Planning

Wallpaper In The Nursery?

I know it sounds kinda crazy, but after painstakingly removing five different wallpapers from this house… we’re considering putting some up. I think I even passively mentioned it in this post about the nursery mobile.

Ever since we imagined the idea of these built-ins, we pictured making the space between the two of them sort sort of accent – either with a color or pattern or treatment of some sort (in our first post we even mentioned a planked wall). Those ideas fizzled a little bit after completing the built-ins and realizing they had a lot of stuff on them (so we didn’t want to clutter up that space between them above the crib too). But neither of us could quite shake the idea of still doing an accent of sorts somewhere in the room. And one night while perusing possible wallpaper ideas for the showhouse, this puppy caught John’s eye.

He went rogue and without even consulting yours truly (cue your outraged gasps) and ordered a sample of it and its darker counterpart, for $5 each. With tax and shipping it was $13 total. Thirteen bucks that would either earn him a sour look from me, or make him a hero.

Well, he got the sour look alright – not for the $13, but because I can still vividly remember the claw-hands I had from wallpaper peeling. The good news is that when he explained that Spoonflower wallpaper is removable, all was right with the world again. And I really liked the pattern too (it feels like something that could grow with the bun, and not be too fleeting or “young baby”). The hero part is still TBD though.

The samples arrived a couple of weeks later. They’re nice and big, and they revealed a detail that John hadn’t detected online: a subtle linen-like texture in the gray tones that I also thought was a nice touch.

We ran upstairs to tape them up on the walls, just to get a feel for them in the room, and John went rogue again and put them on the wall with the bike prints. He must be getting braver (I think it’s the beard, guys). Since we’re both less tempted to mess with the look of the built-in wall, he said he thought that wall might be the answer instead. Forgive the terrible phone pic.

We snapped that with my iPhone so I could mock-up a full-wall version of the space in Photoshop. For those wondering how I did it, I just dragged the photo I shared above into Photoshop and laid it over another picture I took of (almost) the full wall. Then I just adjusted the size of the overlaid detail photo of the wallpaper until the patterns matched up and were the same size (I had the opacity of the top layer down a little so I could see when that happened).

Once I knew the wallpaper pattern was the right scale, I put the opacity back up to 100% and cut out the rest of the iPhone pic so I was just left with a rectangle of wallpaper that I could manually tile until it filled the whole picture. Lastly, I cut out around the objects like the frames, doors, and the changing table (which were still in the image behind the tiled wallpaper) so as I deleted the wallpaper in front of them, it appeared to run behind them.

I also tried a version where I adjusted the color to look like the darker sample that John also ordered, but it was pretty clear to both of us that we preferred the lighter one.

I thought it was a little hard to judge without seeing a plain wall meeting the accent wall to give it context, so I used the same technique to mock things up on this photo that I already had of the room. The colors probably aren’t perfect (the curtains look neon here), but it definitely helped us to picture everything – and it confirmed that the light version wouldn’t clash with the wall color or anything.

I still wasn’t convinced that was the right wall for an accent (I feared it might look too busy with the bike art in real life) so we also mocked it up on the crib wall to see if our original idea was better. We stared at it for a second, but I think we both prefer the bike wall. It just felt too crazy over the crib with all the items on the built-ins, the mobile, the patterned crib skirt, etc.

I also tossed some bold green up there just to see if a hit of that above the crib would be fun. It’s not great photoshop (looks pretty flat) but we didn’t really love it.

I also tried something sort of charcoal-ish to balance the chair out. This one made both of us do that “eh, not bad” face while staring at the computer. It looks kinda nice with the white crib and the mobile.

To add yet another possibility to the ring, a sweet reader named Annie had emailed us this quick mock-up she did with some chunky stripes painted behind the crib, which also gave us pause. You know we love a striped wall

We’re still sort of letting things simmer, but we’d love to hear what you guys would do. Would you go for the wallpaper on the bike art wall? We like that it’s removable, so it’s not too much of a commitment. Do you prefer a solid wall of green or charcoal or even some stripes behind the crib? Or should we just stop being crazy and leave things the heck alone? Part of us is really excited to add one more layer of interest into the room (we’ve never put up wallpaper so that would be a new adventure – and most of the elements in here are really neutral). Then again, we still want this room to be a mixture of playful and cozy (as opposed to that’s-just-straight-up-crazy). What do you think?

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As a little Friday bonus, here are four fun projects, chats, or questions going on over on the Forums. We also announced this week’s giveaway winner, so you can click here (and scroll down to the Rafflecopter box) to see if it’s you.

by HouseofGold
by WanderingKate
by kschrav
by stclaircatherine

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Apps And Zerts

Yes, that post title was a Tom Haverford reference, so you might want to grab your super water and sandoozles before we get into the nitty gritty.

