Friday, July 29, 2011

Free Design Color eCourse

I envy people who appear to have this natural talent for putting colors together (I don't envy them in a bad way, I just wish I could do it).  My sister can look at a room and begin rattling about colors to use.  I remember one year I had visited her and she told me she was going to change her dining room to purple & silver.  Well, secretly I thought that was the worse combination, but I just smiled at her.  The next year when I visited, she showed off her dining room, all I could say was “Wow”. 

It generally takes me days, maybe weeks to decide on what colors to use in a room.  I go through picture after picture just to make sure I have the right combination.  I sometimes feel like I’m swimming in a sea of hopelessness when it’s time to decorate a room.  I remember going days with very little sleep worried over my color selection.

I came across a free online Interior Decorating and Design Color eCourse and it helped me out tremendously.  There are days I struggle, but I'm getting better.  They offer other courses as well, so check them out.  Oh, and did I mention it was FREE?

Below are color combination's put together by David Bromstad, he definitely splashes a room with color - this is what I call creativity!  If you want to see more of his work just click on HGTV.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Decorate without Cents

I can't count the times I didn't have a $1 to spare for decorating.  During those times I’ve been known to sit around and stare into space searching my brain trying to determine if there’s anything I can use to do something with.  Most days I’m lucky

When I had completed painting my guest bathroom (my son's bathroom when he's home from college) I felt kind of down because I didn’t have the money to buy anything new to put in there but then I started thinking, and this is what I came up with.

  • ·         The picture hanging on the left is a project my son had completed in the  1st or 2nd grade (he’s now in college), I had it framed during that time and it hung in the guest bedroom, which use to be his bedroom, the colors blend in well.
  • ·         The colorful bowl on top of the toilet was hiding in one of the cabinets gathering dust; just right for spare toilet paper.
  • ·         I never used the cup holder over the vanity.  Who does?  Two or three Christmases ago my sister put a candle in my stocking stuffer, I thought the candle was cute but couldn’t figure out what to do with it - the colors blend well.
  • ·         The flowers are something I put together from another flower arrangement, and the cute chair holding them use to contain shower gel and other bath accessories that my son had given to me for Mother’s Day several years back.  I used up the gel, the chair was thrown in the closet; it’s nice to know I could finally make use of it!
  • ·         Looking in the mirror you can see two pictures hanging.  What better place for people to meet my family but in the bathroom while sitting on the throne  :-)
  • ·         If you look carefully, you can see where I painted a green border around the mirror.  Who said because you don't have money you have to have a boring mirror?

Here's another shot of the bathroom
  • ·         I put an old computer rack next to the vanity for towels.  I had gotten this from an office I worked at year ago.  I use to keep my printer and paper on top of it.
  • ·         I keep the wash cloths & hand towels in the toy box underneath.
  • ·         I’m sure we all have baskets somewhere… all of my son’s old cologne was placed in the basket (this is cheap cologne he use to get in his stocking stuffer when he was younger, nothing expensive) the best way to get rid of old cologne is to use it for air freshner; the teddy bears just make it cute.
    Sorry, I don’t have a before picture.  But this is a fine example of looking around your house and recycling what you have, it doesn’t cost you a dime.

    Okay, I know most of you are noticing the paint job on the wall.  Right when I was almost completed painting I began experiencing extreme muscle spasms.  I had to stop painting for a while.  It was a month or two before I could get back into painting but I had to move slow and limit my stretching.  Unfortunately, I never finished touching up the bathroom…. Hey, I never claimed to be perfect.  :-)

    Here are two clips I found – I’m sure you will enjoy them, they helped me tremendously.


    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    Build a pantry

    If you want something built, build it yourself....

    Growing up in Georgia I was accustomed to pantries, I think every home in Georgia had a pantry.  When I moved to the Bahamas and we built our house it was the one thing I wished for but we never took time to build.  All of my dishes, china, storage containers, seasonings and canned goods were stacked in my kitchen cabinets.

    If you’re a Bahamian you'll understand when I explain we built our laundry room on the back patio.  Later we enclosed it and built our family room.  That left some space between the house and the laundry room.

    Over the years that little space served as a storage area for "anything you don't know what to do with".  Twice I asked persons to give me a quote on how much it would cost to install some shelves... they never got back with me.  My whole house is an eye sore, but that little spot was a major eye sore.  Then I remembered, I had a bookshelf in the guest bedroom that I wanted to get rid of, what if???  And then I remembered my friend who told me how she had one of the lumber stores cut her wood to size...  So I did some research on building a pantry, looked at pictures and took measurements.

