External and internal decorations

"A designer knows when he has reached perfection not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away."

Antione de Sainte-Exupery

I think it goes without saying that 2020 didn’t work out quite like I had planned. I’m pretty sure most of us could say that. I started out the year with all kinds of projects planned for the year (you can see my 2020 Master List of Home Goals here), and when all was said and done, I only managed to get a tiny fraction of things on that list started, with even fewer of them actually finished. I also added a pretty significant weeks-long project that I hadn’t planned on doing at the beginning of the year — my mom’s kitchen makeover. So really, I got more done that my original list would indicate. But overall, I’d say that 2020 was my least productive year since I started blogging about my DIY projects. That’s okay. It was a strange and hard year, and I’ll cut myself some slack. So here’s a quick review of what I actually did get done this last year. Music Room First, I painted the bookcases and doors in the music room. The bookcases were white and the doors were black… And I both the bookcases and doors in the music room the same dark […]

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Happy New Year, y’all! We made it. 2020 is officially in our rear view mirror, and I couldn’t be happier about that. But that dreadful year couldn’t just go quietly at the end. It took my grandmother — my last remaining grandparent — with it. I’ve mentioned her several times before in previous posts, so those of you who have been around for a while may remember me writing about her. Her grandchildren called her Mernie. She was an amazing woman, a force of nature, and a huge influence on my life. This was her on her 104th birthday. Mernie was born in 1912, and died last Tuesday, December 29, at the age of 108. It’s hard to even imagine everything she saw and experienced over her 108 years, having been born before indoor plumbing was common and outhouses were the norm, and before cars were common, and before most houses had electricity and were still being lighted with kerosene lamps and heated with wood stoves. She had such amazing and funny stories to tell of her childhood, dating my grandfather, and life in general over her 108 years. People often ask me how I got into building and DIY […]

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In support of Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day, the team at Standage got involved and donned their best festive jumpers. In an effort to... Read more »

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mountain of cardboard

Good morning, all! I’m still working towards my goal of getting my house all clean and ready to go for the new year, and things are moving along pretty well now. I started off the week still dragging my feet and working pretty slowly and reluctantly just because the task at hand seemed so huge. But yesterday I started to see some major progress, and that got me excited and motivated to work even harder and faster to get it all done. I won’t show you how my house started off, because while I try to be pretty open and transparent, I’m not willing to open myself up to that level of ridicule. 😀 Just suffice it to say that over the last few months, the condition of my house became worse than it has ever been. I’m the only person in this house who has the ability to pick up, clean, and organize. So when I pretty much stopped doing those things, there was no one else to pick up the slack until I got my act together again. So while I won’t show you all of the mess, I’ll give you a glimpse into the kind of craziness […]

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DIY utensil drawer organizer - 12

This week hasn’t been quite as productive as I had hoped, but the good news is that I’m actually starting to feel excited about house-related stuff again! I had my consultation for my tooth (I have to get a dental implant, in case you missed that) on Tuesday. I so appreciate all of your comments sharing your own experiences! I’ve never had this done before, so I was expecting it to be similar to having my wisdom teeth out. But by the time I had my appointment, I had already read many of your comments telling me that this will be much easier than having wisdom teeth out, so I was feeling pretty calm by the time I arrived for my appointment. I go back for the actual procedure on December 22nd, and I’m not feeling the least bit anxious about it anymore. So thank you! Reading about your experiences really helped me know what to expect, and to feel pretty calm about the whole thing. Anyway, Wednesdays are Lunch On The Patio with my mom, brother, and sister. We’ve been doing this every Wednesday for about a year-and-a-half. Everyone brings their own steaks, I grill them, and then we […]

