New Rug Leads To Some More Hard Decisions

My life is so hard.

We just found the perfect rug for the laundry room… and that forced me to make some hard, life-altering decisions. But now I look back on it and realize that it was the best thing to ever happen to me.

Okay, enough with the silliness. LOOK AT MY NEW RUG! YAYYY


The rug is from Urban Outfitters. I really enjoy their rug selection – the rugs are always well-designed and reasonably priced. I’ve been checking their website constantly, hoping for a suitable rug for either the laundry room or the green bathroom.

I was really thrilled to find this rug – the colors are PERFECT for the laundry room.


The blue on the rug is a CLOSE match to our walls… it’s basically a shade darker of the same color. It’s serendipity, I tell you.

And the dark gray… you know it. Goes perfectly with our dark gray cabinets.


I’m frustrated that I can’t get a photo showing both the rug and the cabinets. Close your eyes and visualize the previous two photos on top of each other. That’s what my laundry room looks like! YAYYY

Of course, a new purchase for the house ALWAYS leads to more decisions that we need to make. I’ve been thinking about choosing fabrics for the laundry room for a while, but wanted to wait until we got a rug because it’s easier to find fabrics to go with a rug than to find a rug to go with fabric choices.

For now, I needed to find two fabrics for these two purposes:

fabric locations laundry room

I just went straight to Tonic Living, because I really like their fabric selection. There are many other online fabric shops, but they have SO MANY FABRIC CHOICES that it’s easy to get overwhelmed at these sites.

I still got overwhelmed at Tonic Living with all the great fabrics, so I just narrowed it down and down until I had several choices. Then I put them all around a photo of my rug. I used the Pages application for this step.

fabric dump

clockwise from bottom left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

As you can see, I also put a dark gray background at the top and a light blue background at the bottom to see how the fabrics would look with our two main colors in the room.

Then I chose my four favorite fabrics and played with them:

fabric choices 1

fabric choices 2

I really like both choices, but I liked the second one slightly better. I did a mock-up of the whole room in Pages just to see how everything would look together, along with some more additions to the room that we’ll make in the coming weeks.

laundry room design 1

This really helped me visualize the room. I played around with all kinds of fabrics, colors on the shelf, the colors for the shelf itself and the folding counter, the hanging bar, etc etc. I finally landed on this design and it has been NICK APPROVED. YAYYY

I just had to torture myself some more and do the other side, too:

laundry room design 2

That little door with the hole in it will house our cats’ fancy litter box. The design isn’t final yet – it all depends on Nick’s progress there and what he figures out as he goes along. That part will be his project.

After all of this hard work, I feel an odd sense of peace. The path has been set – we just need to walk it. YAYYY

I’ll order the fabric samples just to make sure they look good in person ($1 each at Tonic Living) and continue trying to figure out a lighting solution for the room. I’m leaning towards buying a metal pendant from a big box store and spray painting it yellow.

I’ll be back on Thursday to show you another little addition to the laundry room! We gotta hang it up first (that’s a hint). YAYYY


Finding a Home For My Swirly, Colorful Painting

I thought it was time to get started on the art for our living room. I saw this beautiful art installation at an Anthropologie store in Austin (at the Domain) and I wanted to recreate it for our home.

art at anthro

It’s much more majestic in person – it’s huge, spanning the entire wall behind the cash registers, and it’s outlined in gold paint.

But I didn’t want to get started on this without doing a test drive first. What if it didn’t look good in our living room? And what colors would I use?

So, I did a much smaller version of the artwork.

sketch for art

With the help of the photo of the artwork on the laptop, I sketched out this outline. But before I put pencil to paper, I put tape to define the art space and to divide it into three parts to fit into our three large frames in the living room. If you look closely, you’ll see the tape – along the bottom, the top, and between the three sections. You can see the tape better in the next photo.

tape on painted artwork

It was hard trying to choose the colors I wanted to use. I also was somewhat limited by the acrylic colors I had and they didn’t take too well to color mixing, or I don’t know how! I wish I took color theory or something in college. I took a bunch of drawing classes, but no painting ones. Regrets, terrible regrets.

