Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thanks for the Mention!

Horray, horray! Kristen shared our built-in reveal

Kristen is one uber talented artist, friends. She shares amazing projects, from hand-painted walls to furniture refinishes just to name a few. I certainly wouldn't mind having a piece of her art donning the walls of my house someday!
Thanks so much, Kristen! Get ready to be inspired when you stop by her site, kristen f. davis designs

Happy New Year, friends!! Bring it on, 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

It's not a Resolution, it's a Promise!

Whew! We're heading back to Austin today and our CHRISTmas celebrations are officially over. We're blessed to have lots of family to celebrate with, but when you throw everyone  into the mix, that's a lot of celebrating, my friends. My stomach's begging to stop being fed! Oh to have such problems, right?

I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions. Not sure why, guess it's just my personality. This year I decided to make a promise to myself instead. I said to myself, "Dana, you'd be a much happier person if you knew how to use power tools!" Then I answered, "You're right! Why don't you learn that soon, real soon?!" Hence, how the promise was made. 

This is the picture that inspired it all. I love these walls! 

So, my plan is to take a few DIY classes from my husband and maybe even attend a few Home Depot workshops. It's definitely time to become more self-sufficient in the world of wood-working.

Pretty sure upon fulfilling my promise, I'll then have to join/start a Geometrics Anonymous group. My entire house is starting to look very graphic! Do you think the DSM IV has a diagnosis of GA? ha! Boy, when I get over this trend, I'm going to need an entire house overhaul. Certainly hope my taste doesn't change too soon!

Have you made any promises to yourself for 2012? Anyone going to join in with my power tool promise?

If you share my love for geometric shapes and need a little help bringing this look into your own home, contact me!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Painting Progress

You hear it time and time again, painting is the easiest and least expensive way to make a big change in your home decor. It's so true!

My parents have decided to make some updates and this is where we started...

Isn't that a nice change? We haven't even touched accessories yet and it already feels like a brand new room.

Prepare yourself, I'm climbing upon my soapbox...Ready?

If you have ever even half-way thought about hiring a decorator, I say it's definitely worth the money when it comes to picking a paint color. Let me prove my point...

Does this scenario ring a bell? 
Go to Home Depot, bring home 20 paint swatches, tape them all over the house, ask every neighbor their opinion, still can't decide so it's back to Home Depot, pick out 20 more swatches and repeat. Okay, you've narrowed it down to your top 3. Time to buy the little samples and paint sections on your wall. You spend days looking at them all and still can't decide. You get sick of looking at them so you just pick one and go with it. Aww darn, that's not what you thought it'd look like! Now what?

The Solution? Hire a decorator for a color consultation.
Most people don't even realized you can hire someone just to offer color selections. Design help doesn't have to look like an Extreme Makeover Home Edition episode. While that would be nice, it's not practical in the real world. You can find designers/decorators that charge an hourly rate. A person with a trained eye can come in, evaluate the surroundings and tell you the best colors for your space in no time. You could knock out a paint consultation in 1 to 2 hours tops. Wouldn't that be worth the money? You would walk away with confidence that someone who "knows their stuff" led you in the right direction. That's worth a lot, my friends!

What should you expect to spend? Most likely you can expect to be charged $50 - $100. Remember, friends, you just spent that much on paint samples and gas, driving back and forth to Home Depot a million times. Think of the time and headaches this saves as worth it!

Putting things into perspective: If you had a plumbing problem you would call a plumber, right? And what do they charge hourly? At least $100. Do you even think twice about calling him? No, because he knows his stuff and he can fix your problem. So, if you're not good with colors then hire someone who is and be confident that they can fix your problems too.

Whew, I'm climbing down now! If you're still reading, thanks for hanging in there.

We're off to Dallas today for one more CHRISTmas celebration. Not sure how much time I'll have for blogging so if you check in for the weekly RAK challenges, it may not show up until next week. That doesn't mean you can't spread some kindness of your own though!

If you're looking to make some fabulous progress in your own home, but need a little help, contact me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dark and Lovely

The past couple of weeks have been overcast and dreary around here. I'm beginning to think it's bleeding into my taste in decor. Recently, I've noticed myself drawn to very dark images. Talk about dramatic!
 I love high contrast. Perfection through the matting of the pictures vs. the wall and then again with the couch vs. the wall. Beautiful! I could totally handle a study decorated like this.

