Archive for February, 2012

How To Spray Paint A Pendant Light’s Cord & Canopy

A while back we bought this light for $29 at the Pottery Barn outlet. We originally planned to hang it over our sink “someday when we redid the kitchen” but then we got our oil-rubbed bronze pendant lights for over the peninsula, and although we love mixed metals, we just thought this silver + mercury glass light didn’t jive with them. So we started thinking about hanging it in a bathroom or something.


Then I asked tall John to hold it up as if it was hanging over the sink and surprisingly the shape was perfect. But the silver neck, black string, and silver ceiling cap were all wrong. But the glittering mercury glass shade was perfect (it tied into the chrome faucet and the stainless appliances and hardware). It was like a roller coaster. Perfect, all wrong, perfect. So I decided to call on my good friend ORB (oil-rubbed bronze spray paint with built-in primer) to take care of the all wrong department…

I figured giving it the same finish to help tie it into the other lighting over the peninsula was worth a shot.

A few thin and even coats later, I was left with a glossy oil-rubbed bronze fixture…

… that I couldn’t wait to hang above the sink and rinse dishes under.

I gave him a full day of drying time, just to be sure everything cured up and then up he went. It’s pretty cool how the dark finish helps balance the room and ties the pendants together, even though their shades are really different.

The new guy over the sink is sort of the “bridge” between the ORB pendants and the stainless/chrome/silver items touches in the room thanks to the gleaming mercury glass.

With our new stainless steel dishwasher installed (we actually did that this weekend by sliding a few pieces of cork under it without having to do the rest of the flooring quite yet – just have to take pics and write that post!) the room has even more balance now, since we have a silver thing on each side of the room. We didn’t plan that when we redid the layout, but it’s nice that it ended up that way (the dishwasher and fridge used to be sort of next to each other before we moved the fridge across the room).

Oh and we get requests to take photos of light installation but it’s rough to do since one of us holds the light while the other one wires it up (aka: no extra hands for photo or video taking) but if you search light installation videos I think they have a few good ones on youtube.

The little hexegons on the mercury glass shade make me really happy. I honestly think this fixture looks so much better with dark hardware to complement the cool silver shade. It’s so pretty and sparkly yet the dark tone sort of grounds it and makes it feel substantial and luxe.

We totally could have gone with another $60 outlet pendant over the sink like the ones over the peninsula, but there’s something really fun about having a light that goes, but doesn’t match exactly. And it’s a bit smaller in scale, which is kind of nice since the sink is a little less open and giant than the big ol’ peninsula.

Here are some “it’s on” shots for ya:

Now onto the “heading out” portion of this post’s title. As many of you know, we’re psyched and honored to be speaking at the Home & Garden show in Portland, Oregon this Wednesday. Which means we’ll be traveling for a lot of this week (hence us doing lots of projects this weekend, like the already-installed dishwasher, so we have lots to share with you throughout the week as we travel, speak, and travel again). We’re flying all day on Tuesday and are booked to be there pretty much all day on Wednesday the 22nd (from 5:30am to 8pm with just a few breaks for blogging and eating) and we’ll be giving an invite-only blogging seminar in the afternoon (they’re in charge of who gets invites, so maybe check their site/Facebook page for those details). But at 5:30pm there’s a Meet & Greet in the Smart House Remodel in Hall D. Anyone can show up for that, but they suggest your register. We’d love to meet you guys there!

Burger is actually staying back (with a house-sitter of course) since we thought it might be too stressful for him to travel there and back without much down time – but Clara is coming since we’ll actually have John’s mom and dad with us (they have family out in Portland so they decided to join us, which is a fun and very helpful plan).


So please forgive us if this week of posting is erratic and wonky! We’re going to do our best to get posts up at the regularly scheduled times, but there will definitely be moments when we’re in the air or at the show when we just can’t hop on and answer comment questions or get the next post up – so it might get a little funky. We tend to approve comments as we answer questions, so if you submit something and don’t see it pop up, we’re likely just waiting to get a moment to answer it or haven’t seen it yet!

