do you pick out paint colors? Go room by room or plan it out and match? Go tonal or every color in the rainbow? Do you like the calming feel of the similar colors or do you need more spice?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dining room turned library progress

Hope you’ve had a fantastic weekend! I almost started five different projects over the three days but decided I just needed to FOCUS SARAH.

Remember my list? Well the end of the month is quickly approaching and I’m not even half way through the to do list I wanted to complete by the 31st. So I decided to tackle a couple of the items and I didn’t touch anything else all weekend. I need to get a least half of the list marked off, I mean really. That’s just sad.

Last time you saw the dining room, it was kind of a mess:

OK, it’s been a mess for three months. :)

When we had the basement dry walled they patched up the spots in here for free. (They needed to be fixed because I used Liquid Nails to put up the trim in here years ago. Don’t do that if you think you’ll EVER take it down. Ahem.)

Anyhoo! This wall is the first thing you see when you walk in our house and I was tired of it being a mess. So I pulled out the primer and got busy:

primed walls

Already sooo much better!

The thing about paint – I always procrastinate it to no end, but when I get going with it, I actually find it quite enjoyable. I think it has a lot to do with the instant gratification thing.

And the fact that I didn’t have to cut in around much this time helped too. ;)

So while I had the primer out, I got the cabinets started:

primed cabinets

And today I got paint for the walls and got that going:

It’s a very light color called Abalone and it’s SO pretty. Maybe a little too pretty though –I was really happy with it till the sun started setting and the whole room looked pink.

You can’t really tell in the pics, but it’s definitely pinky. UGH. I’m trying to get rid of the pink undertones in our front rooms, not keep them.

So that is awesome. :) I’m going to look for a different color tomorrow.  It’s rare that a color I pick doesn’t work out, but when it happens you just gotta role with it – and this time I didn’t follow my own advice of painting it on poster board and leaving it in the room. :) The area above those cabinets will be bookcases and the background on that wall will be different anyway. For now I just wanted to get it looking decent and uniform.

By the way, this color would be divine in a baby girl nursery. Divine. It’s really a lovely color!

I got some trim work taken care of this weekend as well – I picked up a side panel for the end of the cabinets and attached it, then primed:

You can see on the pics above that I also got the cabinets trimmed out on bottom – baseboards and then most of the quarter round. I used scraps of what I had but I need to get more. :)

Priming the cabs really brought out the grain, which I knew was going to happen – I gave it a good sanding which helped a bit. I’m using a semi gloss white paint on them and between coats I’ll sand again.

But here’s a good idea of how it will look with hardware and the butcher block:

I’m getting really excited at how it’s coming together! Next up – finish the trim, at least two coats on the cabs, paint the walls (AGAIN), and then sand down, stain and install the butcher.

Then we can get going on the bookcases! (I’m almost ready Dad! Want to come over this weekend?)  :)

Here’s a review of what the room looked like at the start of this year:

It was a lovely room (albeit dark!), but we just didn’t use it. I was tired of that, so we’re going to make it work better for us.

And in the process it’s getting a little update. ;)

I’m SO psyched to get this moving along and have a comfy “library” to hang out in. We may have some awesome bookcases for a while and no furniture though. I’ll be scouring Craigslist for sure. ;)

So, do you see my vision for this room?

Hope your Memorial Day was wonderful! A huge thank you to our past and present military (and families)! We appreciate you so very much.

P.S. One more day of the Canon Rebel Giveaway!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Avocado banana ice cream

OK, bear with me here. When I first heard about this dessert I was pretty cynical. I like bananas. I LOVE avocados. But together? Frozen? Um, not exactly appetizing.

But because I have been known to eat an entire vat of guacamole all by myself, and I have been known to do this often, I just had to try it.

A friend told me about it earlier this week and was raving. She said she couldn’t believe how good it was. I was so curious I didn’t waste much time making it myself.

My friend found it on Pinterest, then I got home and searched and found it immediately as well. We both used the recipe found here at Averie Cooks

I had everything but the avocado, so I picked up a ripe one today. It took minutes to make. And did I mention the best part? You do not need an ice cream machine!

There are only six ingredients:

Avocado Banana Ice Cream:

1 ripe avocado
1 medium banana
1/2 cup milk
1 cup ice (optional but I think it helps give it a frozen consistency)
1/2 cup sugar (I think you could do a little less. I may try 1/4 next time.)
tsp vanilla

The only time in this recipe is the freezing – cut up the banana and freeze it beforehand:

Mine was mostly frozen when I made it, but not completely. I was a little anxious to try it. :)

You just dump everything in the blender:

blender ice cream

Looks SO appetizing, I know. ;) Just WAIT.

Blend till smooth.

