Decorating

Adding To Our Week Of Crazy…

To everyone who has said “go rest!” or “we understand if you have to catch your breath after this showhouse marathon and before this baby comes” we are SO APPRECIATIVE of the encouragement. We’re still over there every day shooting each remaining room for afters/source lists and are also hoping to record a video tour for you guys, but we fully intend to cash in on that whole sit-down-and-breathe-for-a-second thing as soon as we finish documenting everything.

But amongst the last crazy week of showhouse stuff, another crazy thing happened that we just had to talk about for a second. We can’t begin to tell you how awesomely surreal it has been to see our line of hooks and rails out there in the real world (on Target shelves, in your hands, on your walls, and next to your dogs and babies).

We’d been in our own little bubble with it for so long that it was amazing to see Instagrams, tweets, and Facebook photos from you guys. So we couldn’t let another day go by without saying: THANK YOU for being a part of this latest adventure of ours. We are so grateful.

Everything started rolling out in Target stores throughout last week (it’ll be carried in most US stores for 14 weeks) and you can see the full store list here for which ones will carry it. We actually saw your pictures of the end cap before seeing it in person ourselves, which was pretty crazy. And when we saw it with our own eyes? Kinda made our brains explode.

The home improvement department also got a few other new DIY items like paint and removable wallpaper. Plus they’re carrying our book in stores for the first time as an exclusive paperback version.

Along with taking a moment to send out a giant thank you to you guys, we wanted to bring you behind the scenes to touch on a part of this whole process that was kind of a surprise to us: packaging design. For so long we had been focused on how the products looked, that when Liberty asked for input on the packaging we were sort of caught off guard. But it ended up being a fun assignment.

The graphic designers at Liberty were the brains behind it all – taking inspiration from the colors and themes that they saw frequently on our blog. Together we made little tweaks, like ditching a version of our blog backdrop (the small gray heart pattern) behind the products in favor of a cleaner, less busy solid gray. And we loved their suggestion to put a wood grain detail on the sides of the packaging to bring in some texture.

The funny thing is that it was originally supposed to just be some generic wood texture from an image library somewhere, but when we were doing the product photography here last November someone suggested that we just shoot our kitchen table and use that real wood-grain shot instead. It had already become the de facto backdrop for the other photos, so it was a no brainer decision. So yeah, that’s our real kitchen table on the side of each box.

We were also tasked with choosing the visuals that we’d shoot for the back of the packaging as well as writing the copy for it – which ended up being a fun opportunity to share our inspiration for each item (like an octopus painting made by Clara along with a ceramic octopus that I got Sherry a few years back – or Burger himself, our four-legged muse).

This copy is also the text that appears in the “Overview” section of each item on the Target website, if you’re so inclined to read each one.

Now that we can freely use the hooks without fear of blowing our cover, we’ve put them to good use in a few places in the showhouse (since it’s about the only house getting attention from us lately). We put this wood hook rail in the girl’s bedroom after painting it blue and adding some mix-and-match ORB hooks (the color is Blue Lake by Benjamin Moore). This is obviously the version with the ledge, which was nice for extra storage.

We went sans-ledge for the one in the boy’s room and painted it with a random diagonal of yellow at the bottom (Citron by Benjamin Moore) using painters tape across the rail, while leaving the raw wood up top.

We also used a trio of doorknob hooks in the master bedroom closet (two of the larger beaded knobs flanking the smaller hex knob in the middle) but we still have to shoot that room. We’re working on getting more after pictures documented today so we can share them tomorrow if all goes well.

Ok, now I’ll shut up about it. Sherry and I are still kind of reeling that this stuff is out there in the world after nearly three years of development, and we’re both so grateful to you guys for supporting us. In other Wednesday news, if all goes well and we have our son on Wednesday the 16th (that’s Sherry’s scheduled date), that makes this the very last Wednesday of our lives as parents of one (well, two if you count Burger) so that’s kind of blowing our minds too. Happy Wednesday, guys!

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The Tri-Light Zone

From moment one of seeing this house, something about the view of a series of three lights all in a row(ish) in the upstairs hallway made us inexplicably excited. We just knew that arrangement had serious potential. You know, once we looked past the old carpeting and the blue trim.

The existing lights were a little undersized for us (pictures don’t do it justice, but this is a 33 foot long hallway!), so although we considered spray painting them another color (oil-rubbed bronze? red? navy?), I worried it’d make them look a bit more gothic cathedral than we wanted. Plus, all three of them were crooked, one of them had a broken stem, and the middle one was actually bigger than the other two.

