Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
If you had told me one year ago that I would have a dining room or even wanted a dining room I would have told you: "That's ridiculous!!!"
Going back over the years, a dining room was never important ...a small table in a corner of the living room, for four to enjoy a little dinner, was more than we ever needed!!! Who had people over for dinner any more?
Boy.... was I wrong!! It wasn't three months after we moved in, that we were squeezing seven at our kitchen table for our first Dinner Party!!! I could not believe it.......I needed a DINING ROOM.........I WANTED A DINING ROOM !
For years, if a bunch of us wanted to have a nice dinner together.......we made RESERVATIONS!!! Not in this new phase of our lives.... and the biggest surprise of all.... I LOVE IT!!!
Going back a couple of months, after that little dinner for seven, I had a problem. How did I create a dining room in a house that didn't have one....and how did I convince Master Carpenter to go along with this insane idea? Fate! Simple FATE came to the rescue!
I had volunteered to be part of a welcoming group to ...you guessed it......Welcome the newcomers to SunCity! The first couple I visited had just finished enclosing their small "veranda" into a sunroom. They converted the space that we had JUST enclosed with screens, only they used WINDOWS!!! Instantly, the EPIPHANY hit me! Not two seconds passed before I had the entire picture of a dining room in my devious little mind!
Somehow, and I am still a little puzzled at this, Master Carpenter let me proceed with this insanity! I made a few phone calls, and in less than a week the man who had installed the screens was standing in the space telling us how he could replace them with insulated windows without any problem. A carpet store was giving us an estimate for wall to wall carpeting to put over the concrete pad and how to insulate and keep out all moisture. This was really becoming a reality!
Well, the bones of the project were in place....now how to make it a dining room? Without hesitation I thought of the white drapery panels that were in all the other rooms. They would be perfect to cover the windows, and the one existing outside wall of the house!! Decided to worry about the hanging of them later and went on line and ordered the panels. First I ordered 11, then I re-figured and ordered 3 more. In the end we took the three that were outlining the sliding doors and put them in the mix.............ending up with 17 drapery panels! I imagine Ballard Designs must think I am reselling them! I saved a fortune ordering them on line....no shipping charges during a Holiday special...and I had them shipped to our daughter in North Carolina so I wouldn't have to pay sales tax.
Now, enter Design Granddaughter and Patti, my daughter. Patti wanted an idea for a Christmas gift. That was easy....commission Erica to do an art piece to hang on the "drapery wall" (the outside wall covered with the panels). On Christmas morning I was speechless when the piece Erica did was "unwrapped"!!! It's amazing, absolutely amazing! The textures, fabric and materials are unbelievable!
The lighting for the room was another stroke of luck. First of all there are two recessed lights in the bead-board ceiling. Because the space was designed as an outdoor space there was power for a ceiling fan. This was all I needed to have the opportunity to install a chandelier. As you all know I jump at any excuse to add another chandelier to my home! I looked on line and saw the "usual " and found one or two that would fit into my "Budget"......speaking of budgets... this entire adventure never had a budget....it just happened....but to make it appear sound-worthy, I created a budget! That way if I stayed under budget .....I was ahead! Now you understand what is meant by " MY DEVIOUS MIND"!!!! Getting back to the chandelier....I knew of a local lighting store and decided to check it out before ordering the one on line. There it was.....I found the one I thought would add character to the room. It was completely the opposite of the rest of the elements in the room. Elaborate shades, leather trim and curves! Perfect! The price was greatly reduced, GREATLY!!! ...but.... it had a SOLD tag on it. I asked if I could order another one and was informed it was discontinued and this was the last one. But.....the sales associate said that the buyer hadn't paid for it or had come in to pick it up and they had been holding it for over two weeks! I said: "I'll pay for it and take it home NOW." To be fair, and small business people here in Georgia are very fair, she asked if I would wait one more day. She would call the first buyer and give her one more day to come for it. I called the next afternoon and by the close of the business day, it was in the truck on my car!
Moving right alone....we needed some seating! Erica strongly suggested, due to our "budget
demands, we look at World Market. To my pleasant surprise they had great chairs that would fit the room that were priced (with coupons, specials, and you name it!) at two chairs for $79. We bought four. We have four chairs in the kitchen that we can use for the Dinner for Eight!