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finished bedding - 2

Okay, y’all. I’m back. I didn’t quite mean to be gone that long, but I just needed to check out for a while. Are any of you feeling like 2020 has been using us as punching bag? That’s kind of how I feel. And then when our precious Peeve (our 17-year-old calico) died, that was the final gut punch to finish me off. Matt didn’t handle it so well, either. And when he has some sort of emotional trauma, it affects him a thousand times more than it does us relatively healthy, able-bodied people. M.S. is a strange thing like that. So when that happens to him, he requires much more of my time and attention. And to cap off this epically strange and horrible year, I learned that I have to have oral surgery to have a dental implant. A tooth with a decades-old root canal and filling gave way and cracked completely in two, so now I have to have it removed and replaced. What a perfect way to cap off this year, huh? But I’ve decided that as much as I’d love to completely check out and drown myself in sleep, food, and Hallmark movies for the […]

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159-165 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PA Client: Langham Estate Description of project: This internal refurbishment project in the centre of London was started in... Read more »

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Y’all, I’m absolutely heartbroken. Last Tuesday, Matt and I had to say goodbye to our precious 17-year-old calico, Peeve. She was a little 5-pound cat with a 1000-pound personality, and our home feels so empty without her. Matt and I got her on our one-year wedding anniversary during a weekend trip to the Oregon coat. We hadn’t planned on getting a cat, but as we walked around in that small coastal town, we spotted a pet store and stopped in. I’ve never been a “pet store” kind of person, but when I laid eyes on this tiny little calico cat, she stole my heart and I had to have her. They kept her for us until we were ready to head back home since we couldn’t keep her in the bed and breakfast where we were staying. So on our way out of town, we swung by and picked up our new kitten. And then she proceeded to SCREAM AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS all the way home — for 90 straight minutes. 😀 Several times during that trip, I looked at Matt with these SCREAMING kitten on my shoulder and asked, “What the heck have we done? What […]

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lamp makeover before and after

I’m almost at the finish line on this guest bedroom makeover, and I’m focusing on all of the final little finishing touches. I wanted a lamp to go on the dresser, but instead of buying a new one, I decided to use one I already had. It was a cute little lamp, and there was really nothing wrong with it at all. It just seemed a little dull for the room. So I jazzed it up with some new clean white and gold paint and golden yellow fabric for the lamp shade. I had originally purchased this lamp to use in the hallway bathroom, and I used it in there for quite a while. But then when I did the colorful makeover on that bathroom in 2019, it didn’t really go in there anymore, so it went into my stash of extra stuff. So I got it out to use in this room. Many time, I can just tape off different areas of a lamp to paint them. But since this one had that glass section with the interesting shape sitting on the metal base, I didn’t think I could tape it off good enough to get really sharp lines […]

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before - living room

I have one more main project to do before the guest bedroom is finished. I still have to sew the draperies. Other than that, it’s just a few touch ups, some accessorizing, and then it’s done! But this past weekend, I was at the point of the project where I was starting to feel like it’ll never be done. Honestly, I’ve been at that point for a couple of weeks now. And when I reach that point in a project, I start to question if I’m ever going to get this house done. And then I start to question what the heck I’ve even accomplished in the first place since we bought this house. Since I live in this house day after day, and I only experience the gradual changes each day, sometimes it’s hard to remember exactly what I started out with. So last night, I took a trip down memory lane to encourage myself, and remember exactly what this house looked like when we signed the papers and were handed the key. I’ll never forget walking through the house the first time with my mom. She looked at me with the most concerned look on her face and […]

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framed full length mirror - 16

I crossed one more project off of the list for the guest bedroom. The full-length mirror is framed and ready to hang on the wall. I had mentioned the possibility of using yellow on the TV frame, but I decided to use it on this much thinner frame instead. I still need to hang the mirror, and to do that, I’ll use a Hangman mirror hanger. Those are the only things I’ll use to hang large and/or heavy items on my walls. But let’s get to the framing process. I started by cutting a piece of 1/2-inch plywood (that I already had on hand and has been stored outside, which is why it looks like it’s seen better days 😀 ) to the dimensions of my mirror, plus about 1/16th inch in both directions. Next, I used my table saw to cut some lumber to the thickness that I wanted for the frame. I started with a 1″ x 3″ piece of lumber, and cut it into pieces that are about 3/8″ x 1-1/4″. Using 1.5″ 18-gauge nails and wood glue, I attached those pieces to the edges of the plywood. You can see above that I did not miter […]