I’ve had these fixtures mentally bookmarked for years. Ever since we saw them in a House Crashing that we did in Portland, OR in 2012 I’ve wanted to work them into our home somehow. I like that they’re a mix of classic and modern, and that their dark finish offers some nice contrast but isn’t too heavy looking thanks to all the glass. The good news is that Sherry was with me (we don’t always agree on lights, so sometimes finding something we both like takes a while). The only issue was that the $250 price tag was a bit much for us since we’d need to buy three of them.

We hoped to find something similar at a local lighting outlet that we frequent (and even checked craigslist and the ReStore occasionally) but coming by three identical fixtures was tough. Then Sherry got an email alert about a World Market sale (25% off orders over $150) which lead her to these puppies – and we realized that after the sale they’d be $75 each, which means we could buy all three for less than the price of our single inspiration fixture.

Normally I wouldn’t take you through the installation process again, since I feel like I’ve done lots of posts like these – but I actually picked up a couple of tricks (albeit small ones) from observing the electrician work his magic at the showhouse. Trick #1 being leave the protective packaging on during installation. I guess I’ve always been so eager to unveil our new purchases that the first thing I usually did was strip away all of the plastic, cardboard and styrofoam. But I had a “well duh!” moment watching the electrician leave it all on (well, whatever didn’t interfere with installing it) to help prevent any damage while he worked. Of course he took it off before firing up the power and adding a bulb, but just hanging them with the added protection felt a lot better than rushing to strip it before manhandling things into place.

Obviously I would’ve loved to let these babies hang down on their chains a bit, but our 8ft ceilings weren’t gonna let it happen. So we had to shorten the chain by prying the links open with two pairs of pliers, the tips of which I wrapped in masking tape to keep them from scratching the finish off.

The previous lighting had been a bit low for my 6-foot self (well, the middle one outside of Clara’s room was – since that lantern was inexplicably larger than the other two), so we decided to hang the new lights by just one chain link – which would put them all a couple inches higher than that old middle light (it hung about 75″ from the ground). So even though these are larger scale fixtures, the bottom of each lantern ended up being 77″ from the floor after installation.

But back to the single link method. I kept one link handy, but left a longer string on the fixture for the time being. More on that in a minute.

In addition to shortening the chain, I had to shorten the cord. So using my wire cutters I cut open the wire cover, pulled it off, and then stripped the ends of the white, black, and green wires.

With Sherry supporting the fixture, I connected the wires to the matching ones in the ceiling. Sorry for the grainy pic, but we had the power off so lighting was limited up there.

The second trick I picked up was to hang the fixture low and then raise it to your final desired height. With most light fixtures it’s much easier to raise them (by removing chain or feeding more wire into the ceiling) than to make them lower, especially if you’ve already cut your wire. So not only is this an easier way to get your perfect height, in our case it made installation much easier because Sherry didn’t have to hold the light as high and I wasn’t wiring in such a cramped space between the fixture and the ceiling.

Once everything was secured, I swapped out the long chain for the my single link and pushed the excess wire up into the canopy. You can see my screwdriver tightening the screw that pinches the wire in place.

It still took a fair amount of time to get all three installed. Maybe 3 hours? I always have a tough time guessing since I’m slowed down by photo taking and, in this case, fielding showhouse calls. But in the end we love the result.

Just like the light in our foyer downstairs, we really like the high contrast look that these add. Even the way they tie into the dark door hinges, doorknobs, and the stained stair rail and runner that lead downstairs seems to make things feel more deliberate. They’re a bit oversized for the space, which may bother some folks – but it’s kinda what I dig most about them.

Adding some substantial wainscoting, interesting art, and other hallway updates should definitely bring more balance. So here’s our remaining to-do list:

Just for fun, here’s a hallway before shot for comparison.

In the function column, I feared that it might be a little darker (going from three 3-bulb fixtures to three single bulbs), but these take a higher wattage (60 instead of 40) and somehow the glass seems to reflect so much that it actually feels brighter. Could also be that half of the old bulbs were burned out too, so there’s that.

Here’s how things look with the clear bulbs that came with the fixtures when they’re on. They throw some angular shadows on the ceiling, but if we want less of that look we can switch them out for frosted bulbs (eventually we’d love to get LEDs in every fixture).

Anyone else have hall happenings to share? It’s weird that those “not real rooms” in the house can end up being the ones you spend a ton of time passing through, so they make a surprising difference when you show them a little attention.

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