Archive for February, 2010

Figuring Out A Whole-House Paint Palette

Paint can pretty much be chalked up to a learning experience around Casa Petersik. From painting all of our home’s trim with flat paint right after we moved in (baaad idea, use semi-gloss!) to picking a different color of the rainbow for each room (not the way to make a small house flow!) we’ve pretty much made every mistake in the book. And over the last almost-four years our walls have definitely “evolved” as we learned what we liked (and a whole lot of what we didn’t).

We decided to use a handy little floor plan (created thanks to Floorplanner) to demonstrate three “stages” of our home’s ever changing color scheme to show that homes don’t usually “magically come together” overnight. Sometimes it takes some experimentation and a bit of repainting (and repainting again) to get ‘er done. But with every little change that you make you’ll be inching towards the home of your dreams- and just like the right dress can theoretically make you look slimmer and bring out your eyes, the right wall color really can turn any house into a dream home (all for about $30 a room and an afternoon of your time).

Here’s what we meant when we mentioned that we picked nearly every color in the rainbow for our house’s original color scheme right after we moved in…

Color Scheme: THEN

From an orangy-yellow in the den to an easter-egg-ish pastel green for the living room, our choices really ran the gamut. And we even went with a bright robin’s egg blue for the third bedroom (which was formerly the dining room) and the half bath. Of course looking back those were odd choices for two of the smallest rooms in our house. In short: when this color scheme was in effect, it felt like you were entering a different house every time you stepped into a different room instead of feeling like there was an overall cohesion and flow to our modestly sized ranch home.

The funny thing is that the only color that we chose to use twice was the bold turquoise color in the 3rd bedroom and the 1/2 bath. Now we understand that in a small house you want continuity and rooms that feel like they flow- and not like they’re chopped up with different color schemes- so we routinely repeat colors or slide a shade or two darker or lighter to keep things feeling related throughout our entire home’s floor plan. Then we chose to repeat the soft blue-gray bedroom color in the kitchen while keeping the rest of the house subdued and neutral, and stood back and admired how the creams, sandy tans, and soft gray-blues worked together to create spaces that felt varied and interesting without evoking that chaotic and unrelated vibe.

Color Scheme: MIDPOINT

Only the master bedroom and the sunroom escaped the repainting massacre that took us from the “then” paint color breakdown to this “midpoint” diagram above. And while it may not look exciting on screen – it totally made the house feel bigger, more connected and a lot more grown up. What we had done was accomplish a more toned down and agreeable whole house palette, but we still ached for something a bit more interesting and textural (nothing too high contrast, but just a few unexpected paint color applications to keep things feeling fresh) so we did a few things to take our house from serene and soft to serene and soft… with a bit of a twist.

Color Scheme: NOW

It wasn’t anything too major, but we definitely made a few noteworthy and fun little tweaks none the less (and the few changes that we’re about to list earn us BY FAR the most paint color compliments, so it really does pay to go that extra mile):

1. We painted the ceiling of the blue-gray master bedroom a softer more subtle blue-green tone to create a dreamy ambiance that far surpasses the magic of a white ceiling. Read more about this project here.

2. We added playful tone on tone horizontal stripes to the half bathroom in a few hours one evening (for under five dollars). Best time and money we ever spent. Read more about this project here.

3. We took the full bathroom from the same color as the living room and guest bedroom to a soft khaki green color (since they were all in such close proximity this added a nice varied feeling to a layout that was feeling a bit tan on tan on tan before). And we even carried the same wall color right up onto the ceiling for a seamless effect. Read more about this project here.

4. We chose a cheerful pear color for the walls of the newly created nursery and added a splash of soft aqua on the ceiling (the blue ceiling tied into the master bedroom and the kitchen while the green walls related to the nearby khaki green bathroom and a slew of green accessories throughout the house). Read more about this project here (and see additional photos here and here).

And we’re not done yet. Homeownership is an ever evolving process, I tell ya. Next on the agenda: nixing our white ceilings. We know they’ll feel higher and a lot less stark and jarring when they’re better integrated into our home’s palette. In fact, we’re planning to paint almost every single one in either a lighter tone of the wall color (they’ll still feel lifted but not quite as stark), the same exact hue as the walls (if the walls are light enough this really blurs the bounds of the room and makes it feel a lot more expansive), or even a contrasting or complementary color (we’ve always wanted to paint our tan sunroom’s ceiling sky blue).

So that’s where we are at the present time when it comes to our home’s state of paint affairs. And since we know you guys love all the dirty details, here’s a quick rundown of our casa’s current colors:

Note: Some of the Glidden colors listed above are no longer available, but they can supposedly look up the formulas on the computer and whip them up for you. If not, Glidden’s Wishes is now called Eloquent Ivory (it’s the same exact formula), Benjamin Moore’s Quiet Moments is very similar to Glidden’s Gentle Tide and Benjamin Moore’s Ashen Tan is very close to Glidden’s Sand White.

And why stop now when there are more things we can add bullets to? Here are few of the major paint discoveries that we made along the way. Here’s hoping they help you sleuth out the perfect color palette for your casa:

So that does it for our yeah-we-make-mistakes-too-and-learn-as-we-go-and-repaint-rooms-a-few-times-to-get-things-right post. It definitely helps to remember that paint is the cheapest mistake you can make! So stop being paralyzed by indecision and just dive in. If you pick the right color you’ll be over the moon, and even if it’s wrong you’ll learn what you don’t like so you’re closer to scooping up the perfect shade… and you’ll only be out around $20-30 bucks. Happy painting to you and yours!