The tape was really helpful when it was time to paint. As you can see above, I painted over the tape and then it was easy to remove the paint from the tape. All I did was to add a bit of water to the tape and then wipe it away with tissue.

no paint on tape anymore

I wasn’t completely happy with the color choices I made, but this is what I ended up with:

completed artwork... hmm

Now it was time for the big test. I brought it to the living room and held it up to see how it would look in the space.

My face looked like this:

Old photo of Janella - from late November, when she was around 6 weeks old. She was so tiny!

It didn’t look right. The art was whimsical and the living room was more simple, modern, and had clean lines. The painting, not so much.

But I did like the painting. So, I thought about where else in the house I could put it in. I held it up at different places and finally arrived at my bedroom.

Here’s what it looks like (sorry for the MESSY bed and the blurry shot, I was holding a squirming Janella in my arms).

painting over bed

I think it works better in there, but the bright colors don’t really go with our chandelier. I downloaded a free trial of Photoshop Elements and played around with the colors.

painting over the bed, after photoshop

I think this could work! I can add outlines of silver paint, like how the original art did with gold paint, and paint the sides in silver as well.

I have a few large pieces of plywood in the garage that I’ll use for this project. Since I’ll be using plywood and not canvas or paper, I think wall paint should work just fine. This gives me much more choices in colors without worrying about color mixing!

Off I go to Home Depot or Lowe’s to pick up a few paint chips and figure out a good color scheme.

I’m not sure whether I will be doing a triptych for this room or do it on one large piece of plywood. Let’s see. What do you think? I also plan to add mirrors behind the lamps on both sides of the bed. Maybe round mirrors to offset all the sharp lines. We’ll see…

It’s great how doing small-scale samples can help us make better decisions for our home. Along with the help of technology, of course!

What will we do with the still-empty frames above our living room sofa?

ribba frames

Do another small-scale painting, of course. I think I will try making some swirly black art, like I talked about 3,221 years ago. I thought I should go with something with a bit more color, but my original plan is probably the best one. Funny how that works out.

Plan for Guest Bedroom Finalized! Now I can sleep…

Last night, while I was in bed and hoping that Janella would make the transition to the crib successfully (she did! yay!), I decided to formulate some kind of plan for the guest bedroom.

Why now? Aren’t we focusing on the laundry room?

Yes, but the cabinet painting is taking forever (I can only get an hour or two every night, but only if Nick gets home early and doesn’t have any work to complete at home) and I feel like I’m not productive, even if I’m making progress, because it ISN’T DONE YET.

Making plans — now that’s very productive. At least, it is to me. So, that’s what I did last night.

Instead of just showing you my plans and walking away, I’m going to take you through the process of planning. I’m not a interior designer (dream job!), but this is a good way to see how a few pictures of inspiration can really help you get ideas for a room design.

Here we go.

The Room:

Sorry for the bad picture. It’s hard to take a good photo when the light is so strong and when I took this, the roller shade wasn’t in yet.

The Process:

I just opened Pages on a whim and wanted to see if I could make an image that resembled my guest room using shapes like squares, triangles, and circles…

guest bedroom 1

Not half bad. It’s not Photoshop, but it works in giving me a nice visualization of the room.

I originally thought I wanted to paint the nightstands white and add white curtains, but this photo made me go BLAH. Too much white.

I went over to my Pinterest and looked at this duvet, which I really love but won’t buy:


I had pinned the image to help inspire the room. So I looked hard at the colors. I already had the yellow in the lamps and the blue on the walls, but the kelly blue on the walls is much darker than the light blue color in this duvet.

I thought of the light blue paint we used in the laundry room… maybe that would work on the roller shade? Maybe stripes of light blue?

Not bad. But these nightstands are killing me. They are SO BORING.

Looking at the duvet again, I thought about painting them a coral color. Really? Coral? Would that work?

I LOVE IT. Okay… coral it is. Never mind it’s a trendy color and might turn into the avocado green of the ’70s by next year. Besides, I really love avocado. Eating it, I mean.

Then I was stuck again. And I didn’t really dig the roller shade plan. The color was still not 100% right.

Back to my Pinterest board, where I found this image that I pinned because the wall color reminded me of the guest bedroom.


I love how the green pops against the dark blue wall.