As I was trying out some new floor-planning apps to write last week’s post about our office floor plans, I took some screen shots and photos to share with you guys, and then that post felt full of enough graphics and words without them so I thought “eh, I’ll just skip that stuff.” Well, no less than a few dozen of you asked for more info on how the floor plans were made – and lo, this post was born. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes.

We’ve talked about techniques and tools for planning a space back in 2010, and also did this post about software for planning in 3-D back in 2011. As much as those 3-D versions were helpful for planning our last kitchen, we still usually plan in 2-D (like this floor plan that we made of this house’s “before” layout using Floorplanner.com). On that post about our new house’s layout, a few of you mentioned some new phone apps for making floor plans, so I thought I’d use this office conundrum to take a couple for a spin and see how well they work.

Both MagicPlan and RoomScan were free (well, to download… more on that later) and I chose to try them because unlike an app that just helped you enter wall measurements and then noodle around with furniture icons, these two actually promised to create the floor plan for me – no measuring tape required. There may be others out there like these, but they were the only two I found in my search of the iOS App Store. Let’s start with MagicPlan. Its basic premise is that you stand in the middle of your room and spin around in that spot, using your phone’s camera to mark each corner and doorway as you go. And yes, I’m regretting my decision to have Sherry snap photos of me doing this because I just look like a giant nerd.

Here’s a screen grab I managed to capture in the process. You’re supposed to line up each corner of the room along the green axis, where it will then drop a virtual cone. You can also mark doorways (not windows, though) and mark “through furniture.” The latter is a bit difficult because you have to judge for yourself where the corner sits behind the object.

Here were the results of my first attempt. You can see that it was, well, yeah…

Admittedly I was a bit fast and loose with my corner marking since I wasn’t sure how much the app would compensate and adjust. So I gave it another try, trying to be more more careful about dropping my cones precisely where two walls met the floor. The results were MUCH better.

The screenshot above is after I did a bit of adjusting – namely adding two windows and manually fixing some of the measurements. I was kind of disappointed that I did have to break out the measuring tape, just to check things – but if I hadn’t, the app’s measurements would have been within 2-4″ so I’d say they’re pretty reliable for general space planning purposes. Speaking of which, MagicPlan does have some placeholder furniture (including a drumset!) that you can play around with. I liked that it was pretty easy to adjust the scale of things, but so much was locked in the free version that it wasn’t really worth it.

Yup, I was definitely bumping up against the “free” threshold. Since I couldn’t furniture plan in the app, I decided to export it. They offer lots of export options, but most of them come at a price. I tried the one free export option (a PDF and JPG emailed to me) but it’s so watermark-tastic that it’s not really what I need.

Let’s compare that to the other app I tried: RoomScan. After my difficulty getting the hang of marking corners, I was intrigued by the promise of this technique. You basically walk around the room and hold the phone flat against the walls at several points. Seemed pretty dummy proof (and no, I didn’t look any less nerdy doing it).

Here’s a screenshot of what I was seeing on my phone. The instructions they provide as you go are super easy so I felt like I was rocking my first scan… although the rough sketch that it was drawing in the background had me a bit nervous.

The resulting final floor plan was better than the sketch, but it still wasn’t very impressive. You can see the path I walked too, just like I’m Billy from Family Circus.

I tried it two more times – stopping at more points along the wall in my next attempt, and going the other direction in my third. Nothing turned out any better, but like MagicPlan I was able to go in and manually fix the measurements so the room became less askew.

With my room looking better, I couldn’t seem to do anything else with it without purchasing the full version (which is $4.99), but because the free version really didn’t spare me the trouble of busting out the measuring tape, I wasn’t convinced to go pro.

For the sake of experimentation, I did spend the $2.99 to export my MagicPlan layout (the first one I tried) over to Floorplanner, since it automatically sent it to my Floorplanner account with the same email address. I wasn’t able to accomplish much in the Floorplanner app (that’s also free, but it looks to be better suited to a tablet) so I went over to the desktop version that I was used to using and I was right back in my comfort zone… plus I could play with my room in 3-D!

That’s also how I was able to make the three different floor-planning options that you saw in last week’s post (along with our hilariously weird “current office” layout). It was a combination of measuring in MagicPlan, and then adding furniture with floorplanner.com.

In the end, I’m not sure I’m a total convert to app-based floor plan making – especially if I need precise measurements for building, but for creating a quick mock-up of a space (or even a whole house, since MagicPlan allows you to connect multiple rooms) I’m glad to have it in my back pocket.

Has anyone else had a good or bad experience with these apps? Do you have better tricks to share, or other apps I should try? I don’t think I’ve hit my monthly quota for looking like a doofus while awkwardly holding my phone in a room by myself yet, so feel free to lay them on me. Meanwhile Sherry’s upstairs painting something (it’s like a race against the baby clock), so she’ll be back with those details tomorrow.

Psst- Clara’s having conversations again. This time on the subject of favorite farm animals and another baby name idea…

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