Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ten Decor Makeover Ideas for the New Year

I have some type of internal alarm clock that starts talking to me this time of year. It says, "It's time for a make over project. What's it going to be?" This time last year we decided to replace our ceiling fan in the den.
While we were at it and since we already had the 18 ft scaffolding, why not paint the ceiling? And since I have a professional faux painter at my beck and call (don't tell him I said that, I'll deny it) I thought, why not put a little texture on that back wall? Two years ago we knocked down a wall in our bedroom and made our formal living room an office. LOVE IT! I work in here (escape in here) every single day. Three years ago we repainted the kitchen including all the white laminate cabinets. See a pattern here? I have a project in mind for this year, but it doesn't involve painting. I want to organize my pantry. I told you it was a mess. Somehow, I have a feeling paint will be involved. Check out what happened when he was supposed to be cleaning out the garage? He painted the deep freeze
the door that goes into the house
and the cabinets

So, this time of year I thought if some of you would like to join me on the makeover journey I'd give you some food for thought. Here are ten easily doable makeover ideas to kick off your New Year.
1) Rearrange your furniture. It will make you feel like you've got a whole new room for zero dollars invested.
2) Go through your house and evaluate your window coverings. Curtains really warm up a room. While you are at it make sure you hang your curtains as high as you can get them to create the illusion of big windows and high ceilings. They should have at least a one inch break on the floor as well. Curtains that are too short are a decor faux pas.
3) Take a look at your cabinets. Cabinets can be jazzed up with new hardware. If that doesn't do it for you consider having them painted and glazed. You'll have a whole new look with out a huge investment.
4) Speaking of kitchen projects, resurface your laminate or tile counter tops with a concrete micro topping. It's about 1/3 of the cost of granite.
5) Replace that huge ugly mirror that runs the length of the vanity. You know the one I'm talking about and "No" this is not a mirror in my house. I found it on the internet.You can replace it with two smaller framed mirrors and add a huge style statement.
6) If you have any 80's brass light fixtures in your house make a commitment to change those out over the next year. Buy one new fixture (usually under $40 at Home Depot) each time you can afford it.
7) Take a look around your house and identify space you never use and create a new purpose for it. Many people who never use their dining rooms are turning them into libraries or reading nooks. You could turn an office into a scrap booking room or a spare bedroom into an office. If space in your house is at a premium like it is in mine make sure you are getting the benefit of every square inch.
8) Buy a few rugs and pillows. Talk about an instant face lift.
9) Create an outdoor living area.
10) Paint a room or rooms. Consider a faux treatment to add a little pizazz. Did you really think I could give you ten makeover ideas with out mentioning painting a room? Give me some credit for getting all the way to 10 without mentioning paint. O.K., technically I mentioned it in #3 but that doesn't count because that's painting cabinets not walls.

Hope this inspires you to get moving on your decor projects. Wish me luck on the pantry.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Singing Cowboy Faux Painter

I spent the last week knee deep in an online romance about the Pioneer Woman and her one true love, the Marlboro Man. If you haven't read this and you are a hopeless romantic like me, I recommend you start here. Make sure you have the time to devote to it before you start because I can guarantee you will get sucked in just like I did. Reading her story about how they met reminded me of my own story of how I met Brooks, aka Faux Daddy. I'd like to share a little of that with you.

It was January 21, 1996. I was working for a radio station group in Louisville, KY. Our station was sponsoring a band competition at a local night club. It was a fancy schmansy event with girls in evening gowns and guys in tuxes. Bob Cat Goldwaith was the Emcee. A few of us from the station decided at the last minute to go and just wear jeans and try to blend into the crowd. The band contestants had to submit a music video to enter the contest. Our local cable network ran the videos and viewers called in to vote on their favorites. The top vote getters in each category were invited to the awards show to perform. When I saw Brooks perform that night I thought to myself, "That guy is going to be a star. I have to meet him". I had met and had my picture made with tons of music stars over the years that I had worked in radio. I was thinking, "Wouldn't it be fun to have my picture with a big star before he was discovered?" I asked our promotion's director to introduce us and she took this picture.
How many people have a picture with their husband from the night they met? I'm pretty proud of it.