Green? Green!

I like it so much better.

But now I’m not sure about the stripes. I know Nick’s not a big fan of stripes and even though I love stripes, I wanted something a bit more unexpected.

I looked at the above image again… and was inspired by the floor pattern. Maybe it would look good on the shade?

Eh, not bad, but not quite there.

How about this?

Yes, I like it!

Great. Great. Okay… what’s next? Oh yes – I had planned to add two frames on both sides of the window and put my hippie cloth tarp thing that I’ve held on since college. The colors in it is really pretty and it’s free.

I didn’t have a photo on hand, so I just googled “hippie sarong” and found this fabric. Close enough…

But it doesn’t mesh with the coral nightstands and the roller shade. Everything kind of felt preppy and the hippie feel in the frames just didn’t work.

Oh! What about black swirly art that I posted about a while ago and was thinking maybe doing for the living room? What if I did them for the guest room instead?

Better than the hippie art, but not quite right, either. The lines on the shade is pretty severe, so I needed the art to be softer. And maybe colorful too, since everything else in the room so far is just one color.

Soft… colorful… Flowers?

Of course, it couldn’t be boring flowers. Nick would never approve.

I immediately thought of this photo that had popped up in my Pinterest feed (do you call it a feed? the pins that you get from those you follow… is that a feed?) that I admired but didn’t pin:

design sponge

I went back to Pinterest, found the painting, and pinned it.

And added it to the frames:

guest bedroom mockup


I’ll work on this room probably in 2013, but it feels so good to have a clear plan for it that I love!

What about you — what’s your process when you design a room? Do you use inspiration images or are you a design genius with 1,323,743 ideas in your pretty little head?

Some ideas for your next DIY rug!

I love rugs. I especially love rugs that have a bold pattern. I really love the rug we bought for our living room – it brought the room to the next level.

(Lol at these unfilled frames. I really gotta get going on these very soon!)

But rugs can be expensive. We were lucky to snag our rug on sale, but it still wasn’t a drop in the bucket. That’s why I’m really in love with the idea of a DIY rug. The possibilities are endless… and it’s 100% custom!

We need a large rug for our game room and I think DIYing a plain rug will be a great move.

We all know the results can be beautiful, as evidenced from the following rugs that were made over by some amazingly talented people:

Cristi of Charm Home Design made this rug for her son’s nursery using contact paper.

diy rug pattern

McLaura of Ramblings around DC and Beyond made this rug with a homemade foam stamp. Clever!

diy rug pattern

Ainhoa of A Little Bite of Everything made this rug using a stencil that she made. Go over to her blog to download the template!

diy rug pattern

And who can forget this gorgeous rug painted by Hayley at Hayley Anderson Photography ? She used lots and lots of green tape.

diy rug pattern

Inspired by these (and many more others) rug creations, I’ve been keeping an eye out for great rug patterns that I can emulate. Here are a few that I’ve pinned. (Follow me on Pinterest!)

This rug from the May/June 2011 issue of Lonny is just beautiful! This could be done with a homemade stencil.

diy rug pattern

That issue was full of gorgeous rugs, actually. Here’s another one that I liked – this would be great for a playroom or a nursery.

diy rug pattern

It would be a lot of work (and lots of tape!) to make that one, but it could turn out to be very cool. The hexagons could be bigger to make it easier, and the colors limited to three or four shades.

I also love finding great patterns on painted floors, like this one from House Beautiful:

diy rug pattern

That could be a sweet rug!

I like to look at rugs that are for sale and dream about DIYing them…

Like this rug from Weego Home. It’s fun, it’s funky, and it’s out of my budget at $1495.00.

diy rug pattern

But wouldn’t that be fun to make? It would definitely have to be a free-form job, so if you’re good at free-form drawing or painting this would be the perfect DIY rug design for you.

I liked this simple striped rug showcased by Molly at molly loot:

diy rug pattern

The colors aren’t all that great, at least to me, but I like the addition of an extra tiny stripe every other thick stripe. With some great colors, this could be a cool DIY rug design.

