Sunday, October 5, 2014

design rules you should throw out the window

The Modani Modern Furniture company is reaching out to design bloggers to write a post about Design Rules to Throw Out the Window.

Well, I didn't even realize there were official rules for interior design. And I had a sneaking suspicion I had broken them in decorating my home. Oh, I know what looked best to me, like uneven numbers for a grouping of objects. But if you only have two? Then two it is. The Decor Police are not as stringent as the Fashion Police. I hope.

So here are the five rules to toss:

Rule 1. Stick to one style. Really? Mix away, baby! I would just say, use common sense and follow your instincts. If you think you might have gone too far, then you probably did.

I'm going to take a chance that you won't shrink back in horror and show an example of rule breaking in my own home. Actually, I think I broke both rules 1 and 3 here.

In the livingroom: Traditional and Industrial.

Rule 2. Match your colors. Hmmmm. That's old thinking isn't it? To pull the pink out of a painting and match the sofa and loveseat to it? You don't HAVE to do that. Really. Although I overheard two women doing exactly that the other day. They were carrying around a print, looking for items that matched the colors.

No, you can get bold like this example from Apartment Therapy. Or even crazier like the example in Modoni's Rules graphic above.

Rule 3. One pattern per room. I have seen real-life horrors because someone followed this rule. Imagine a room full of plaid. Or a room completely done in a pastel floral pattern.

There are wonderful examples of mixing patterns all over the internet  Be as wild as you want, just mix patterns with thoughtfulness and taste. Just like you would do your clothing.

 Did I break this rule? Of course I did. And I did it on just one piece of furniture.

My beloved Tuffet
And I plan to do it again since my chair is showing signs of needing attention. Below is my inspiration from Renewal Home Decor. Be still, my heart.

Rule 4. Neutral colored walls for small spaces. In my opinion that would make your home look like a rented apartment. The new thinking is put bright colors in small rooms. Color experts 
from HGTV to Sherwin-Williams support the concept that bright colors make a room look larger. (A decade ago they were behind the neutral walls rule. Do you see why the rules should be ignored?)

A while ago in InStyle magazine an editor wrote that aviator sunglasses were soooo yesterday. Don't wear them at any cost. Later on in the very same issue an article claimed aviators were The Thing. Don't wear anything else.

Whatever. Let's do what works for US.

Rule 5. Dining chairs stay in their own set. This is my personal favorite and I'm not even sure what it means. Are they supposed to match the table or just each other? See? I'm such a little rule breaker that I don't even understand the rules. But, I love chairs and wouldn't dream of having just one style or just one color around my table. I want one of every style. My own chairs are mis-matched and have been forever. They each have different feedsack upholstery and are different styles. What holds them together is that they are unpainted except for the white chairs at the head and foot of the table.

My dining room from about a year ago. The photo is already outdated.

Ironically, as I cruised the web looking at chair combinations, I came across Rules for Mis-Matching Chairs. Seriously, 6 rules for mis-matching chairs. In the article they also mentioned mis-matched couch cushions, an idea I find intriguing.

There are rules for everything. There are even more "decor rules" that aren't even addressed here. I ran across "Don't mix metallics.' The first images that popped into my mind were the harsh chrome pieces of the 80s. Or the brassy gold of the 70s. Thank goodness we have better choices now. Oil-rubbed bronze, patinaed copper, brushed silver. They can be wonderful in the same room.

Bright gold and padded walls? This room received kudos in one "rule" article I ran across. It's all subjective. The author loves this room whereas I would have been thinking 'Please, please, don't make me go in there'. So, who is right?

Let's consider the 'Rules' to be just guidelines.
Then let's go do what looks best.

I was not compensated in any way for doing this post. 'Case you were wondering. :-)

I want to thank Modani for suggesting this post. This was educational for me. I had a lot of fun doing the research. And I'm pretty sure I know all the rules, now. Follow them? Well ...... probably not.

I saw that decorators are trying to bring back bright gold. Really?
Please visit Modani's website and check out all the wonderful things they have. It's more than just furniture. There is decor, lighting and kid's furniture to explore.  

Also, there are many Modani Modern Furniture stores across the United States and Canada. If you are lucky enough to live close you can check the pieces out in person rather than just online. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Every now and then a project comes along that forces me to learn new things. I had such a project this summer. I started it in early August and am not quite finished with it yet.