Brooks' band was up for "Best Country Video", "Best Song", and "Best Overall Video". He won all three categories. I'm going to try and find the video and have it converted to a digital file so I can upload that too. The song was called "Under the Old Oak Tree".

So, at the end of the night Brooks asked for my phone number. I always wondered if it was because he thought I had some connections with the music biz since I worked for a radio station. As he would quickly find out, I had zero connections. But, he did call me the next day and the next and so on and so on. We were pretty much inseparable after that first night. After about a year my radio stations were bought out and I wanted to move out of the market. My dream was to move to Nashville to work for the BIG 98 WSIX. I landed a job at sister station 107.5 THE RIVER and soon began selling advertising for both stations. Within a year we were married and Brooks joined me in Nashville. Here is a picture of him singing to me at our wedding. He sang True Companion by Marc Cohn. I was crying so hard that I ruined all my makeup. I couldn't catch my breath to say my vows.

So flash forward 12 years and two kids with special needs later. Brooks made a go of it for over 10 years singing in bars and private parties, playing writers nights and trying to get songs published. Here is a song he wrote for me that will give you an idea of why I married him and why I can never stay mad at him. Click on the play button.
Nashville is a tough town to break into. Brooks' singing these days is limited to the choir at church and we are O.K. with that. We have always known that God gave Brooks a special talent and we have tried our best to follow HIS will for our lives. Right now singing in church is where he is supposed to be.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Finished Product- Holiday Home Show

In case you didn't get to stop by the recent Make a Wish Holiday Home Show, I thought you might like to take a peek at our work. As I have written about in the past we are extremely honored to have been able to provide faux finishes in one of the homes. We worked with builder, Bob Sloan and designer, Donna Henninger to create a real show stopper. Below are the rooms we worked on. First up is the dining room with a faux leopard ceiling with a banded metallic border. Also in the dining room is a black gilded niche. Next is the den where Brooks applied anagylptic wallpaper that was finished in a warm copper metallic. He also completed a faux limestone fireplace. In the study he did a stippled glazed treatment on the walls and an upholstered leather ceiling. Upstairs, he did a mural on canvas and a horizontal stripe of white board paint called, IdeaPaint. You can write on it with dry erase markers and it wipes right off. Brooks won awards for the "Best Make a Wish Room" and the "Best Child's Room" for this room.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Revive a room with Repurposed Style

I'm just back from the preview party at the Make a Wish Home Show and I have a new love. His name is Branan White, and he is an interior designer. Have you ever walked into a home and felt like it perfectly represented your design personality? Branan was able to crawl into my decor dreams and make them come true without ever having laid eyes on me. A master of fusion design, he is known for pairing 18th and 19th Century French and English antiques with repurposed and upcycled industrial pieces. I would like to highlight some of my favorites from the MAW Show and let him inspire you to practice "upcycling" in your own home. Please excuse the picture quality. Although I can't live without my iphone, it does have it's limits.

Holiday Wreath from the 1950's made from the pages of a Christmas Book.
Close up shot

I absolutely adore these chairs.
They combine several of my favorite things, burlap, french design and flair and an aged glazed finish.

Check out this stove hood.
It is made of old tin ceiling tiles and a salvaged beam. While you're at it check out the brick back splash with the oozing mortar. It pulls the look together.

How about this for a pantry door?
It's an old barn door put on sliding rail tracks. Great for a style statement and a good space saver. I'd love to try this look in my master bath. Our door opens in and leaves no room at all.

How about snuggling up for a snooze in this bed?
Let's take a closer look at this headboard.
It's upcycled tin tiles and antique balusters.

Here's a stylish living room vignette. I love the square Louis Vuitton ottoman with the red coral and the animal prints mixed with the vintage tapestry pillows. That ottoman is for sale for $2500. That's a steal for Louis Vuitton.