And it seems like I can’t do any kind of round-up without including something from West Elm! This cute rug could be very easy to DIY – and you wouldn’t need a stash of tape or a stencil. You could just wing it and come up with something similar.

diy rug patternAll I’ve gotta do now is to find a really large, plain, light-colored flat-woven rug. Easier said than done, but I’ll find it… somehow, someday, somewhere.

Have a great and productive weekend! I’m hoping to make some serious progress on the laundry cabinets

Five Goals For a Beautiful and Functional Home

With a baby, the days whip by. The weeks are short and the months disappear.

If I can complete one thing off my to-do list each day, just one thing, it’s a productive day.

And when it’s a house-related thing? Then it’s an awesome day.

I’m determined to continue making progress on our house, no matter how slow the progress may be.

With that, here are our 2012 goals for our house:

1. Make each room functional. We have a total of nine rooms in the house, not counting closets and bathrooms. I would like for every room to be functional and useful by the end of the year. Our laundry room needs cabinets and storage solutions. Our office bookshelves could hold so much, if only we finish it. It’s also a bit hard to work in the office without an office chair, so I’ll need to reupholster the chair. The garage is just one big space where messes happen, so we need to install cabinets, shelves, and a ceiling storage solution.

garage ceiling storage systemvia

2. Paint the last spaces in the house. We’re so close to being done with painting! Our master bathroom is still waiting for its dark purple paint job (we already have the paint ready) and then it’s on to our master closet, the pantry, the shelves in the laundry room, and the closet in the guest bedroom. Oh, and the garage. Then we’re 100% done! Until I decide to change the color of a previously painted room. Ahem, let’s not go there right now.

3. Stop buying pieces that need a makeover until we’ve completed all of our projects. Let’s see – we have that bench in our bedroom, the nightstands in the guest bedroom, the bar cabinet for the dining room, frames to be spray-painted, and a couple of lamps waiting to be painted. No more stuff from thrift shops or Craig’s List until we finish them all. But what if we find the perfect side table that we need for our living room for only 5 bucks? Well, unless we find a mega-deal that we can’t just pass up, I’d like to focus on what we already have.

4. Work on our art gallery walls. We’re currently collecting pieces and frames for our game room art gallery and I’ve already spray-painted a couple of frames white for our bedroom. We also need to start buying black frames for our stairway. We’ve been talking about these three art gallery walls for a while – this is the year to start actually putting some holes in the walls.

game room painted

5. Add more COLOR. Our living room is gray and yellow, our dining room is gray and yellow, our bedroom is gray and white, our office is gray and teal… you get the picture. We’ve been collecting a lot of gray and simply colored pieces and the rooms are coming together nicely, but now we need lots of more color, in varying shades, to pump each room up. We’ll be doing that with accessories, pillows, window treatments, and some painted furniture here and there.

I feel really motivated after writing out this list! I think it’s manageable… and actually possible!

But it would be a lot easier if Janella started taking 2-hour naps again. What happened to your 2-hour naps, J?

Something new, something old, and something blue…

They’re here!!

Our new washer and dryer are here! Beautiful, front-loading, WHITE machines. Love them. Washing clothes has become fun again! (I wonder how long that’ll last…)

We got them on sale, almost 50% off, thanks to Black Friday. American consumerism, I wuv you.

Our washer broke unexpectedly, so we had to get these new machines. And we sold our dryer on Craig’s List for $40. It was noisy and old. We’ll put that $40 to use in the laundry room.

With the new washer and dryer, our plans had to be tweaked a little. I measured everything out and also measured our cabinets. Since our three cabinets are in three different sizes, I had to think about how to arrange them.

One cabinet is 36 inches long with two doors, one cabinet is 18 inches long with one door, and one cabinet is 24 inches long but only 21 inches tall (the other two are 30 inches tall). So I played with all of the possible arrangements (see the drawings along the right side of the paper).

Originally, I had planned to push the washer and the dryer apart on two sides so there would be space in between for our cat litter. But when I looked at the possible cabinet arrangements, it made more sense to have the empty space on the left side.

Then Nick came up with a great solution for the cat litter (more on that later… want to see if it works out before sharing it with you all), so I changed our plans. We’ll put a small shelving unit there to hold our dirty towels and sheets. Something like this, maybe.