Psst- Wanna see some of our favorite go-to paint colors? Check out this post full of tried and true tones and shades. Of course they look different in every room (due to lighting and other ever-changing factors) so we just suggest grabbing a bunch of them and bringing them home to see which ones look best on your wall. Happy hunting…



Feeling Sheepish: Making A Faux Sheepskin Rug (Part 2)

So we’re back with our second faux sheepskin DIY undertaking (after sharing the first one this morning). For this project we actually visited the biggest most insane fabric store that we’d ever seen while on a recent trip to Charlotte to visit some friends. It’s called Mary Jo’s Cloth Store and it’s basically a gigantic 32,000 square foot warehouse full of about a million bolts of fabric (we’re talking about a football-stadium-sized holy grail of textiles). And it’s located right outside of Charlotte (just off of 1-85 at exit 21).

All I can say is that if they don’t have it there, nobody does. Plus their prices are fantastic. We saw designer prints marked down to $10 a yard that go for $19 a yard here at fabric stores in Richmond. Yes please. Here I am among the rows and rows (and rows) of stacked fabric bolts with my cute friend Kristin who showed us around the town (remember we crashed her house for you a while back?).

And here’s John doing what he does best. Finding the weirdest thing he can and taking an ironic picture with it (yes that’s dental themed fabric with teeth, floss, toothbrushes, and sayings like “smile!” on it). Like I said, if you’re looking for something specific they have it at Mary Jo’s.

Anyway, we ended up bypassing all the quirky patterns (cats with yarn? check. dogs in baskets? check) and picked up a yard and a half of gorgeous nursery fabric to make a modified crib skirt (to obscure the space between our crib mattress and the top of our slide out drawer- stay tuned for those details) along with one yard of fluffy ivory faux fur. We looked through dozens of faux fur options to find the densest, most creamy colored version that looked and felt the most like sheepskin. And the cost? $14.99 for the yard that we grabbed.

The best thing is that it was on one of those super long bolts so even though it was only 3 feet wide, our big rectangle of fluffiness was nearly six feet long which meant we could get three faux sheepskin throws out of it, making them just $5 a pop (which is a heckova deal when you consider that Ikea’s cheap-o real ones are around $25 each). Of course we just whipped out our homemade paper sheepskin template (see how we made that in this morning’s post) and used a thin sharpie to trace the pattern from our template onto the back of our fabric three times.

Then I did a test cut on the edge of the fabric to be sure fluff wouldn’t fly everywhere and the faux fur wouldn’t completely unwind or come loose when it was trimmed down to size. Happily just a few fluffs were freed with each snip (it was sort of like giving the large shaggy fabric a haircut) but nothing too major was released, and even when I tugged on the fur around the edge of my test cut it held steady and didn’t unravel. Whew. This meant that I could then go ahead and cut along me three sharpie outlines to create three fast and easy faux sheepskin throws in a matter of minutes without worrying about binding the edges. Easy.

Things were a bit floofy when I was done (picture my black shirt covered in matted sheepdog-like hair) so I tossed all three of our new throws into the dryer on “extra low heat” and let them spin a bit to shake out any and all remaining fuzz. It worked like a charm and when I pulled out our three surprisingly realistic looking $5 faux sheepskins they looked pretty darn good. Definitely good enough to be used around the base of my Christmas tree, draped over chairs and the back of my couch, tossed over an ottoman or two, etc. And this dryer de-floofing process seemed to really be effective since I was no longer covered with white hair every time I brushed up against them. Which is nice because that would seriously get annoying.

Now just as we mentioned that this morning’s DIY sheepskin project yielded more structured “rug-like” versions, this approach makes for much floppier and flexible “throw-like” accents. So they’re great for tossing over pieces of furniture to add some nice lightness and softness but probably couldn’t hold up on the floor (without creating death-trap slipping scenarios) like our rug counterparts could from this morning. So here’s one of our three new furry guys living it up on the storage bench in our dining area (pardon the bluish-white cast, the sky was reflecting through the window- for a more true indication of the real color check out the picture of them in the dryer above).

Here’s a close up so you can see how the edges look nice and fluffy just like the real deal. We honestly don’t know if anyone would be able to tell that we switched out our real sheepskin for this faux one since they look so eerily similar. Which was totally the goal. Score.

We tossed the second one over the back of a nearby living room chair (we love the layered tone on tone texture that it adds).

And draped the third one over the back of another slipper chair in our den. Doesn’t it look soft and inviting? Who knew three $5 upgrades could add so much to three different seating areas in our house?

So that’s our second faux sheepskin DIY tutorial for ya. It really was as simple as hunting down some wooly white fabric (or even a white furry blanket if you see one of those at TJ Maxx, Home Goods or Target), whipping up a free homemade paper sheepskin template, tracing it onto the back of the fabric (or blanket if you go that route) and cutting it out. And don’t forget that a quick low-heat spin through the dryer should de-lint it for you. Easy peasy.

Or should we say easy fleecey? Sorry that was terrible. I’m cringing over here. Maybe we’re just a little too excited about our cheap-o $5 furry friends (I can’t wait to move them around our house like I used to do with our Ikea ones- they’re so flexible and fun). Plus these are WASHABLE (our Ikea versions never were) since they’re made of fabric, so that’s the icing on the cake. But now it’s time to ask you guys what you’ve been making lately. Have you picked up any discount fabric and used it to recover a chair or whip up a quick pillow? Have you made your own faux-fur throws, pillows, or blankets? Do tell.

Psst- Wanna check out our first DIY sheepskin tutorial from this morning? Here’s a shortcut.