Sometimes it's the little things

We have a to-do list in our house that is a mile long. Like we're talking entire empty rooms that need filling. Stark beige walls and bare surfaces abound. Sometimes you can hear an echo. And sometimes it overwhelms me to the point where I'm paralyzed and can't do anything. See my previous post for an example. Yep it's still empty. Lame.

It doesn't help that money isn't exactly falling from the sky right now. Lesson learned, if you buy a bigger house, you might not be able to afford to put anything in it! So, major furniture purchases (i.e. sectional, tables and bookshelves for the extremely empty basement) postponed, I can choose to focus on little things that make me happy and fill our house with cozy touches.

Turning my focus outside, I found three little tin pots at Michael's for 50% off. I used leftover chalkboard paint from Sophia's playroom to label them.

I had husband drill holes in the bottom for drainage.

I chose a Genovese basil plant (delicious), Rosemary (delicious) and a Lavender (for nothing other than wandering over and sniffing once in a while).


It's the little things right?

Now I just need the sun to come out!

Failure to launch

Our upstairs hallway has a little nook. It's a great little space - there's so many things you could do with it. It could be a reading area, a little office/computer space, or a crafting area. Currently ours is a sad, empty little space. I feel sad for it every time I walk past it.

This is our upstairs hallway, you can see where the nook is:

One side of the nook:

And the other:

The Crate and Barrel leaning bookshelf came with us from our last house, and the chair I bought for super cheap on a whim at Homesense, without really thinking what I was going to do with the space and how it would fit in. I like it, I just think I should have thought it through more (something you don't have the luxury of doing at Homesense).

I'm having SO MUCH trouble getting started on this space because I know I want to paint the hallways (meaning the entire downstairs would have to be painted as well) and the disruption and cost to have that done is more than I want right now. It's not that it's a bad colour, it's just that it's incredibly boring, in that sterile model home way.

We agree that we want it to be a 'reading' area. I highly doubt anyone will actually sit there and read a whole book, but I would love to use the space to relax and look through our old books, and magazines.

I want it to be cozy, warm and inviting, and I think it needs the following things:

- rug
- window panels
- floor lamp
- a more substantial bookshelf (and more books!!)
- art
- a magazine rack
- a small table

And not to mention - some colour! That's a lot for that space, maybe. But I can do it!

I love big fluffy shaggy rugs. I could start with this one:
Ikea Rug. Yes I realize it doesn't involve any colour.
I love the idea of horizontal striped window panels. I'll never find any at a price that I like in a store, so I'll DIY them, using this easy tutorial. Maybe in orange? Or turquoise?

Source. There's some colour for ya

A floor lamp:

Source. I can find something cheaper fo sho.

That's not a bad start! I don't think any of those choices will hinder my future hall painting endeavors. I need to get better at buying key pieces though - while I like that chair, I think I panicked a bit and bought something that doesn't really fit with my overall style.  Now I have to work around it/with it. I guess that's all part of the challenge! It's rare to start with nothing.

Worth the pain!

As I mentioned in this post, I decided in all my wisdom to make like the Abbey and install some (faux) wainscoting in our dining room. Why is it faux you ask? Real wainscoting, as invented by now dead people long, long ago, was meant to insulate the room from cold and dampness. It would consist of full wood panels, completely covering the existing wall surface. This is when walls used to be stone. Modern walls have insulation, and so there's no good reason to completely cover your walls in actual wood panelling anymore. So to fake it, we just installed a chair rail (also known as dado rail?? Who knew.), as well as decorative moulding to form the boxes.

Super awesome parents and dutiful husband
craptacular iphone picture

Might sound hard - but that was the easy part!

Since this was "my project", once the mouldings were up, it was my job to caulk and paint. And caulk I did! (That's what she said!). To make everything appear smooth and finished, I caulked all the nail holes, all along the edges of the trim, and the corners where the chair rail pieces meet. I would say I probably spent 5 or 6 hours doing this, over the span of a week.

And then the painting. I primed, twice. Then, I painted everything white. This is where things got stupid. Since we didn't paint the baseboards and door trim (and it was done only 5 years ago and I didn't feel it needed to be done again), it was my best guess as to which of the ELEVENTY BILLION different whites was already on there. Turns out it was Benjamin Moore Cloud White. But I didn't know this at the time.

The people's trim colour of choice, BM CC-40

(I'll just say this: OF COURSE IT WAS. If you are touching up your baseboards and you don't know what colour of white they are, I will save you the hassle and tell you that they are probably Cloud White. People love them some Cloud White. See discussions on this here, and here, if you're interested.)

But first I tried SW Westhighland White. (I like Sherwin William's more, because their store is closer)

It was so bright white next to the baseboards it made them look filthy. Fail. Then I tried SW Roman Column (on the chip it looked positively yellow next to Westhighland White). 

Still, it was shockingly white next to the (unbeknownst to me) cloud white baseboards. So, after priming, and then painting - twice - I was at a crossroads. We figured out it was cloud white when my husband went digging in the basement and found an old paint can from previous owners labelled the ubiquitous CC-40.

Why yes, I am an idiot for not looking first, thank you.

I had two choices, I could head over to Ben Moore and pick up some of their famous trim colour and paint a third time, or just slather my Roman Column all over the baseboards and pretend like none of this ever happened. I went with option two, because I am very, very lazy. But I'm glad I did. The trim around the doors is still Cloud White, as is the trim in the adjacent living room, but I don't feel like you can really notice. Besides, Cloud White is VERY creamy. It goes really well with the colour that's on the walls now, but I'm going to change that soon, and since I'm more a fan of gray based, cooler colours, I think the Roman Column will complement it much better.

In any case, it's done now. I love it, and I have extra satisfaction from the fact that it was all my idea and (mostly) my sweat and tears. I high five myself every time I walk past the dining room.


And after:
Yuh-huh, the mirror is crooked.


Next up for the dining room - painting OR wallpapering (!!!) above the trim.

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