Now.....I know by now you are asking: "WHERE IS MASTER CARPENTER?"
There is one element that a dining room needs that I haven't mentioned. THE TABLE. All during this period he is designing, planning and purchasing the supplies. I think Master Carpenter will let me share on his genious! He designed the table around a solid wood door from Lowes! Price..$54. Oh, so in that BUDGET!! It is 30" x 80" to fit the proportions of the small room 7.5" x 14'. We can comfortable sit three on each side and one at each end. Perfect! The actually construction went very slowly. I think everyone knows about our freezing weather and that made it impossible for Master Carpenter to work in the garage. Even an electric space heater didn't help! Finally after the table was built, we had to wait for the temperature to go over 50 degress to apply the stain and the polyurethane. The temperature stayed over 50 all this week and yesterday morning it was IN PLACE!....just in time for it's Debutant Ball last night! Ten wonderful friends came over to celebrate our new room and we had a Grand Time!!!
Remember my comment on deciding how we were going to hang the drapery panels? Poor Master Carpenter. We had many plans and ideas. We thought of closet poles, piping ...we were all over the place. We needed something that would allow me to pull the panels back and forth. At night the room is enclosed in white drapes... eating in the clouds! Then, during the day, they are opened, letting in all the natural daylight. He ended up buying regular metal drapery poles. The length of the panels are 96" ....we needed them to cover all the windows and if we went up to the ceiling they would be 6 inches too short. The panels came 96" and 108". When you buy ready made merchandise you don't have that many choices and you work with what you can. Thinking we had the exact height to cover the windows and hang off the floor Master Carpenter hung the hardware. Have you figured out what happened? Yes.....they were hung too low and when we put the panels up they didn't cover the top of the windows. "Not So Happy Master Carpenter" rehung all the rods! A little hint. When you purchase ready mades, at least the ones I did, all the panels are not the same length!! They are "about" 96 inches, none of the 17 are the same. When hung at either side of a window, one would never notice.
About a week ago, Master Carpenter and I removed the two sliding doors and placed them in the garage. That was not an easy job....they are really, really heavy! We are leaving the framework and the shades in place...the screens are in the attic. All I can say at this point is that one Dear Friend suggested we keep them.....saying "Patty, you never know, the next homeowner of this house might want them rehung!"...............................
To sum up the past few months I can attest that this has been the largest and most expensive EPIPHANY I have had! One of the Best and one that so many were involved with! Thank you Master Carpenter, Patti, Mark, Maggie, Erica, and John for helping to bring home the door and lumber in his truck!
Don't think I'm finished..............my DEVIOUS MIND is at work already. Stay tuned!!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
As most of you know I have been a HUGE fan of Kenneth Brown, one FABULOUS Interior Designer! He is the first "Idol" I have ever had. It's about time, after 69 years! My Elvis!!! His web address in on the right side of this blog .....I hope you all check it out! It's a great website.... full of wonderful advice, design tips and pictures of some of his work. Without a doubt he has influenced me in ALL aspects!!!
I had the fortunate opportunity of meeting Kenneth two years ago at the High Point Furniture Market. His personality and kindness are unbelievable .....almost surpassing his good looks!!!
As I referred to yesterday, the President of the Kenneth Brown Fan Club, Linda Wiley (the girl on Kenneth's left), organized a "Meet and Greet" with Kenneth at a LA hotel. Master Carpenter and I were planning on attending .....but.... were unable to do so for reasons out of our control. Carol Wheeler, the girl on his right, generously acted as my "Representative"
at the party. I mailed her the picture of myself and she carried it in her carry-on baggage all the way to LA from New Hampshire!!!!
Carol called me this morning to report that it was a wonderful afternoon and Kenneth was THE most wonderful Host..... graciously giving all his time and answering all of the fans questions.
Hopefully there will be another "Meet and Greet" in the future, a little closer to Atlanta,......and Master Carpenter and I will be able to attend!!
Thank you Kenneth for all you have done to make my Design world a beautiful place.