 I've talked to lots of people who are scared to paint a ceiling a dark color. I say, throw caution to the wind and go for it! Look how amazing it can be. Dark ceilings really cozy up a room nicely. If you're scared of dark colors, the ceiling is a great place to start. Think about're not surrounding yourself with it, you're just adding a splash.

 While most of us don't have the luxury of living is spaces like this, it sure is pretty to drool over. I'm not sure there's a house in Texas with non-textured walls. ha! But if I ever have the luxury of helping decorate a space with flat walls, you can bet I'd introduce a lacquer. 

Does this picture remind you of anything? Ummm, oddly familiar! 

So what is it? Why are super dark paint colors so intimidating? I'd love to hear what you think!

Are you looking to make some new changes in the New Year?  Contact me so we can get started!

Friday, December 23, 2011

"Wrapping" Things Up and Great News

 Boy, do I have good news to share today! The built-in my husband and I built is being featured today at Kara Paslay Designs. I'm so humbled that she even noticed our project in the first place, much less, decided to feature it!

click here

Stop by Kara's and check out all the greatness that she and her husband, Tim, create. You won't be disappointed! Better yet, while you're there make sure you "like" them on facebook. They're in the process of creating a TV series called 'Til Design Do Us Part.' It'll be great tracking their progress. Oh yeah, and did I mention that they'll be on the Nate Berkus show on January 4th? Must watch!

Well, friends, I'm wrapping up this week with a few pictures of the what the kids and I have been up to this week. It just wouldn't be the week before CHRISTmas without a little lot of present wrapping and cookie baking!

Merry CHIRSTmas to all, friends! May you all remember to take a minute to breath and enjoy the hard work you've put into making special memories this year! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Random Act of Kindness #16

The tables have turned a bit when it comes to today's RAK. You see, I was the target of a random act of kindness recently. How fun!

My friend, Piper from Mercy Saved Me, awarded me a Liebster Award. Happy dance going on (visual images up to you)!

What in the world is a Liebster Award, you may ask? Well, Liebster means "favorite" or "dearest" in German. This award goes out to the newbie bloggers with less than 200 followers (or "wonder"ful friends in my case).

Want to know the coolest part? I get to pass on this award to 5 other friends!!

Before I reveal my picks, let's make today's RAK challenge official.

RAK Challenge #16: Find a "new to you" blog and become a follower. Leave a kind word that will make their day.

Okay, now that the suspense has been building, drumroll please...

I'd like to recognize the following bloggers for being amazing and wonderful, each in their own way.

Pam, from Simple Details. You're in for a treat if you haven't found Pam's blog yet. Her house is classy and stunning, just like her. She's one talented lady with tons of great ideas to share. Pam's been a pure source of encouragement in my blogging journey.

Carly, from A Simple Affair. Carly shares great DIY projects and let me tell ya, this girl has style. I'd love to take her shopping with me some day!

Rhonda, from Shadow Jewels. Rhonda has an etsy shop full of vintage prettiness. Next time you're looking for a unique gift, stop by her shop. Great prices too, I might add!

Melissa, from Rooms. Melissa never disappoints when it comes to providing inspirational ideas and pictures. Stop by and check out her non-traditional stockings. Too cute!

Holly, from West Pear Avenue. Holly just completed a design class and has lots of great knowledge up her sleeve. If there was a blog cheerleader award, it would definitely go to Holly. She always has a kind word to share. Love that about her!

Thank you to each of the wonderful ladies above. If you're up for the challenge, accept your Liebster Award and find 5 more friends to pass on the kindness. The fine print: As you pass on the award, be sure to link back to the one who awarded it to you. Also, copy and paste the award to your own blog to show off your wonderfulness.

Once again, a huge thank you to Piper for starting all this fun in my little corner of blogland!

Tis' the season for kindness. If you're looking for some fun ideas to spread a little Christmas Cheer, just click here and here. Or just jump on over to that little search engine on the right side of the page and type in RAK challenges. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Art of Gift Giving

Tis' the season for gift giving. Have you ever stopped to think about the process? I mean, really think about the process. I think gift giving is an art. Aren't there people in your life who always give you great gifts? And then, there are those who seem to miss the mark!

So, in order to help you become one of those people who always gives a great gift, here are a few important ingredients to stew on...

1. Really think about the person you're buying for. 
*What are their interests?
*If they're younger, think about what you liked when you were that age.
*Do they like sentimental gifts? Make a donation in their name or something homemade.
*Identify their  hobbies but don't let this define the gift. Just because they like cats doesn't mean they want every notepad ever made with a cat on it!
2. Be observant all year long.
*Make mental notes when they tell you they really like something. File it away for birthdays and Christmas.