You can see what cabinet arrangement I picked by the very obvious circle. I think it makes the most sense and the door and knob arrangement is the most pleasing to the eye… at least, to Elisa’s eye.

We have plentyyy of space next to the machines, so the next step is to either find an unit to fit in there or make one ourselves. We’ll see…..

Right now, I’m working on sanding away the drippy paint from the cabinets. I’m relieved that I don’t need to buy paint stripper – the sanding seems to be working. I’m not worried about sanding away ALL the paint – just the bumpy parts.

Whoa – how’d that picture of Janella get in here?

Two of the cabinets are sanded down and smooth and ready.

OK, I’d better go and sand down the last cabinet. And prime. And paint. And put them up on the wall. And buy the knobs. I’ll probably only enjoy the knob buying part.

Laundry Room: Painted! What’s Next?

Thanks to Dad Vita (Nick’s dad), the laundry room is painted! Thanks to Mom Vita (Nick’s mom), the laundry room is spotless! (Please ignore the cat litter in the picture – we have plans for that)

We love the color and we love that it cost us only $2.00 even more.

What’s next? Oh, just a couple of things.

We got this light from IKEA on sale for only $15. It’s a little long, but it works for us because we’re short people not freakishly tall. However, I am still on the fence because I do think it can get in the way when transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer. Plan B for the light is for it to reside in our closet bookshelves.

But the gray color, eh. I want a yellow light! I want to spray paint it yellow. Help me to convince Nick. Hey, Nick, I’m not pregnant anymore. I can do the spray painting from now on. Cool?

Check out our linen shelves. I can’t call it a linen closet when the shelves are so slim and there’s no door, so linen shelves it is.

I asked Dad Vita to not paint the whole thing because this is my vision:


We’ll lengthen the shelves so they’re flush to the wall (more storage!) and paint the insides either black or a dark gray. With some trim and cute weaved boxes, it’ll be a linen “closet” I can finally be excited about. I hope we can tackle that soon!

Next to the linen shelves, we’ve got a long wall of nothing. Except for that pretty blue color.

We got four Ribba frames and they’re waiting for me to add the symmetry art I made a while back. I had planned to print them at a local Kinkos and ta-da! But that didn’t work out because of corporate greed. I am one of the 99%! Ah, I will discuss that later, but basically it will be much cheaper for me to just paint it instead of getting it printed. Later, later. Soon, soon.

This wall next to the washer is empty and sad as well.

A friend (Erin!) had this genius idea of putting a fold-able ironing board on the wall, so when we (Nick) need to iron, we (Nick) could just pull the board down and iron away instead of lugging it to the game room. But would we (Nick) appreciate the fact that we (Nick) won’t be able to watch tv (ESPN) while ironing? Hmm, I will need to think (ask Nick) about it.

I LOVE our cats but HATE the cat litter situation. The cats use the litter box just fine, but they track the litter bits everywhere and the laundry room is supposed to be a place where things get clean, so it just doesn’t make sense to have the cat litter there. But there’s nowhere else in the house to put it! So, I want to design something between the washer and the dryer so that it houses the cat litter AND prevents litter tracking everywhere AND is covered up with prettiness. I hope we can achieve all that.

Dad Vita also painted the ceiling… in our usual light gray color. I feel bad for the next owners of the house – they probably will hate our light gray ceilings because most people like white ceilings and grumble about painting all the ceilings. Sorry.

I told Dad Vita that I could tape the ceiling off for him, but he gave me a Look and said that he could cut in just fine. I laughed and said, “Our walls aren’t like your flat walls in Pennsylvania. Our walls are textured and it is impossible to paint in a straight line.” He said something to the effect of “Watch me.”

Well, he was right. His painting job is perfect. Too bad most of the rooms in the house are already painted or I would have postponed his plane ticket back home and asked him to paint everything. His trick: paint the wall paint and let it spill over to the ceiling, and then go back and remove the spillage with a wet tiny brush. Genius. And I can’t believe that it worked.

So. That’s where we are with the laundry room. The next step is to tackle these cabinets.

I will need to sand off the old paint (bad drippage), if possible. I hope I won’t need to buy paint removal chemicals.

Only if this little cutie will allow me to finally tackle this project.