This is when I noticed a tiny bit of avocado on the sides of the blender and while pushing them in to the mixture I gave it at quick taste. Even drawing the spoon up to my mouth, I didn’t believe it was going to be good.

But let. me. tell. you. IT IS GOOD. I quite literally said out loud, “NO way.” And then I tasted it again to make sure.

Um, I’m not kidding you, this is amazing. I tried it again. And again.

Mine wasn’t quite frozen enough, (frosty, but not frozen) so I poured it into a container, tasted it some more. Put it in the freezer, couldn’t stop thinking about it, went back 20 minutes later to check on it (duh, not frozen), tried it again.

Still GOOD.

About 90 minutes later I gave up and got it out:

No I didn’t eat the whole bowl. I wanted to.

OK seriously, it’s scrumptious. Smooth and creamy and sweet. It would have been just as good as a smoothie too (just don’t freeze afterwards). I’ve also heard that it does not get brown with time.

I am going to play with adding a little less sugar next time and maybe just a tad less vanilla. I think it would be just as flavorful with a little less.

It’s been smokin’ hot today and will be this weekend, so I’m going to try and make it last. ;)

I mentioned it on Facebook earlier this week and some were talking about avocado and chocolate? A pudding I think? I’ll believe anything after trying this. Have you tried this ice cream? Tried a weird food combo that was surprisingly good? Two of mine – ranch dressing on pizza and Wendy’s fries dipped in a chocolate frosty. ;) YUM.

Hope you have a LOVELY Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An update on the basement

Hey hey! It’s been awhile since I’ve updated on the basement progress because…well, there hasn’t been much progress. ;)

It kind of pooped out because…WELL. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Drats.

About seven weeks ago we had the drywall put up and mudded. That felt like a HUGE accomplishment. It obviously transformed the space into real rooms. Pretty awesome.

Since then the guys have primed every surface and painted the ceiling. I thought I would be able to do it but really? It would have taken months. They got it done in two days.

When the walls were installed, we had to go ahead with the shower because there was some drywall that had to be installed around it:

basement shower

Originally I had planned on tiling the whole thing, but an insert was so. much. easier. For me. Because they did installed the insert, and I was going to do the tile. ;) That little area to the right of the shower will be open shelving, so that will be a nice little detail.

The guys came a few weeks ago and installed the trim around the basement steps, which had to be done before carpet:

trim on stairway

It was pretty straightforward – just some boards trimmed out on top with quarter round, then baseboards around the landing. (On that wall they had to notch out the board to fit around the steps, but on the other walls the board just fit in next to the steps – much easier.)

A cement wall went up the wall on the stairway and created a little ledge, so the guys did a really nice job of trimming that out:

I hang extra frames for projects in this stairway so they free up storage space. That’s why some of them are empty. :)

The recessed lights have been finished out with their cans, and it made a HUGE difference! I love how much light we have down there, and that everything is on different switches:

recessed lights basement

We went with a lightly textured ceiling just like upstairs. I love the look of flat ceilings, but especially in the basement where there may be a need to repair it eventually (to get to wiring, plumbing, etc.), I wanted to go with something that would be easily patched and textured again.

We’ve only purchased a couple light fixtures so far, and the guys installed them for free:

lowes industrial pendant light

I showed you some of the options here and I actually went with what was my third choice for this spot! When I went back to purchase the lights I just loved the industrial look of these and the price tag. I got them at Lowe’s – I’m not sure what they’re called but I’ve seen them at every Lowe’s I’ve looked. (Hold the phone, I found them online here.)

This spot will eventually have cabinets below with a sink:

That area will probably be the last thing we do in the basement, as far as finishing it goes. But I have big plans for this wall!

I envision a wall of tile, something like this maybe:

tile wall


Or this. I looove this:

quatrefoil tile

I’m bummed because this had no source when I pinned it. Any idea where I can get it? I’m sure it’s mad expensive.

There won’t be any upper cabinets on that wall, just lowers. But I may do some floating shelves. I’ll just have to see how it comes together and what kind of storage we need. It will be just be a very small snack/drink area, so eventually we hope to have a small fridge and maybe a microwave down there too.


But like I said, that’s WAY down the line. I just like to plan ahead. ;)

I had hoped to have carpet installed next, and then have everything trimmed out after that – I figured we could live without trim and doors for quite a while. And I was going to wait to do the tile in two rooms later as well. But then the guys told me the tile and the trim should really be done before the carpet so that basically shot my entire plan.

Sooo now, we are hoping to get at least the trim done next month, and the carpet done by July. And here a couple months ago I thought we’d be done early – the original plan was to be done by July, and then I thought it may be June. Now it will probably be August. Or later. Probably later. Dangah.

But there is still plenty that I can do and I started tonight. At 9 p.m. No better time, right? I’ve had the paint for the basement for awhile, and I finally bit the bullet and started painting.

