Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Look for Less

I recently completed this design board for a client...

She is a physician and busy mother of two boys, and she wanted to update her dining room with paint and accessories to make it a "sanctuary from the chaos."

Well, you know I can relate to that!

Using her drapes as a jumping off point, I set out to create a soothing room with a neutral palette and a mix of shiny and rustic objects.

Since everyone likes to save money, I try to offer the "look for less" option whenever possible. With this particular project, my client could choose to go high or low on a couple of the pieces.

First up is the fabric for the dining chairs. Option 1 was this beautiful Kravet fabric...

The colors were perfect, and it has wonderful texture. But, we have 8 chair seats to recover, and at $69/yd, it's a bit pricey.

Enter Option 2…

This fabric offers a very close colorway, and a similar pattern despite being a bit busier. However, this fabric was available on ebay for a steal…. $8.98/yd.

My client actually preferred the look of Option 2, so it was a no brainer to save the money!

Next up… the chandelier! In this case, we had three options -- high, mid, or low. Option 1 was the high-end beaded glass trim chandelier from Shades of Light. Price: $1,050 ….

Option 2 was the Pennington chandelier from Wayfair. Price: $399 ...

Option 3 was the Hampton Bay Estelle chandelier from Home Depot. Price: $169 …

We are going with Option 2, because my client liked the extra crystals at the bottom. I think she made a great choice, and I can't wait to see it in the room. I'll do a before and after post on this project when it's complete, so you can see how it all comes together.

If you've been eyeing an expensive fabric or light fixture, but can't bring yourself to fork over the cash, do not despair. Somewhere there is a look for less, and with a little research, you can find it. Heck, you might even like it better than the original!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chinoiserie Wallpaper Panels

It's almost Valentine's Day, and I have got a brand new love. Well two, actually.

They are tall and gorgeous, and they're both hanging in my dining room right at this very moment.

Hello lovers...

Did you see them? My chinoiserie wallpaper panels. They complete me.

I have long had a crush on the hand-painted silk wallpaper in Aerin Lauder's dressing room...

and in this dining room designed by Elizabeth Dinkel…

An entire room in this exquisite paper is out of my league.  But, a couple of panels, framed as art, would give me the look for less and fill my empty dining room walls.

I did some research and discovered Griffin & Wong. They offer 25 chinoiserie designs, hand painted on a variety of silk wallpaper backgrounds.

Douglas at Griffin & Wong worked with me to find just the right match. I chose two of their Du Paqier panels in a soft aqua background. I was emailed a picture of the paintings in progress to determine if I wanted more color intensity. The panels typically run from floor to ceiling, but they made mine to accommodate the space above my wainscoting.

When the panels arrived at my door, I was a bit nervous. What if the picture online didn't look the same in person?

I was pleasantly surprised to see they were even more beautiful and vibrant in person!

The panels came rolled up, so I had to figure out how best to hang them. I went to Lowe's and had some hardboard cut to size.

I then had my wallpaper installer apply the paper to the boards. I had thought I could DIY that part, but I didn't trust myself to not mess it up!

Once the paper was mounted to the boards and dried, I had them framed in an antique gold bamboo frame. I didn't use glass for two reasons. One, I wanted to save money. And two, I was hanging the boards on top of grass cloth wallpaper. I didn't want to hang anything too heavy that would require more than one small nail hole.

I really love how the new art fills up the dining room walls and completes the look of the space. I find myself spending more time in there, just so I can admire them.

I guess you could say we're still in the honeymoon stage, but I hope this love lasts forever :)

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kitchen Floors: Opinions Welcome!

Do you remember my last post… Kitchen Remodel: Let's Get this Party Started ??

Yeah, well. Let's just say I haven't even sent out the invitations yet.

I'm still in the "party" planning stage. There's so much to consider, and I'm not even talking about the fun part like the tile and countertops and lighting. I'm talking budget and layout and making sure I have the right cabinet pieces to keep the kitchen functional and organized for the next 20 years :)

I've been meeting with contractors and remodeling companies and cabinet makers, and getting estimates. I'm also toying with the idea of serving as my own general contractor. You know, because I don't have enough chaos in my life!


So, the kitchen party hasn't even started and we've already run into a glitch. Less than 4 years ago, we installed hardwood floors throughout most of the house… the living room, dining room, foyer, and upstairs hallway.

I always figured that when we were ready to remodel the kitchen, I would continue the same hardwoods into the kitchen and family room (because the carpet in there desperately needs to go). Well, guess what? The floors were discontinued, and can't be found anywhere. Believe me. I've looked. Everywhere.

All of the rooms connect to each other, as you can see by these pics I just snapped with my phone…

The foyer leading into the family room, where gross carpet needs to be replaced.

Close up of transition between foyer and family room with gross carpet.

Transition from current kitchen hardwood floors to dining room hardwoods. (Ignore the dog hair and dirt!)

At the time we installed the now discontinued floors, we were torn between solid vs. engineered vs. pre-finished vs. floors finished on site. We ended up going with Columbia Flooring's Chatham Timeworn hardwood floors in "Dockside Maple." (let me know if any of you is hoarding 900 square feet of the stuff!) It is a pre-finished solid floor. Columbia carries the same floor, but only in the engineered version. I'm just not sold on engineered, as it can't be refinished and I don't know how it will hold up over time.

Does anyone have any experience with engineered floors? Please share!!

These are the options I'm considering:

1. Get the engineered version of the floor (at least it will look the same), and install it in the kitchen and family room.

2. Sand and stain the kitchen hardwoods to get as close to the finish of the other floors. The only place it would be noticeable is the doorway between the dining room and kitchen. Put new carpet in the family room. The only wall-to-wall carpet option I really like is seagrass, and I'm not sure how well that will hold up.

3. Put carpet in family room and tile the kitchen. This is my least favorite option as I haven't seen any tile I'm crazy about. And, I'd have to switch out the tile in the adjoining side entry, powder room and mudroom, so that it's all the same.

Which option would you choose??

And, since you have been such good sports and stuck with me through this riveting post about floors, I'll reward you with a little eye candy…





Hopefully, I'll have fewer glitches and more eye candy moving forward!