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finished artwork 2

I needed some artwork to go on the TV wall in the bedroom, so naturally, I made my own. I kept it super simple, and this is something almost anyone can do. This is the wall that needed the artwork… I didn’t want to take a lot of time or spend a lot of money on this, so I pretty much used what I had on hand, with the exception of one sample size of yellow paint. I already had four of my favorite white frames from Target on hand (you can find those frames here), so I decided to do four pieces of artwork so that I could hang two on each side of the TV. I didn’t even bother to do this artwork on separate sheets of art paper. The backs of the frames are very thick and smooth cardboard, so I just painted right on them! 😀 I started by brushing on a couple of coats of water-based primer… And then I brushed on two coats of my background color. I used the same paint that I used as the background on the feature wall. I brushed each coat in opposite directions, letting the first dry completely […]

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finished closet - 3

I finally started tackling the single remaining project I was dreading the most — finishing the interiors of the closets. I got one of them finished, and still have one to go. And while the project itself wasn’t that exciting, there’s something about finally being able to move my stuff into the room that takes it from being just a fun room to decorate to being an actual bedroom. If you’re new around here, let me explain. This bedroom is actually the guest bedroom. But for now, Matt and I will move in there and use it as our main bedroom until we are able to do the addition on the back of our house that will include a master suite, laundry/utility room, and family room. After closing off the original closet in this room and adding that space to the adjoining room (which will be our home gym eventually), I needed to carve out some space from the bedroom for new closets. I built two closets flanking the window. To save space, I used sliding doors instead of hinged doors. So the exteriors of the closets have been finished for a while, but the insides still needed attention. Here’s […]

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finished bedding - 1

The bedding for the guest bedroom is finished! I read through all of your comments, and got inspiration from some of the suggestions. Many people suggested that I use both of the blue fabrics, and there were several different suggestions on how I could do that. A couple of people suggested that I try the strie fabric with the pattern going horizontally. And then someone linked this pretty blue, yellow and white pillow. I loved it, but I really wanted to use what I had on hand, so I used it as inspiration for how to piece together the fabric I had. This is how it turned out… Now that the bedding is finished, I have a few more projects to wrap up, some touchups to do, and then I need to bring in all of the finishing touches. The biggest project still left undone is the finishing of the closet interiors. It’s not an exciting project at all (which is why I’ve been dragging my feet on it), but obviously it needs to be done for these closets to be useful. And then the other big project is sewing the draperies. But now that I’ve been sewing for a […]

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guest bedroom bedding - 21

My trim for the guest bedroom bedding finally arrived, so I was able to finish up the quilt and two pillow shams yesterday. I still have three more pillows that I need to sew, so the bedding isn’t quite finished yet. I’ll show you the options for the other pillows later in this post, but here’s what I actually have finished so far… I ordered this quilt set from Overstock in a king size to use for the actual quilt, and then I bought a twin size to use to make matching pillow shams. I ordered a king size, even though the bed is a queen size, because I wanted to be able to customize it to the precise size I wanted. So naturally, the king size was way too big… Before I did any cutting and resizing, I washed it, which made the fabric so incredibly soft. I’m very happy with this quilt. It’s not too heavy, not too lightweight, and super soft. I also like the very simple stitching. So after washing it and then spreading it out on the bed… I determined exactly how much I wanted it to hang down on each side, and then started […]

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We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a Bronze award at the Considerate Constructors Scheme for our internal and external refurbishment work at Two... Read more »

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guest bedroom progress 1

I took a few days away from working on the guest bedroom (and anything else house-related) because I reached a point where I was having trouble finding things I needed — things I’m used to purchasing locally and never having trouble finding. I presume because supply lines are being affected by COVID, things that I assumed would always be a short car drive away whenever I needed them are now getting harder and harder to find. Have you noticed this as well? So I’ve kind of been in a holding pattern the last few days as I wait for things to arrive, and in the meantime, I’ve spent a few days working on some not-so-blogworthy things around the house. I had hoped to have my draperies done by now. Last Friday, I headed to Joann Fabrics to pick up lining so that I’d be prepared to spend the weekend sewing. But there’s no white mid-weight drapery lining to be found locally. It as a little shocking to see that entire section of the store completely bare. I even had a hard time finding what I needed online, and finally had to settle for a brand that I’ve never used before. […]