3. Think about your favorite gifts and why you liked them. Use these reasons when buying for others. Here's an example: One of my favorite gifts from my husband was a book. It was probably the least expensive gift he's ever given me, hence one of the reasons why I loved it. Gifts make me feel guilty (I know, I have issues but that's beside the point!). He knows this about me so he keeps it in mind while shopping. Anyway, the book was so meaningful because of its timing. He gave it to me when the kids were little and honestly, I hadn't read a book in what felt like a million years. He had taken the time to notice what was missing in my life and gifted me a past-time I had forgotten I loved so much. Added bonus...he asked all the women in his office what their favorite books were and picked my book based on his "research." The book he gave me was not something I would have ordinarily picked but it ended up being one of my favorite books ever! Francine Rivers', Redeeming Love, for those of you who were wondering.

4. Think outside the box. Sometimes "things" aren't the best gifts but "experiences" are! If the person is a thrill-seeker, find an outdoor challenge course and buy them a day of adventure. I've seen some really fun ideas on Groupon recently, like zip-lining and human hamster balls.

5. Make sure the gift is something that you're excited to give. That's how you know you've nailed it! When you can't wait to give it to the person because you know they're going to love it!

6. Lastly, make the wrapping enticing. There's nothing better than a pretty present. Think about it friends, when you're at that gift-exchange party, which gift is the first to be chosen?...the pretty one!

Design Sponge

Since there's only 4 days 'til Christmas, I'm sure none of you actually need these tips, because you're done with your shopping of course! But, just in case you're of the procrastinating type, these tips might come in handy!

So how about you...any pointers you're willing to pass on?

Looking for someone to bring the art of decorating into your home? Contact me, so we can get started!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How to paint Ikat Chevron

Okay, friends, now that you've followed the step by step instructions for making your chevron pattern, here's the fun part, paint! This is where you get to see your work come to life.

In our project I painted the entire beadboard grey first, then I went back and added the black and gold.

Here is the key to achieving an ikat look...don't over think it! Remember, it's supposed to look blurry and not perfect. That, my friends, is why anyone can achieve this look. You just have to give yourself permission to complete a project without perfection. I know this may be hard for some of you uber talented folks out there!

Moving on...I used a cheap-o foam brush to paint inside each chevron.

Here's the evidence that I'm not a perfectionist, my dirty brush. You can buy these at any craft store like Hobby Lobby or Micheals. I love having these on hand at all times. I can't tell you how many times I've found a purpose for them.

 Paint the inside of the chevron solid. 
While it's still wet, hold the brush straight up and down then bring it just outside the edge of the painted area. Make a tiny little stroke back towards the solid painted area. Then repeat this action a gazillion more times as you make your way down the entire edge. I found by holding the brush handle as close to the foam as possible, it gave me more control over the movements. Quick movements and not thinking too much about it, once again, is key!

Below shows a progression of the strokes. You can start thick or spread them out and go back to fill in. 

Here's another look at this painting process when applied on top of beadboard. I love how the stripes of the board add a whole other dimension to the painting without even trying!

Okay, I've never claimed to be a teacher of any sort, so is it clear as mud? You're just going to have to take my word for it, that it's really easy and actually lots of fun. Something you don't have to over think and it turns out really cool!

Ready to get the ball rolling on your own home? Contact me!

Linking to The Shabby Nest.

Monday, December 19, 2011

How to make a Chevron Pattern

 Happy Monday, friends! I hope you've beat the hustle and bustle of the Christmas frenzy and you're relaxing this week instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off. A big thank you to those of you who left a nice comment on the reveal post. You guys are so kind and supportive!

On the agenda for today: How to make the chevron pattern
                       Tomorrow: How to paint the ikat chevron

I hope you aren't disappointed when I break it all down. I don't have any major secrets to share, but I do think you'll be pleasantly surprised when you see how easy it is!