I put on my paint shirt:

I don’t wipe my hands on rags or paper towels, I use this shirt. ;) It has every paint color in our house on it. I’ve had it since the day we moved in. I will never get rid of it. Someday it will be framed. ;)

So anyhoo, I went after it and because there is no trim and no carpet, it’s going REALLY fast. I only stopped to write this post and it was hard to walk away. I could have easily gotten the half of the whole family/playroom area done tonight.

I’ll talk to you more about the paint soon, but for now I’ll tell you that it’s a Benjamin Moore color called Marina Gray that I had mixed at Sherwin Williams:

benjamin moor marina gray

I had it lightened 25 percent because I was worried it would be too dark. And up till I painted I was still worried about that, but I LOVE IT. It is a lovely color and I’m really excited about it. It went on like buttah too.

I’m also excited that I got it during a sale, with a coupon so I spent less on SW paint than I would have at the hardware store. Boo. yah.

So there you go, the latest basement update. I know you’ve been waiting, practically beside yourself because you were so anxious to hear more about it. You can relax now that you know. ;)

The plan now is to finish painting then install baseboards in the whole basement. I’ll bring the saw down there and that should go pretty quick. (Famous last words.) I figure by the time I’m done with all that (I am not putting baseboards up near doorways till they install those), we’ll be able to afford to inch forward a little more.

It’s so hard to be patient, but at least I’ve got plenty to keep me busy while I wait. That's a good thing. Right?!

So have you seen any cool tile that would look good on the bar/kitchenette wall? Any idea where I can find that awesome quatrefoil tile?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Refreshing the living room

Hello there! I hope you had a fantastic weekend! It was a good one here – I got SO much done. And had some fun. Just the right mix. ;)

I’ve been making some changes to the living room over the past year or so and I am really loving how it’s coming along. I know living rooms are typically more “fancy,” but I don’t really want fancy in our house. It’s a big, open room so we spend quite a bit of time out there. The Bub plays in the living room more than he does any other room downstairs, so it needs to be comfy. Even though I don’t want fancy, I do like this space to have a little flair.

As some of you know, we got new hardwoods last fall, courtesy of a fridge leak and great insurance. (It so would not have happened otherwise.)

The floors made a HUGE difference in that space, but I’ve really wanted a rug all this time. I’ve been looking for MONTHS and I finally found the right one. I started with a cream rug back in January from World Market, and I loved it – but once I put it down I knew it was too small (6.9 by 9.6 I think). And the day I got it, a visitor came in with shoes on and I had some major sweats. I didn’t want to live worrying about the dirt that would show.

So it went back, and the floor has been bare again. :) I decided I wanted to go with a natural material like a jute, because it would hold up well and I love the look of them. But it was the feel I was worried about, so I researched a TON, read a lot of reviews and tested a few out in the stores.

And then I waited for a sale. ;)

Last week I got the ONE:Pottery Barn Two Tone Diamond Jute Rug

I went with the 8 by 10 size and it was on sale for just over $400 – one of the best deals I’ve found!

I loved that it was the natural look, but had two different colors and had just a slight design to it:

I was afraid a full jute rug would be the exact same color as our sofa and wash everything out, so when I got home with this one I realized it was a good call:

I have a very confusing relationship with that couch – I love that it’s nice and deep and the cushions are oh-so-comfy. I struggle big time with the color and the fabric. I would have had it recovered by now, the the back cushions are sewed on. NICE. I may still do it, I just need to check out my options.

AnyHOO…lately, I’ve decided to just work with the color, not against it. And that’s another reason I really, really like this rug. It pulls in the color of the couch and makes it not stand out as much.

It’s way softer than sisal, and softer than most jute rugs I’ve looked at. It’s not baby butt soft or anything, but it’s not bad at all to sit on (which is good for the kiddo):

pottery barn jute rug

And it’s like a little foot massage when you walk on it. :)

I love that keeps this room from getting too serious – the fringe on the ends helps with that:

large nail head trim chair

The 8 by 10 size is perfect for this space – at first I had it running the opposite way, and it wasn’t right. It’s amazing how switching the direction of your rug can make a HUGE difference in a room! Try it. ;)

I like that it goes under the sofa just a bit:

pottery barn jute rug

You can see I don’t accessorize our coffee tables. (This one is from Garden Ridge.) Around here, a flat surface is a Lego surface, so really, there’s no point. :)

I put it under the sofa a bit because I didn’t want the rug to go under the desk chair on the other side of the room:

cream desk homegoods

I don’t think I’ve shown you this desk yet! I got it about a year ago at HomeGoods and luuuuurve it. It’s such a pretty little piece. I have a plan to change it up a bit, but I’ve had that plan for almost a year now and it hasn’t happened yet soooooo, I’m showing you the desk. ;)

For years, a chair that went with the sofa sat in that corner. Lately I’ve wanted to try and create more “vignettes” in this space – it’s a big room with soaring ceilings and it didn’t feel cozy to me before. Now it feels so much warmer – I adore this desk and how different it makes the space look!:

desk by window I did a tiny bit of rearranging by moving the round table over in the corner:

For no other reason than I just wanted to move something around. ;) I never move furniture in our house, so even a little table feels like I did something BIG.     