    Pictures that inspired me

    Satisfied with what I came up with I drove to City Lumber to purchase my wood.  Those guys were very helpful, they also recommended what size screws to use and plugs, I would recommend them anytime.
    This was my first attempt at building anything so I was a bit skeptical.  I had some problems getting the shelves leveled, and I used Liquid Nails, along with the screws just to make sure the shelves were sturdy.  The one mistake I made was when painting I thought I was using white paint but it wasn't until after the 3rd shelf I realized I was using light gray paint - but it's a pantry, nobody will notice and I won't tell!  All together it took me about 3 days (about 2-3 hours after work each day) and one weekend.  I did lots of sanding to make sure the ends were smooth.

    BEFORE (main house left, laundry room right)



    Pushed to the back is the bookshelf, on the left are the shelves I installed.  I wanted to make sure the shelves were aligned as closely as possible.  My biggest difficulty was leveling; another set of hands would have made things easier.  Because there’s no overhead light I placed battery lights on the wall by each shelf, at nights each shelf can be illuminated.  I love pictures so I hung some pictures on the wall to the right.  Not only is it storage for my can goods it's also good storage for my small electrical appliances saving me lots of kitchen counter space.  It isn’t much, just some wood nailed onto the wall but I feel it’s one of my biggest accomplishments.  After 20+ years I finally got my pantry!

    I went overboard buying paint

    If you’re not careful, although you’re trying to save money, you may find yourself spending more than you expect.  That happened to me….  

    After completing the two foyers I was so thrilled with the transformation a can of paint could make I went on a paint spending spree.  My sister had told me about the “oops” paint, paint that was returned or not purchased and I found myself going to Kelly’s, Sherwin Williams and AID looking and buying “oops”.  It wasn’t until I took inventory of my stock that I realized I had purchased three gallons of paint that was almost similar in color - three different shades of light green, then there was this other color I purchased I didn't even like, I bought it because it cost around $15 I regrettably used it in my Master Bath thinking it would look better on the walls then it did in the can....  So remember “oops” paint is okay only if you’re looking for a particular color and you're ready to paint.

    Another difficulty was determining the types of paint to buy.  At the time I only knew about two types of paint high-gloss and flat.  For my door trims I purchased two gallons of high gloss (a maroonish & evergreen) when actually one quart of each would have been enough.  I'm a little better now, but I still struggle, the important thing is research.  There's a lot of information out there to help us out, we just need to look for it.

    Here’s an interesting video that helped me out. 

    And you can try this paint calculator if you're unsure about how much paint to buy.

    Paint may be reasonable in the U.S. but in The Bahamas paint can be expensive.  Two gallons of high gloss cost approx $60 per gallon.  The “oops” paint that I purchased cost me somewhere around $10 - $20 per gallon, so at the time it wasn’t a cost saving.  But now as I work on projects I seldom have to purchase paint, so I guess I’m beginning to see a savings, but it’s a pain trying to store it.

    Painting can be one of the cheapest and easiest ways to improve your home, but wait until you’re ready to paint before buying paint, determine the color and type of paint you’ll need, check your inventory and most importantly don’t rush, take your time deciding on the color, paint might be cheap but it’s a lot of work and sweat having to paint over your work – believe me, I’ve done it plenty of times!

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Flirting with colors…

    My foyer is like a T- junction; satisfied with my first project I decided to dig into the next portion of my foyer. This time rather than using a sea sponge I decided to use my mesh bath sponge, which was already worn out, and while I was happy with beige I wanted more color.
    This section of the foyer accessed all of the bedrooms & bath so I had to think about painting the doors, door frames, and bookshelf.
    I decided to paint the door frames two different colors burgundy & green. For the walls I decided to use splashes of burgundy, light teal & tan. My bookshelf was my biggest dilemma. The books were collecting dust and there was nothing appeasing about the shelf. I decided to collect all of the pictures I had scattered throughout the house and place them in one centralize location, my bookshelf, and dump all of the outdated text books.
    This is the first foyer I completed, and when you look back you can see the bookshelf that was painted and photos added. The advantage of having pictures in a centralize spot is that anyone having to use the guest bath can stop and muse over family pictures. The bath door frame is burgundy and the inner frame is green.
    Here's a closeup of the paint technique using a mesh bath sponge.
    I'm having a fling with paint and I love it!

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    When life deals you lemons, make lemon meringue pie. When your salary is cut go buy paint.

    How would you feel if you had just put your son in college and your company announced a salary cut? More companies like mine were looking for means of survival during this economic tsunami. I knew it had to be done, and I knew it was temporary, but the timing sucked…

    I had a choice – Complain or Do
    My house is over 20 years old and the walls, which were always white, hadn’t been painted for most of those years, the thought of hiring a painter was out of the question.

    My sister Sharon always used colors artfully in her home and I thought about a feathered technique she had did. I called her to get some pointers but afterward decided to do a sponge technique I had heard about.

    My foyer, the smallest area in the house, was my first attempt. It was my first official paint job, I made lots of mistakes, but let’s not focus on that right now, it was the first time my walls had felt color, be proud for me!

    I have since repainted my foyer, but this was my first fling with paint, I'll never forget my first...