But we can’t even tell you how excited we are to check out Portland (neither of us have ever been, but we have a list a mile long of things to check out, and of course we’ll blog about our home-related adventures during our fleeting two-day trip). Oh and to ensure that we’ll fit right in, we’ve been watching clips from Portlandia.

Sounds like a solid act-like-a-local plan, right?

In all seriousness, I’m not the best with public speaking, so feel free to cross fingers/eyes/toes for me. I’m skeeered. But I’m sure I’ll survive and have at least ten highly embarrassing stories to tell you guys when it’s all said and done. We’ve even been prepping Clara for the flight. More on that here. What did you guys do this weekend? Any ORBing or lighting bid-ness in the hiz-ouse?



Ram Down!

Remember our dear sweet never-hurt-a-fly Ramsey who watched over us in a not-creepy-at-all way when we slept?

He was a beloved member of our household and even inspired Burger to do yoga.

Well, Ramsey will be missed.

And yes, it totally felt like this tragedy of yore all over again.

Except John didn’t draw a depiction of the event

… because it actually wasn’t John’s fault. But yes, yesterday we bid a fond farewell to our TJ Maxx find when he somehow popped off the wall in the kitchen where he was temporarily hanging for a book vignette above the fireplace. No one was even in the room to attempt to catch him on the way down. It pains me that he died alone. John’s even a little sad too. He was a good little ram. And we loved sleeping under his all-knowing gaze very much.

We were doing so well over the last three weeks of photo-shoot madness. A house full of cameras + people + equipment + secret projects + extra furniture/accessories is definitely like Catherine Zeta Jones trying to slither through those red lasers in that scene in Entrapment (you know the one). Except more lurchy and uncoordinated. Which is why it’s no surprise that on our second to last day of shooting (yes, today is our very last book shoot day after three full weeks of photography here at our casa!!!) Ramsey was our first casualty. Poor guy. What not-creepy-at-all ceramic animal will we hang over our bed now? We’ll just have to wait and see who catches our eye. But for the time being, there’s a hole in our hearts (and on our wall) for our dearly departed Ramsey.

Speaking of the end of our book shoots (can you believe our last book process post was three whole weeks ago?) we thought it would be fun to share a few pics from the last 21 insanely exhausting yet completely amazing and exhilarating days of essentially turning this pile of paper…

… into a holy-cow-it’s-real book that now just needs to be laid out/designed, sent off to “the printer’s”, and will be available for preorder this summer and out this fall. Ahhhhhh. And you know this little ol’ blog is just about whatever’s going on at our house (projects, broken ceramic animals, miscellaneous photography-related chaos), so we had to alert you to the latest (both in ram-related injuries and photography progress). As our shooting marathon draws to a close, we have shot over 2,000 photos (!!!) out of which 200-ish will make the final cut (we got lots of angles and progress pics and variations of things, so for every ten shots that we took, we usually just kept one). We even shot three different cover concepts yesterday – all of which we managed to worm our way out of (haha, we were so freaked out by the idea of seeing our smiling mugs on the cover of the book for years to come). They all came out really great – especially without our awkward faces in them – so we can’t wait to see which one they pick.

And you know over-sharers like us want to spill those pics and deets rightthissecond, but alas, we’re not allowed (gotta save it for fall when the book is out). So without further ado: here’s as much as we’re permitted to divulge when it comes to the chaos that was our lives during these past three weeks. Um yeah, the playroom has secretly been painted about nine times. Not kidding.

Different parts of the room got different colors that we assigned to spotlight specific shots/projects/vignettes (so the whole book isn’t full of Moonshine and Sesame and the other few colors in our house). So yes, part of the reason we’re tackling more Dude, Get On That Already challenges is definitely because all the items that used to live in the playroom have been offset into other rooms while we paint/shoot in there (the sunroom, guest room, our bedroom, and the dining room = crazytown). In keeping-it-real news, about four colors into it we got sick of repainting. Haha.

But oddly enough by about the eight and ninth ones it felt like second nature. Last night we even stenciled one wall for a special shot that we’re taking this afternoon. Yowsa. What will we do with ourselves when we’re not painting the playroom walls every few days after Clara goes to bed?