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floor plan - guest bedroom and hallway bathroom secluded

Would you ever list an unused bedroom in your home on AirBNB or similar site? This is something I’ve been contemplating as I’m trying to get the guest bedroom finished. I absolutely love how this room is turning out, and that’s even without the bedding and decorative touches. I think when it’s finished, it might be one of my favorite rooms I’ve ever done. And while this will be our actual main bedroom for the foreseeable future, there will come a time when we’ll have our new master bedroom and bathroom, and this will be an actual guest bedroom that sits unused most of the year. I don’t like the idea of such a nice bedroom (if I may say so myself 😀 ) sitting unused. So the idea crossed my mind that I could list it on AirBNB. I thought it might be a safe choice because, as I understand it, guests are rated as well on sites like AirBNB. I actually think the layout of our house would be very conducive to hosting guests. While the guest bedroom isn’t a suite with its own private bathroom, it may as well be. The hallway bathroom is just right there, […]

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diy tv frame for wall mount tv - 3

I’m continuing to make progress on the guest bedroom, and while I don’t have any major projects to share with you today, I do have a few updates I wanted to share. First, remember how I got a new mattress, and then it didn’t fit into our existing bed frame because it was about an inch or two too wide, and about an inch too long? I love this new mattress (you can find it here) so I wasn’t willing to return it. I had to find a way to make it work. This is a bed frame that I made several years ago soon after we moved into this house. If you missed that project, you can find it here… DIY Stained Wood Raised Platform Bed And if you missed the headboard project, you can find that here… DIY Wood Framed Upholstered Headboard I designed the original bed so that the mattress fit down into the frame just over three inches. I liked this design because (1) the mattress I designed it for was a 17 inch mattress, which is ridiculously high, and (2) I liked that it prevented the mattress from shifting around and kept it secure in […]

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dresser makeover 2 - after

Remember the new dresser I bought for the guest bedroom? It was the perfect size, and the perfect configuration. (I really loved that 9-drawer configuration.) But the color was…well…it left a lot to be desired for me. That dark finish was fine, but I’m much more of a painted wood kind of person. And with a stained bed and a stained writing desk in the room already, another large stained piece of furniture was just too much for me. So I painted it the same blue that I used on the opposite mural wall. Here it is dressed in its new color… Ahhhh, yes. This is so much more me, right? I just love how it turned out! The color I used is a custom color that I had mixed to use as the base color for the mural wall. You can see the formula here… So let me walk you through the steps that I took to paint this dresser. How to paint a stained wood dresser: 1. Sand the original finish. This dresser was new with a very shiny factory finish on it. So I started by sanding the whole thing by hand with 220-grit sandpaper. This helps […]

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blue headboard with wood frame - 2

Well, y’all, I’m second-guessing my decision on the bed in the guest bedroom. Let me explain. My original plan was to use the bed that I built many years ago, and upholster it with golden yellow velvet to make it look something like this… Of course, I love the boldness of the color and the contrast with the wall. So on Tuesday, I dragged the bed frame into the room, and after a trip to Joann Fabric and Home Depot for supplies, I got started on upholstering the base. But I didn’t get very far, and then I spent yesterday with my mom, so I didn’t any work done at all. When I got home early yesterday evening, I decided to drag the headboard into the bedroom also. I hadn’t planned to use the headboard at all. That headboard already has a lot of trim (glued on with wood glue), as well as an upholstered panel on the front. Spending time and energy removing all of that in order to reupholster it seems like a waste when I can just sell or give it away, and then start fresh with a new piece of plywood. But out of curiosity, I […]

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how to turn hardwire sconces into plugin sconces - 16