 A few years ago I did this lowboy for myself. I also used it to teach myself how to layer paint.

Since it was for me, I overlooked some repairs such as the split in the top picture and the veneer issues above.

Then new furniture came and there was no room for the lowboy. It went to the barn for a good long time. Then I decided to sell it and thinking no one wanted blah brown, I'd paint it red. 

And since this was a simple repaint, I didn't take pictures. I kick myself now because this lowboy refused to be repainted. No matter what I did, the paint went on faded and blotchy. I re-did it I don't know how many times.  I used up all my red paint and still had pale blotch results. Then success, sorta. The paint darkened with wax. Looking back, it was too hot to be painting. I think my paint was drying before it even hit wood.

I left the low boy in the garage while I attended other things and when I came back to it all the wax had clouded.  I started buffing but it was too hard. I took mineral spirits to it and removed wax then let it rest and dry. (It seems the garage got too hot and the wax melted.)

      ,I came back to this. I sanded it lightly because I wanted the chippy look, but ALL the paint came off. The same with the rest of the lowboy. It was like the paint couldn't wait to get off of there.

So I sanded and repainted the whole damn thing. In the house. With air conditioning.

The top dried like this. I don't know if the paint stretched or what.

Part of me just didn't want to deal with it. The other part said 'Let's experiment.' So I mixed paint and wood filler and scraped it over the whole top of the lowboy. It worked!

 The top is smooth and shiny.

 I fixed the split wood.

 And I fixed the veneer.

Inspector 22 is checking the underside.
Instead of the traditional wood pulls that seem to be on all empire pieces I used vintage clear glass knobs.

 I painted the inside of the drawers and laid new paper.

The finished lowboy. It will be at the Collector's Market soon.

Linking to:
by stephanielynn
my 1929 charmer
nifty thrifty things
the dedicated house
elizabeth and co

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Litter boxes and other distractions

I had A DAY. A DAY!! I didn't know whether to blog about it or go someplace quiet and thunk my head against the wall. Thursdays are like that. I'm crashing from the massive amounts of steroid I'm infused with on Monday and Tuesday, so I'm tired and have little patience.

All I wanted to do was test a new paint for a local retailer. I'd started a little bench during my shift at the Collector's Market and it was waiting.


Bailey couldn't be any cuter could she?

She poops outside the box. Or in a different room from the box. How cute is she now? Hmmmm?

I thought I was on top of it. Two clean litter boxes in the mud room. yay. Except, what's that smell? Oh, don't tell me...... yep, pooped beside the boxes. Boxes. We actually have 3 boxes, one in the garage. sigh. So I cleaned it up. Again.

And back to my bench.

I was experimenting with the new paint's distressing ability. I did layers of paint which normally I wouldn't do for such a small  piece. I wanted to see if this new paint would act just like Annie Sloan's etc. and sand with ease.

 I used CeCe Caldwell Alaskan Tundra, then Annie Sloan CoCo, topped with the new paint in Warm White. I used a wax resist here and there on each layer of color and did a little sanding as I went along. Each paint distressed easily and the undercoats peeked through just like I wanted.                                                                

I heard a noise.

We have a couple Spare Cats. They aren't feral or strays, they are simply cats that became homeless through no fault of their own. One of them sneaks into the house and she actually uses the litter box.

Thursday morning she scared the bejeezus out of me, coming out of nowhere like a gray streak. She must have been stuck in the house all night.

That's when I saw Logan under the table with a dead mouse.

Thank goodness I still had the shovel from yesterday's snake.

I'm the most squeamish person you'll ever meet. I can't look at the white goo in not-cooked-enough eggs. Dead stuff is completely out of my realm so I was about as cross as I could get. Trying to get that limp mouse onto the shovel wasn't easy. I was just pushing him around and around and I could feel the death cooties coming up the shovel. I finally got him up against a chair leg and wiggled the shovel under him. I shoveled the mouse outside and got back to my little bench.

Yeah, yeah, so I stole his mouse.

 When the bench was all finished and waxed, the fabric I'd chosen didn't work anymore. It was too warm for the cool tones of the paint, for Pete's sake. So I dug around in all my fabric drawers and found a few pieces to try.

I was standing, looking at my little pile of fabric, when I realized my toes felt cold. Oh please. DON'T EVEN TELL ME. I knew it, I KNEW IT! I was standing in cat pee. CAT PEE! No doubt from the Spare Cat being stuck in the office overnight.