Log On's State/Region
208................Georgia United States
54 .................North Carolina United States
52..................California United States
27 .................Virginia United States
22..................Unknown Unknown -
22 .................Florida United States
17 .................Tennessee United States
15 .................Colorado United States
12..................Seoul-t'ukpyolsi Republic of Korea
11 .................New York United States
9 ...................Massachusetts United States
8 .................. New Hampshire United States
6 ...................South Carolina United States
3 .................. Oklahoma United States
3 ...................Louisiana United States
2....................Oregon United States
2 ...................Wisconsin United States
1 ....................New South Wales Australia
1 ....................Arizona United States
1.................... Hong Kong Hong Kong
1 ....................Kentucky United States
1 ....................Vermont United States
1 ....................Czestochowa Poland
1 .....................Niedersachsen Germany
1 .....................New Jersey United States
1 .....................Illinois United States
1 .....................Pennsylvania United States
1 .....................Minnesota United States
1 .....................St Petersburg Russian Federation
1 .....................London United Kingdom
1 .....................Quebec Canada
1 .....................Eastern Cape South Africa
1 .................... Maryland United States
1 .....................Guerrero Mexico
1 .....................Ohio United States
1 .....................Utah United States
1 .....................Texas United States
1 .....................Brit Columbia Canada
1 .....................Washington United States
1 .....................Ontario Canada Canada
1 .....................Ile-de-france France
1 .....................Kansas United States
1 .....................Minas Gerais Brazil
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I spoke with Master Carpenter this morning and the new "Due" date for the table looks like next Friday, January 22nd. He has the top to stain, varnish...and then..... DRY. Just love waiting for that drying stage.... Endless !!!!
As I write this, my "Mentor", Kenneth Brown, is having a Meet and Greet with his Fan Club in LA!! Master Carpenter and I had hoped to attend, but were unable to make the journey. A fellow club member, (and Blog reader) Carol Wheeler from New Hampshire, is acting as my Representative. I can't wait for pictures and a full report of the afternoon.
A few months back I had a project I never posted. This seems like a good afternoon to share it with you.
We had display cabinets purchased at Ikea years ago for our condo in Norfolk. They were perfect for our Asian treasures. These pieces have found new homes in our place here and the cabinets were not being used. I decided to see if they fit in the guest room closet. Actually it was easier than tearing them apart. That is a big hassle. To my delight they fit !!! So then I thought they needed a "function". Got the Epiphany thing and Presto they were converted for a home for guest towels, extra bedding and toiletries .
Take a peek and see what you think. Some day Master Carpenter can build a "dream" closet for these items. Meanwhile our Ikea cabinets have a very functional new purpose....
Monday, January 11, 2010
This cold is driving us all nuts.......Master Carpenter has been given an unwelcome break on his new project. It is way too cold to work in the "workshop".... Even after the purchase of a space heater!!!
I felt he needed to stay "in shape"..... suggested he hang the drapery panels. TWICE..............The first time they were just a "wee bit" too low. I will say he was not a very "Happy Master Carpenter", but willing, went with all his strength and rehung the rods!!! I had planned on 15 panels and ended up using 17!!!
Erica has out done herself on the new piece for the room......We hung the masterpiece the other day and BOY ......it is FABULOUS.
All we need is the temperature to warm up and the work on the table can proceed.
CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS REVEAL.................
Sunday, January 3, 2010
The Non-DIYers Home Survival Kit
-Handy-dandy products and items every household should gather together-
Ok. Not everyone is a “Do It Yourselfer” (DIYer)… not everyone lays their own tile, fixes drywall, sews their own draperies and bedding and makes custom furniture. Heck, some people can’t even hang a framed picture straight! For those of you that may fall into the, uh, later category, you can remove your fix-it guys phone number from your speed dial and know that you too can tackle many home projects all by yourself!
First, do not be afraid!!!! I’m not talking about major installations or roof repair here… just a little paint, glue and simple sewing. Nothing you can really mess up! I mean, sure, maybe you should consult a professional before refinishing a piece of antique priceless furniture, but that’s just common sense! So, let’s create a basic rule of thumb before beginning any project: Google it, TEST IT, and proceed with confidence!
Now for your “At Home, DIY Tool Kit.” These are some items that I use often and would be lost without.
· A staple gun and a pack of refill staples
o Great for reupholstering dining room chairs, ottomans and other simple pieces, giving old furniture new life. This staple gun is $20 at Lowes.
· A mini glue gun and refill glue sticks
o Don’t buy the big macho glue gun… really, the little guy is cheaper and easier to use. This one is from Michael’s crafts and retails for about $8.