The little nook between the built-in closets in the bedroom has new sconces. I had originally planned to build a window seat in this area, but I have now decided to put a small writing desk in this nook. So the nook needed some lighting, and these dimmable brass sconces were just what I needed. The price was great, and I love the simple design and the tall shades. Because I was installing them on the sides of the built-in closets (which still aren’t finished inside), and they needed to be plugged into the outlets inside the closets, I purchased hardwired sconces and converted them into plug-in sconces. I purchased these dimmable remote-controlled light controls — one for each sconce — along with two of these very inexpensive indoor extension cords. Then I measured and marked for the placement of the sconce on the outside of the closet. These sconces had the two decorative nuts that hold the sconce to the plate. So I removed the mounting plate, leaving the long screws attached, and then used a level to get the mounting plate just right. Then I used a pencil to mark placement. The mounting screws (i.e., the screws that […]

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Guest bedroom white nightstands with yellow velvet for headboard and upholstered bed

The first pieces of furniture are in the guest bedroom! The nightstands arrived yesterday, and I got to work putting them together. Here are the ones I chose… This is the Westerleigh 1-Drawer Nightstand from AllModern. It looks like they’re sold out of the white right now, but they still have it in gray and pink. It was really quite easy to put together, but I did have to uninstall and reinstall the drawer slides (which came pre-installed) on both of them because they drawer front wouldn’t line up properly in the opening. That was a bit annoying, but it wasn’t difficult. Anyway, I draped the golden yellow velvet headboard fabric over a cardboard box just to get an idea of what it’ll look like… This is the Majesty Velvet in gold from Fabric.com, and it’s really gorgeous and soft. I can’t wait to get the bed upholstered and the new headboard made! I mentioned yesterday that I will probably build a dresser for the room. I feel like the room needs the warmth of some stained wood, which I have in the other rooms with the hardwood floor. But since this room has a painted floor, I’ll have to […]

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finished painted floor - offset stripe design - 6

My guest bedroom painted hardwood floor with the offset striped design is finally finished! I got three coats of clear coat on the floor on Tuesday, left it alone to dry for about 24 hours, and then installed the shoe molding yesterday afternoon. If you missed the first part of this project, you can find that post here… DIY Painted Hardwood Floor – Offset Striped Design – Part 1 And here’s how it turned out… I explained in the previous post how I marked and taped off the stripes, so you can find those details there. (Find the link at the top of this post.) After getting all of the stripes painted, I went back and did any necessary touchups, and then let those dry for a couple of hours. Then I was ready for the clear coat. To clear coat this floor, I used Varathane Water-Based Polyurethane Floor Finish in a matte finish. To apply it, I used a 5-inch stain and waterproofing brush, and I attached it to the end of an extension pole. I simply dipped the brush into the can of polyurethane, and brushed it right on to the floor. There were no other materials or […]

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my favorite go to paint products - general finishes high performance topcoat flat

I started painting the dresser for the guest bedroom yesterday (you can see the “before” dresser here if you missed it) and as I was priming the dresser, I started thinking through all of my favorite “go to” paint products that I’ve come to love and depend on over my years of DIYing as I’ve tried out various products and determined which ones are my favorites. Over my 13 years of blogging about decorating and DIY, the questions I get the most always pertain to painting — painting furniture, painting cabinets, painting trim, painting exteriors. I think most homeowners know that paint is the cheapest way to update a home, but for so many who are new to DIY, knowing exactly what to buy can be a bit intimidating at first. So today I thought I’d share my favorite go-to products that I use for all of my painting projects, whether I’m painting brand new drywall, kitchen cabinets, or the exterior of my house. Behr Premium Plus This is my general go-to paint for almost everything. I’ll use it for furniture, walls, trim, and cabinets. You’ll notice that I don’t get the Behr Ultra or Marquee, which are more expensive […]

The post All Of My Favorite Paint Project Products — From Primer To...