So this space is one of my favorite before and afters. Early on it looked like this:

We really loved it at the time, just like everything in this house. I love (most) changes every step of the way, but it sure is fun to see how different the same room looks years later:

A couple of winters ago I started the process by adding new window treatments (that I made myself) and adding a dresser (that was in the Bub’s nursery) to brighten it up a bit:

And now it’s really come together:

jute rug living room

It’s taken a few years of waiting for the right pieces and I’m SO glad I've been patient. Sometimes it’s a good thing it takes me forever and a day to do anything.

There’s still a BIG project I want to work on next, and it involves the walls. And ladders. OH MY.

I think picking out a rug is one of the hardest decorating choices, hands down. Do you? Part of it is the cost issue, but it’s also because they make a HUGE statement in a room!

**You can see how I made the terrariums on the desk here.
**Check out the DIY Pottery Barn pillows on the cheap here.
**And more about the bookcase here

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I think I have a problem

Do you ever have one of those days/weeks/months where it seems like everything in your house/life is a total disaster? Not relationship-wise, but clutter and crap-wise?

Like you go to look for something, and for the fifth time in one day, you can’t find it because your closet/car/desk is a total and complete and utter DISASTER?

And do you feel like a horrible wife and mom at those moments?

I do. I have them about once a week (on a good week) and those are the moments when I declare to the heavens (sometimes with a fist to the air) that I am going to get my life completely decluttered and organized once and for all DANGIT.

And then I get back in my messy car and go to Michael’s and leave the bags of Michael’s stuff in there for three days and totally forget my cry to the heavens.

Well, not completely. I had one of those moments this week, and today I started on a couple of my problem areas – the dirty clothes in the master closet and the numerous stacks of magazines around the house.

I did four loads of laundry this morning before we left for the day (and put them away – that’s double points or something) and then this evening I started on one of the big issues in our house.

The itty bitty problem I have:

Yep, the magazines. And catalogs. I can’t let go of them, but I don’t have time to read them. So I keep them, thinking that I’ll miss out on something:

magazines and catalogs

I may just shrivel up and DIE if I don’t see that one thing, dontcha know. So I keep them. You know, for that day I dream up in my head where I will have time to leisurely sit around under an umbrella outside with a fruity drink in hand and will go through all of them. Birds will sing. And pigs will fly.

You know. That day.

I do this about once a year, if not more. The piles in the bedroom, family room and bathroom (oh come on, you know you have them there too) get to be too much, and I just have to bring them all to one spot to start the decrapification.

A BIG part of the problem is catalogs. I’m in lurrrve with catalogs. The are free and chock full of inspiration. Like blogs. ;)

This time I found one full of summer inspiration, but it was LAST summer:

pottery barn summer catalog

That’s a toss. As much as it hurts me. Physically hurts people.

As much as I love Christmas, I tossed that catalog too. But I kept the Halloween one. Because I paid for that one:

It only makes sense. ;) And it’s only five months away you know.

I also found not one but TWO “house” lists I’ve made:

That one is from two years ago I think? The second list I found was one I made after I couldn’t find this one. So that’s awesome.

Tonight I had kind of had it. I needed to get control of at least one out of control thing around here. I did a super fast purge, which included putting every single catalog or beauty mag in the recycle pile:

I didn’t even look at them, I just put them in the pile. My heart can’t take actually looking at them. (Mind you, I’ve already looked at them. I keep them for just in case I missed something I want to tear out. It’s a GREAT process.) ;)

When I get to this point with the mags/catalogs, I always give myself a rule and don’t buy anymore new ones till I get through them. I’m pretty good at sticking to that, but Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, West Elm and IKEA are not. They just keep sending me more.

And that’s as far as I got…for today. I went from 140 to about 70:

I’ll separate them and go through a few at time, when I have time. Some, like House Beautiful or Traditional Home I may keep and place on the bookshelves in our transformed dining room. (Someday.)

But I need to get through them soon, so I can buy some more. It’s almost time for the July issues you know. ;)

So tell me I’m not alone. Do you have those mini freak out moments when you feel like ever.y.thing. is a total mess? Do you swear you’re going to organize your life perfectly every time? Do you hoard magazines and catalogs like me?