That was IT! What has happened to my life?

I have a shovel in the living room for crying out loud.

At least I have a cute little bench.

I was done. And I went junking.


The paint I was testing is FAT PAINT. So far I'm pleased with it but I have more testing lined up. It is a latex base with chalk added. The texture is like chalk paint and the sanding is easy.

More to come.

Sharing with:
polka dots on parade

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mr. Bad picks a dresser

I just don't like honey oak 80s furniture. Never have. Why do did I own a honey oak bedroom set? When we moved from Seattle to a new-build home near Portland we were faced with a big empty house. We went on a whirlwind furniture shopping spree and well, there you have it. Rushed decisions. All of what we purchased that week is gone now, except two dressers.

I've been wanting to move those dressers on to their next life for years but Mr. Bad Rabbit has wanted no part of that plan. How 'bout paint the dressers? Nope. He had two requests, leave his dresser alone and don't block the big windows in the living room.

So imagine my surprise when he said 'I might want that dresser' when I was almost finished painting the huge yellow and maroon thing I'd dragged home last summer. 

I've mentioned this dresser in a previous post. It was The Dresser Left Behind. The craigslist seller had told me it was the only thing left in a foreclosed house. No Kidding?

I was transforming it into a satin black, stately beauty. 'Stately' because I think this is the biggest dresser I've ever seen. Asked why the change of heart? Mr. Bad said this was the first masculine dresser I've painted. Well, I beg to differ and I could show pictures but whatever his reasons, I'm liking it!

I have had no luck painting black dressers. Seriously, the finish always looks just awful and when I'm done weeping, I sand and go at it again. And again. And again. Maybe this was the turning point?
I hope so.

I saw potential in the lines and detail. That, and it's a STOUT thing. Big, solid and heavy, it truly is a man's dresser. You will not be moving this thing alone. Even with the drawers removed it won't budge without herculean effort.

I did just a little distressing.

And a little restyling.

Instead of the usual valet tray I found this 1902 miter box.

Mr. Bad Rabbit has been in Alaska all week so he has only seen pictures so far. :-)

Sharing with him and these fun sites:
beyond the picket fence
miss mustard seed
shabby nest
chic on a shoestring decorating
the dedicated house
what we accomplished Wednesdays

Inspector 11 asleep on the job.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Massive, Scary, Wildfire
There is a wildfire burning out of control not that far south of us and it's sending smoke up our valley. Yesterday we couldn't see the valley floor, it was like fog. Today there was a fine layer of ash on everything outside. The sun is a glowing red orb. Yesterday when morning light slanted through the windows there was an orange cast to it that was quite pretty. My phone was the only camera close enough at hand to capture a shot before the sun moved on. Even so, I was almost too late, a few seconds makes a huge difference.
All I got was blurry shots due to the rush I was in.

Today I was better prepared, having set up my camera and tripod ahead of time. The sun moves across the wall in about 3 minutes so
I waited and watched.

This was the first rays coming between the trees.

My red metal Delco sign got REALLY red.

My silver Priceless Artifact from Paris doesn't look so silver anymore.

This is the wall washed in red. The sun was almost past at this point.

I barely got this shot of a couple of my antique shaving mirrors before the sun was past.

The cause of my red walls and all the smoke and ash:
The Oregon Gulch Fire. It's eating 10,000 acres a day.
THANK YOU firemen!!

How 'bout a different fire?

The fire of controversy.

Has anyone heard of Lisa B. Adams? I hadn't. One day I decided to google cancer blogs to see if there was one I would like to link up with. The first blog I hit upon was written by a young man hospitalized for cancer treatment. The post I read upset me greatly. The subject was the editorial written by Bill Keller in the New York Times which singled out Lisa B. Adams' blog and suggested people shouldn't post about cancer, treatment or impending death. His wife, Emma, also wrote an article that has since been taken offline for a number of reasons. 

You can get the gyst of the whole matter here and form your own opinion. The post I read originally had paraphrased and slightly took some of the article out of context so it's important to do your own research.

But, it remains that Mr. Keller questioned patients writing about their cancer journey online. Not write about cancer and treatment and impending death? Huh. How 'bout just not reading it if you don't want to and shut-the-heck-up? sheesh

So, in the spirit of all that, here's my random cancer blurb.

Linking to: