Monday, April 30, 2012

Stenciled Desk

Although stenciling has been around for years it seems that in the last few it has become very hot because of the choice of beautiful stencils now available.  So, I've been anxious to try a stenciling project and when a drop-leaf desk came up on Craig's List for forty dollars I knew it was the perfect opportunity.
Here's what the desk looked like before.  It's hard to believe it's the same piece of furniture!
After a light sanding, I taped the areas I did not want painted and sprayed the inside with blue spray paint. This was much faster than using a brush or roller and the spray paint provided a nice hard finish which will wear well.
The rest of the desk was primed with a white primer, followed by Benjamin Moore's Barren Plain, which is a soft grey.
The two holes from the old hardware pulls were spackled since I was using single knobs instead of pulls. Then a foam roller was used to paint the primer and top coat for a smooth finish.
Now for the fun part--stenciling! I ordered mine from Cutting Edge Stencils.
I used Martha Stewart's craft paint in a satin finish for the stencil color. The color is called Wet Cement and it looks just like wet cement!
Before stenciling, the back of the stencil was lightly sprayed with a spray mount (glue) so that the stencil would lay flat and stick to the surface. The key to stenciling is not to overload your roller or brush. It should have just a little bit of paint or it will seep out and get underneath the stencil.
I love how the inside of the desk is a little surprise when it's opened and the blue color appears.
A small brush is used to touch up any mistakes...
Once the desk was painted the entire stenciling was done in a few hours. It looks like it takes longer but it goes pretty quickly.
Cutting Edge Stencils has so many beautiful patterns to choose from. They can be used for furniture, walls and even fabric. An easy way to make something plain looks extraordinary!

Linked up to: 
Primitive and Proper
 Supporting Habitat for Humanity

Friday, April 27, 2012

How to Choose a Paint Color

Have you ever painted a room only to find afterwards you really didn't like the color? Here's the best way to pick a paint color you'll be happy with.
Select several cards from the store to take home and look at in the room you are painting. One reason this is important is because the lighting in your room will be different than the florescent lighting in the store.

After choosing your top three or more favorites, get small sample containers of each paint color. These will either be ready-to-go or your paint store can mix them for you.

Paint each color on a piece of tag board or foam core and be sure to mark each board with the name and number of the color. Here I used smaller boards since I was working on a bathroom but on a larger wall, I would use a larger sample board.
The nice thing about these sample boards is that you can move them around the room. In a bright area near a window the color will look totally different than a dark corner where there is little light.
For this bathroom remodel we decided to go with the blue/green shade for the walls since it worked best with the beautiful glass accent tiles.
To accentuate the beautiful crisp white crown molding, we used a slightly lighter color to paint the ceiling.
I'm currently working on bath accessories to add the finishing touches so stay tuned for a peek of the finished remodel!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kosher Delights: Halvah

I've recently rediscovered halvah. 
Although it's been around for years, I've taken a fresh look at this Middle Eastern confection. The kind that I buy is the marbled sesame/chocolate halvah. It's is made with a base of Tahini, mixed with honey and kneaded into a tacky dough which is allowed to set before being cut and served, or wrapped. 

Some consider it candy but it's so much healthier--an eight-ounce bar of plain halvah is about eight percent protein and is rich in omega-9 fatty acids, copper, iron, magnesium and calcium!

If you never had halvah the taste is hard to describe--it’s basically a sweet paste of sesame--kind of like a light, sweet peanut butter. If they don't sell it where you live you can make it yourself or buy it online here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Guest Room Makeover

You may remember my Passover centerpiece post where I explained that my daughter and her husband make up the team of Chabad Nation, serving the needs of Jewish students in Amherst, Massachusetts. Some of these students often spend the night if they live too far to walk home on the Shabbat or a Jewish holiday. So, it's not unusual for them to have students sleeping over every week.

Enter the "girls" guest room. The room was bland and cold and needed some warmth and color. Here's what the room looked like before:
The nightstands and bed frames were hand-me-downs so nothing matched. Small budget? No problem!

I decided to keep the Ikea duvet bed covers since they were only a few years old and I liked the pattern. I went to many stores looking for curtain panels but they were too pricey and then I found these at Lowe's...
The price was right and I knew I hit the jackpot when the college girls asked if they were from Anthropologie

The lamps were from a thrift shop, which I blogged about back in March...

The bedside tables were bought at Target and enhanced with thumbtacks...

I also found these throw pillows at Target and these fleece throws at Ikea...
The apple green color finishes off the look and add polish to the beds. Huge difference, right?
I made the bed skirts out of plain off-white curtain panels. These was important because they covered the bed frames which were all different..
Here is the cost run-down:

Bedding: already owned
Curtain panels: $60.00
Two bedside tables: $25.00
Two lamps: $7.00
Lamp shades: $30.00
Panels for bed skirts: $30.00
Total: $152.00

Hope the girls enjoy their new guest room!

Linked up to: i should be mopping the floor 
Not JUST A Housewife 
Sew Much Ado 
The Shabby Nest 

Friday, April 20, 2012

One Year Anniversary

Happy Anniversary Design Megillah!

If you're been following us for the past year, get ready for even more posts ahead (three times a week or more, instead of two!)  There is so much in store this spring and summer so please come along for the journey.

By the way, the beautiful cupcakes in the photo (I added my own words) are from the insanely talented Glory Albin from Glorious Treats. If you haven't already check out her blog, do it now!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Beautiful Packaging

I have a confession to make. I buy many packaged items just because of the beautiful packaging. Maybe it’s my training in graphic design, or the message that there is something wonderful behind that packaging. Have I ever been disappointed in the product? Sure, but I still continue to buy those well designed packages over the others. (Shhh, don't tell my husband)!

Here's what I mean:
1. Whenever I'm in Florida shopping at a Publix supermarket I am always impressed with their line of Greenwise products.
2.  I saw this gorgeous pack of goat cheese online, it looks like it's sold in Israel...too bad. I would totally buy it if sold in the and beautiful.
3.  Bath and Body Works always has new lines of lotions and shampoos that look great in my bathroom.
4.  Fantastic water bottles!
5. My local supermarket here in Connecticut, Stop and Shop, has their own line of organic products called Nature's Promise. I love the typography on the labels and buy it often.
6. Bert's Bees has been a favorite of mine for years. I always buy our grandchildren the shampoo and bubble bath since their mommy insists on organic.
7.  Sheffield & Sons designed these spices for Bloom grocery and knocked it out of the park! In my own kitchen, I have a spice rack that is made up of these glass tubes sitting in a wood rack from The Tubular Spice Company.
8.  I'm not really a tea drinker but when I see these beautiful tins from The Republic of Tea, it makes me want to drink tea!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Laundry Room Makeover

Andy and Lauren asked for my help in updating their laundry room/mudroom.  (You may remember their family room that I blogged about here). Although the house has a "formal" front door, this room is really the entrance that gets used by family and friends.

The star of this makeover is the wallpaper from Brewster Home Fashion. It takes a bland room and adds interest and glamour! If you're in the market for wallpaper, check them out...beautiful papers in everything from traditional to contemporary--we found ours at our local Sherwin-Williams.

Below is the view looking out the back door. The walls were beige, with the doors and trim painted to match.

The after, has crisp white trim which contrasts to the beautiful wallpaper and makes it stand out even more.

The old indoor/outdoor carpeting was replaced with high tech rubber flooring--this is a different approach to the typical  laundry flooring. Here is a link to the Coin Flex Tiles.

The back of the room leads to a large screened porch. You can see the old carpet in this photo.

By painting the wood door white, the entire room is now cohesive.

There is a small powder room off this room which got a mini-makeover with a soft grey paint color and new tile on the floor.

The old washer and dryer will be replaced with shiny new red front loaders.

Since that won't happen until the old ones break down I decided to try by hand at photo imaging and show you what that will look like.
Okay, not the greatest photo imaging job but you get the idea!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Trip to the Science Center

The new science center recently opened downtown,  so we decided to take the grandchildren and spend an afternoon.  The museum is awesome and if you're passing through Hartford I highly recommend it!

The most fun room was the water room...especially good for younger children. (warning: they get really wet so pack a set of dry clothes)!
It's a world of swirling, whooshing and cascading water play areas, plus a hands-on magnetic ball wall.
Perfect for a two year old, Yosef loved the water but had wet clothing the rest of the day!
So much to see and do!
Aside from the water room my favorite was Sight and Sounds--an edgy mash up of art, music and science. There are exhibits where you can actually feel sound and others where you can hear light.
And, yes that's a baby bump--our daughter Ariel, is expecting baby number three this summer!
 If you're in the area:

Connecticut Science Center
250 Columbus Boulevard  Hartford, CT 06103

(860) 724-3623

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lack Table Hack

You may remember the Thrift Shop lamps post I blogged about last month for a guest room I am working on.  I'm still working on the guest room and needed two matching tables to use as bedside tables.

I wanted to use two Ikea Lack tables but I didn't have time to drive one hour to Ikea. Instead, I found these tables at Target--they look exactly like the Lack table.
Since these will be for guests only, there wasn't a need for storage...just a place to put a clock and maybe a glass of water. Here's what they looked like in the package...
And here is what they looked like assembled...
I've seen many bloggers do Lack table hacks, I decided to try my own version using brass colored thumb tacks from the office supply store. The first step was to measure 2 inch lines and mark with a pencil. Next, using an awl, I hammered a starter hole where I wanted my tack.
 I worked on a soft rug so I wouldn't scratch the finish of the table.

Next I started hammering the tacks in. I choose a zig-zag pattern.
Once the measuring was done it went pretty quickly.
For less than $25.00 I have two bedside tables. I can't wait to get them into the room and add the finishing touches!

Linked to Hookin Up with HoH 
The Shabby Nest
Fingerprints on the Fridge
creative jewish mom 
not just a housewife 
French Country Cottage

Monday, April 9, 2012

Condo Flipping in Florida

My sister Lisa and I had an idea: buy a condo in Florida that needed lots of work, fix it up and put it right back on the market for a profit. (Our father was a carpenter so this sort of thing is in our blood). Move over Donald Trump!

The condo we bought was in poor shape--old wall to wall carpeting, a mirrored wall and lots of bad wallpaper.  We had to stage it as inexpensively as possible if we were to make a profit.

Let's start with the kitchen--bad wallpaper, fake Tiffany shade, and outdated wood cabinet pulls and tile floor.
The old light fixture went into the trash but a nice lady I met at the dumpster asked if she could have it. Yes!
A new Ikea Melodi pendent replaced the "Tiffany" shade and the walls were painted a milk chocolate color to add some richness to a bland kitchen. Oil-rubbed bronze hardware replaced the wood pulls and I made a window valance from one curtain panel I found at Target. Laminate flooring replaced the outdated tile floor.

When you are staging a home for sale, small touches like fresh new towels on the oven make a big difference...
As do faux clementines on the counter.
The living/dining room had old carpet, a mirrored wall and seventies furniture.
The first step was taking out the mirrored wall and painting all the walls a neutral color. The old carpet was replaced with the same laminate floors in the kitchen and drapery panels soften the view looking out the sliding glass doors.
The dining room table and chairs were left behind, so I gave the brassy chandelier a coat of metallic bronze paint.
The chairs got the same paint treatment as the chandelier and I used the leftover fabric from the kitchen window valance to cover the seats.
Framed scrapbook paper adds color to the neutral walls.

The master bedroom also had old wallpaper, carpet and drab bedding.
The headboard was given a fresh coat of glossy white paint, the walls a beachy shade of soft gray/blue, a new duvet from Ikea and new mushroom colored carpet. So much fresher and more inviting, right?

The main bath was covered in "interesting" dark wallpaper making the room feel cave-like.
A soft gray/blue went on the walls and ceiling picking up the colors from the Bredgrund shower curtain I found at Ikea.
A lot of work, but we actually finished a day ahead of schedule and headed to Delray beach for a glorious day!

Lisa loves Delray and visits often but it was my first time there. It reminded me of the beach towns here in New England---quaint and chic!
We strolled across a bridge over the inter-coastal to get to the beach.
 The day turned out beautiful after threats of rain on the weather forecast.
The town is charming...filled with cafes and shops.
A saltwater fish tank was filled with real jellyfish and I loved these light fixtures--they reminded me of giant beach shells.

I don't know if we're going to make a profit on this project or if we'll do this again but it was a good excuse to go down to Florida and visit with my sister.

So, can I interest anyone in a nice condo in South Florida?

Linked to i should be mopping the floor
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