There was also gluing, taping, spray painting, dyeing, stenciling, staining, and a bunch of other secret DIY bid-ness going on. And we had to protect our hands for process shots throughout so we didn’t look – as Clara would say – “messy, messy, Mommy!” – hence all my dark nail polish as of late (to hide the grub under my nails) and John’s Dexter-ish rubber gloves.

Clara had a lot of fun checking things out (and yes, those are my snazzy spray painting clothes, complete with fuzzy red socks). The photographer’s name is Kip Dawkins and Clara loved following him around squealing “Hi Kip! Hi Kip! Hi Kip!” on repeat (kind of like kids asking “are we there yet?” every two minutes on a road trip). By the end of week one she not only knew everyone’s name, she could identify their cars when they pulled into the driveway (“Marcie’s car! Kip’s car! Susan’s car!” was a normal morning refrain) and was surprisingly good about keeping a pretty safe distance while still enjoying all the action. We’re so grateful this insanity didn’t completely wreck Clara’s life (and very very thankful for John’s parents, who snuck off with her whenever things got really hairy). But she did amazingly well with so much “change” at home – in fact, I think she might ask where everyone went when they stop coming by every day.

Here’s how we shot some of our pics to demonstrate how a few of our projects were done mid-process. The bigger ones got laid out on the floor and shot from further away. That white thing in the background is a “seamless” so the process shots look simple and uncluttered, while most of the after shots are things that we “styled in situation” – meaning they’re somewhere in our house to give those photos some environment (ex: on a table/on the wall/in a room/near a window or door/outside/etc – but they’ll probably only look vaguely familiar as being in our house since so many things like furniture arrangements and wall colors and accessories have changed). Oh and the thing over us is a reflector to keep the lighting consistent throughout the book. I liked to pretend it was a sail and we were out in the tropics on a boat. I guess I’m just as guilty of daydreaming as Clara (who saw fishies here).

Burger was also pretty cool with all the new folks and extra stuff in our space. Look, here he is perching on disembodied Karl like it’s no big deal. We worked him into the book like a champ. What’s a YHL book without some quality Burger shots up in there?

It was at this moment about a week and a half into shooting when we realized that our house hadn’t looked this crazy since moving day. Yup, that’s our guest bed in the corner of the living room. We carried that thing all over our house for different shots. It became kind of a game. Where can we put the bed next? The funny thing is that the bed shows how giant this room really is. It’s a gymnasium-sized room.

Here’s that same guest bed up against the back of the fireplace, completely blocking traffic. That finished book shot is actually one of our favorites. It was two projects in one being shown in that picture (neither of which are visible here of course). Oh man, is it fall yet? Can’t wait to show you guys.

Look, no more bed in the corner, but that’s a drop leaf table back there. We had some dining scenes to shoot and since we have a giant round table we had to borrow a regular rectangular one from a local shop for the day to make normal shots easier to snag.

Oh and look, that’s not our sofa! It’s another borrowed-from-a-local-shop item that we used for a few vignettes. This sofa also shows how giant Karl the Sectional is (we have eight of those pics hanging above Karl, as contrasted with the three over this standard-sized sofa).

So to the crew who are practically like family after nearly a month of “living” with us: thanks for everything! And to you guys for bearing with us while we’ve juggled this and the kitchen redo and the bean and “the bug” that tore through our house earlier this week and all of our Portland prep (which means we were a little slower on comments from time to time): thanks for understanding! And to any and all varieties of dark chocolate: we couldn’t have done it without you! Hey, when you don’t drink coffee you have to grab a little zing of caffeine anywhere ya can.

Have you guys broken anything lately? Or completely turned your house upside down? Or gotten to know a group of total strangers over the course of a month to the point that you know their favorite music/food/color/quotes/movies? It’s so crazy how much has happened since Christmas. Is anyone else still scratching their heads that it’s mid-February? How did that happen?

Psst- You can check out our other three book-related posts over the last year here, here, and here.