 It all started with a regular 8 1/2 x 11 piece of cardstock and a paper cutter.
 I eyeballed the width I wanted the chevron to be. Mine turned out to be 2 and 3/4 inches wide and I was able to cut 3 sections out of 1 piece of paper.
I cut tons, then started laying them out to decide the "pitch" or how sharp the angles would be. Once I was happy with the look, I taped the edges together to create one long zig-zag.
 Using painter's tape, I adhered it to the beadboard and began to trace the pattern with a pencil.
 I used a ruler to draw a straight line to show where the point of each chevron would be placed as I moved the pattern down the wall. This helped keep the pattern organized and straight. Nothing worse than an unorganized about making ya dizzy!
Once you have all the lines drawn, it starts to look a little confusing. Make sure you write the color of paint you intend to use inside the appropriate chevron. I used the initial of each paint color and literally wrote it multiple times in each section. It began to look like a giant paint by number when all was said and done.

Totally doable, right? I mean, if you can cut, trace and tape then you've got this project licked! So simple. I didn't even have to bust out the math skills. Thank goodness. Remember my entryway stripes? Not gonna lie, there were tears shed during that painting process! 

That's it for today, friends. Stop back by tomorrow and I'll break down how to get the ikat (blurry) look. It'll probably be my shortest post's that easy!

If you'd like help creating something fun and different in your own home, contact me, so we can get started!

**Gift certificates available for design services. What a perfect Christmas gift!**

Saturday, December 17, 2011

On the bright side...

Now that the lighting is better, I thought I'd give you a quick update on the built-in before and after shots. If you missed the original post, scroll on down and check it out!

We'll start with the after, just for grins!

Check back on Monday for a Ikat Chevron Tutorial!

Sharing in the fun at Passionately Perfect. Stop by and check it out!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Built-in Reveal...FINALLY!

  Hip hip horray, it's Friday! I've been stringing you along for awhile now. Thanks for being patient as I've worked out the details of our TV niche built-in. It has been a work in progress and let me tell ya, friends, it hasn't been the easiest thing. Designing and decorating is HARD! 

It all started here. I was sick of looking at the mismatched hodge podge we threw together and decided to draw a design to fill the space. After you check out the fun pictures below, you have to come back and click on my original design to see how it looks absolutely nothing like what we ended up building! 

I was very excited when my husband jumped on board and decided to appease me make the magic happen. He used his awesome woodworking abilities and took this boring space from this...

To this...


My "after" shot is pretty dark. I've been trying to wait for a sunny day to take photos, but it's been cloudy all week. I couldn't wait any longer so bare with the dark tones!

My 9 y.o. daughter painted this pug portrait. It provided inspiration for the rest of the accessories. You should have seen her face when I asked her if I could display it in the built-in!

This round ball "spoke" to me on at least two occasions while shopping at TJMaxx before I finally decided it needed to find a spot in my home. 

The hour glass is a favorite among my kiddos. They love to pull it down and use it when they're doing their homework. Hey, whatever works...I'm a fan of anything that makes homework less of a struggle!

Like the "trimwork?" I was impatient when it came to adding this detail so I improvised and used black grosgrain ribbon. Just slapped a little tape on it and no one would ever know it's not wood. What a great little tip to save time and money!

The background is beadboard, painted grey, then I added a black and gold, ikat chevron. Boy, this sure would have been easier if I had of figured out the design BEFORE we installed the beadboard! I was literally laying on my stomach painting zig zags. I felt like I had had a crazy workout the next morning. Who knew decorating could improve muscle tone?!

Gotta tie in the pug painting with one more pug accessory. He's my husband's favorite part of the styling!

I'm drawn to the simplicity of this little set-up. You don't have to add a million knick knacks to make your shelves look pretty.

I'm sure the styling of these shelves will evolve as I find fun new accessories. In the interest of finishing the project, I worked with what I had and what I could find to keep it budget-friendly. All of the accessories came from TJMaxx, Salvation Army and Tuesday Morning.

I hope to find 3 baskets to place on the floor eventually, but until then, the dogs are loving their "new home!"

Lighting would make this area killer. Maybe one day we'll have an electrician come in and wire it, but until then I found a little solution that was more cost effective...battery-operated touch lights from Home Depot. 

One more shot of the completed project...

So, friends, I hope it was worth the wait. It's fun and funky and my husband is a ROCKSTAR for helping my visions come to life. Let's give him a little love for the hidden wires, for building the false backing covered by beadboard and of course, for those wonderful floating shelves!

If you'd like to have something designed for your own home, contact me.

Happy weekend, friends!

Linking up to the following fabulous sites: Be different act Normal
The DIY Showoff        Hope Studios                   The Shabby Nest
Tip Junkie                    Blue Cricket Design
Savvy Southern Style   Somewhat Simple
House of Hepworths    Fireflies and Jellybeans
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