sweetnight mattress review - 1

Have you ever received the wrong item from Amazon? I have twice now. One time I ordered something small and inconsequential and received barbecue sauce instead. But this time….well, this time I ordered a queen size mattress — the kind that comes stuffed into a box that seems like there’s no way it could possibly hold a mattress, and then you cut the plastic away and the mattress expands to five times the size of the box over the next few hours — and they sent me the wrong one. Our current mattress is old, and it was time for a new one. I’ve been shopping locally for one, and it seemed like the choices were (1) buy some no-brand questionable mattress for dirt cheap, or (2) buy a brand name mattress that costs about $2000 or more. I didn’t like those options that I was finding locally, so I decided that I would go to Amazon and buy the 12-inch queen size mattress with the highest customer rating that had at least 200 ratings. That “at least 200 ratings” criterion was totally arbitrary, but I just figured that 200 was a sufficient number of ratings. If something has a […]

The post Random Guest Bedroom Updates: Amazon Inconvenience, Mattress Comparisons, and a New Dresser appeared...

diy writing desk with drawer - 10

My little writing desk that I built is now completely finished, and I decided to go with a stained and waxed finish. If you missed the previous post on this project where I show how to build the desk, you can find that here… How To Build A Small DIY Writing Desk With Drawer – Part 1 So yesterday, I got to work on the finish. And after spending a bit of time working out all of the room details in my mind (especially how I would use the golden yellow velvet fabric that I had originally intended for a new headboard), I finally had my plan worked out, and decided to go with a stained finish on the writing desk. The base of the desk and the trim around the desktop is pine, but the plywood top is birch, so I was afraid that getting it all to match might be a problem. But in the end, I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I started by staining the entire desk using Varathane Premium Stain in the color Carrington. This particular stain is not a penetrating stain, but it’s also not a gel stain. It’s somewhere in between, […]

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how to build a simple writing desk with a drawer - 36

After considering several options for how I wanted to use this space between the closets in the guest bedroom, I finally settled on building a small DIY writing desk with a drawer. This is a very easy and relatively quick building project. I got this basic build done in one afternoon/evening. If you’re pretty new to DIY furniture building, and want to try your hand at a pretty simple build, this is a great piece to try. I still need to decide how I want to finish the desk (paint? stain?). Right now, I’m leaning towards stain, but we’ll see. This desk is 30″h x 48″w x 20″d. So let me start from the beginning and show you how I built this simple little writing desk, and of course, you could adjust the measurements to make the desk exactly the size you need for your particular room. How To Build The Desk Base The base of the desk was made using 1″ x 4″ lumber, and 1.75″ x 1.75″ square dowels. I cut the pieces as follows, but of course, these can be adjusted to make the desk any size you need. Two side aprons cut to 15 1/2 inches […]

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turn a floor lamp into a cordless lamp - 13

In my ongoing quest to finally finish my living room, I’ve been stealing a few minutes here and there from my focus on the guest bedroom in order to get a few final projects finished in the living room. So the other day, I purchased this floor lamp at Target to go between the purple chairs. I loved the lamp, but because it was going between two chairs that weren’t against a wall, and that I walk behind several times a day in order to get from the living room to the kitchen, figuring out how and where to plug it in became quite challenge. I had even considered cutting a slit in the area rug, running the cord underneath towards the window, and then having the cord follow along the baseboards around to the outlet to the right of the cased opening into the kitchen. If you didn’t follow that, don’t worry. The point is that it was a complicated solution, and probably wouldn’t have worked anyway because running a cord under an area rug (1) isn’t really the safest thing to do, and (2) would create a little hump in the rug that can be seen under the […]

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DIY resized and framed canvas for living room - 24

My new living room artwork arrived last week, so I took some time out from working on the guest bedroom yesterday to resize and frame the new canvas artwork. I purchased this amazing piece called Displacement by Scott Naismith. It’s so beautiful and colorful, and it looks like it was painted to go in my living room. But unfortunately, none of the available sizes would work in that inset area over my fireplace. So I had to resize it before I could frame and hang it above the fireplace. If you’ve ever done a wrap-and-staple project of any kind — a headboard, a dining chair seat — then you can stretch a canvas. The canvas is just wrapped around a wood frame and stapled either on the edge or on the back. This one was stapled on the back… So I just used a small flathead screwdriver and pliers to remove all of the staples. I removed the canvas completely and set it aside so that I was just left with the wood canvas stretcher frame. And since I was keeping the original height of the canvas and only narrowing the width, I removed one end piece from the canvas […]

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