Don't think I'm not going to put a fringe skirt like this on every chair I own.

This is a bar area complete with vintage seltzer bottles.
Simply stunning the way the green globes pick up the green of the weathered cabinet.

Aerial view of the study.
Again, the use of animal prints mixed with the vintage furniture and original artwork.

Lest you think I have gone off the deep end with my ode to Branan White, I am not alone in my admiration of his style. He was voted, "Best Interior Designer" for the Make a Wish Holiday Home Show. Here he is holding a guitar that will be auctioned for Make a Wish signed by Julianne Hough.

There is a store in Nashville called Preservation Station, it is a great place to look for the architectural pieces. If you know of a good place to shop for these pieces, leave me a comment. I am on a mission to incorporate some Branan White style into my own home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

IdeaPaint Project

I first learned about IdeaPaint from a post on Twitter. Twitter is a great place to stay on top of the latest trends in the painting industry. I follow lots of other faux artists, interior designers, design publications and industry related products. You can follow me on Twitter here. Take a look at who I am following and start following them. They should start following you back and before you know it you will have your own little community of inspiration and information. I am a painting and design junkie, so whenever I can read an article or blog about something new and innovative I am all over it. Such is the case with IdeaPaint. I saw a post with this video of IdeaPaint being used at the Dwell on Design convention and I was hooked. I knew I wanted to try this out, but it would have to be for the right project. We found just the right project with the Make a Wish Holiday Home Show.

We were asked to help design a room that would be a tribute to a child's Make a Wish. Chase Donnell was a local boy who made the news for giving away his Wish. He realized it wouldn't do him much good to take a shopping spree and he was too sick for a trip. He asked Make a Wish to give the gym at his school a complete makeover including new sports equipment and fresh paint. The media caught word of his selfless wish and Chase's story was broadcast on several local news stations. Here is a story News Channel 5 did on Chase.

Chase was a huge Nashville Predator's Fan. While undergoing treatment at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for Burkitt's Lymphoma he had an opportunity to meet and develop friendships with many of the Predator's players. Chase believed that "Too Too power" (from player, Jordin TooToo) would help give him the strength to fight his cancer. Chase passed away in March 2008 before he was able to see another of his wishes come true. He had hoped to sit on the Predator's bench during a home game. The Predator's paid tribute to Chase during a home game last year by placing an honorary jersey on the bench.

Our Make a Wish room has a mural on canvas Brooks created that places Chase on the Predator's bench in between his favorite players. Chase's association with the Predators lives on by giving back to the Make a Wish organization. The Predator's donate frequent flier miles to Make a Wish so that they can continue to fill the wishes of the sick children of our community.We have the News Channel 5 story playing on a loop to tell Chase's story to everyone who tours the house. We used the IdeaPaint to paint a horizontal stripe around the room. Brooks wrote key "Chase phrases" around the room to help better convey his story to the show house visitors. Our design for Chase's room won "Best Make a Wish Room" and "Best Children's Room". Here is Brooks accepting his award along with builder, Bob Sloan and designer, Donna Henninger.The next buyer of the house will be able to use it for a child's or teen bedroom with a big 24" stripe of dry erase board that goes all the way around the room. Who wouldn't love that?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Faux Limestone Fireplace

I wish I had a dime for every house I have been in that has the same builder grade white painted fireplace. BORING. With just a little bit of glaze and a few embellishments tacked on you can create a smoking fireplace with or without a fire. This is an easy do it yourself project. I've written before about it here.

Another way to add some heat to your fireplace is by applying a plaster or concrete micro topping. I would suggest you leave this to a professional faux finisher. We use a product called E-crete. Here is a fireplace that we just finished that was fauxed to look like limestone. It started out as just a shell built from HardieBacker board. You can also put this over top of just about any surface or substrate including tile and wood. Brooks put on the E-crete and then aged it to look like limestone. For more information on E-crete talk to our friend Dirk at Finish FX. So the next time you are ready to add a little dazzle to your home, think about a fireplace makeover.