· An iron and ironing board
o No, this is not just for pressing your slacks and hopefully everyone already has an iron and ironing board. We’ll get to the other uses soon…
· A small sewing kit complete with a pack of needles, all-purpose thread (at least in white, black and grey), small scissors, a seam ripper, measuring tape, straight pins and if you want to be classically correct, a thimble.
o Don’t be frightened if you can’t sew… for simple fixes like sewing on a button and fixing a falling hem, it’s easy. Thread the needle with about an arm’s length of thread or a little less, tie a knot in the end, begin from the wrong side of the fabric and go in and out, in and out. When finished, tie off in the back and DONE! Of course there are more complete directions out there, so if you need them, Google it! This sewing kit is $10 at Joann’s Fabrics.
· No sew heat bonded hem tape
o This stuff is great for quick no sew hemming… but do test first as it is not great for sheer or very light weight fabrics. Use this to easily mend a fallen hem in your favorite skirt, or to “sew” your own DIY curtains! All you do is first (after you do a test of course), iron in your hem (hence the ironing board above), cut the Stitch Witchery to length ($3 for 13yds at Joann’s Fabrics), follow the heating instructions on the back of the package, and VOILA! Like double sided tape for fabric!
· A basic tool kit with a hammer, nails, both a Phillips and Flat head screwdriver, measuring tape, wrench, needle nose pliers and a utility knife.
o I know, seems obvious, but every home should have a tool kit with AT LEAST these items… and people not afraid to use them! I think out of everything, I use the needle nose pliers the most because they are great for fixing all kinds of things that just get “bent out of place” or you need to grip and crimp something back into place. This tool kit has it all and is $50 at Lowes, a wonderful investment and makes a great gift for any new homeowner or even a college kid!
· Hobby enamel paint, like model car paint and disposable brushes or Q-tips AND/OR Nail polish
o Enamel paints are PERFECT to touching up small scuffs on colored shoes (come on ladies, you know it happens and shoe polish just doesn’t cut it for your fabulous red patent leather pumps!), but also for dings in factory painted household items like picture frames, some furniture and lamps. Go to Michaels or another craft store and in the hobby model building aisle you will find LOTS of little bottles of enamel paint. The awesome part is they are super small, cheap and come in lots of metallic options and various finishes (matte to hi-gloss). Testors makes the best and they are about $2 at Michaels. Nail polish also works, but is typically not as opaque as model car paint.
· Super glue and nail polish remover with Acetone (be careful as Acetone needs to be used with caution, read instructions and do not use near eyes or mouth)
o Super glue is awesome and will stick to almost anything. Super glue is great for repairing costume jewelry and shoes, but is also great for household use… just be careful and use with care. It will bond skin and even if it just gets on one finger, it feels yucky on your skin. That’s why you should keep some nail polish remover with acetone on hand. Check out the Super glue website… there’s a glue for everything!
· Foam/sponge brushes
o For when you need to touch up the wall paint, and just don’t feel like making it a huge ordeal. These brushes retail for $0.25-$1.50, depending on where you get them, size, and if they happen to be on sale. One time, I got 20 brushes for $1 at Michaels! They can be washed and reused a few times, but if you just don’t feel like it, whatever, just toss it when you are done with the touch up. Easy… ok, and lazy too, but “you’re allowed.”
Ok, that’s enough for now. Of course you don’t need to run out right now and get all of these items all at once! These items are really useful and EASY TO USE, and I just wanted to share some of my favorite “tools.” Know they exist and when you think, “Ooh, I’d like to recover these chair seats” or “When did that picture frame get nicked?” you’ll know that YOU can make it or fix it!
I love to fix and make things myself, and I do have a bit of knowledge in my little brain, but even I do research before beginning a project. That’s how you learn! So remember, there are lots of experts out there and some like to share their knowledge on blogs or how-to websites. Google is your friend, use it!
Oh, one last recommendation, for you, the crooked picture hanger out there:
The Black & Decker GeckoGrip Spirit Level helps you hang those frames perfectly and level every time! We have one and it is awesome! Go get it at Target for $20.
Happy fixing and making! You can do it! The more you do, the more confidence you will have, and the more confidence you have, the more (and bigger) you will do. I love it…
PS… Do you have any good tips or products you’d like to share? Comment on this post and let us know how you “make and do!”