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DIY Minecraft Mural

But first a house update…

Still a whirlwind here at my new home the construction site.  Over the past weeks we had electricians moving several electrical panels from various places across the home to the garage.  While this wasn’t an absolute necessity, we believe that it will pay off in the long run for two reasons.  First, it will allow all wiring to be run in the basement in one new soffit right alongside the HVAC ducts.  Previously the wires were a spaghetti mess above the drop ceiling in the basement, but since the basement ceiling is currently pulled out it made sense fix it properly now.  Second, it means we can remove both non-code compliant electrical “closets” that had been fashioned to hide the previous panels in the family room.  While they technically did their job at hiding the panels, they were not aesthetically pleasing to look at and seriously messed with the flow and looks of the rooms.

Other new developments include our receipt of a proposal to remove both loadbearing and non-loadbearing walls so we can rework the floorplan on the home’s main level.  More to come on that soon!  In the interim more deconstruction continues in the basement including continued removal of wood paneling, drop ceiling and carpet.  Dead mouse count is up to 56! In addition to the removal of the walls, we’ve consulted with a plumber to talk about how to untangle the spaghetti of Pex plumbing that used to be in the basement drop ceiling, removal of the old wet bar drain, and how to ready the new kitchen area for plumbing including a gas line for the range (I’m hoping there is budget for a big professional grade range).

DIY Minecraft Mural

I really wish we were further along than we currently are.  Renovation always seems to be so much simpler and quicker in your mind than what reality dictates.  HGTV makes it look so easy! I could maybe get a bit more done on our home reno if I wasn’t so busy with design projects for my business, but this is a problem I can’t complain about!  Here’s a recent project that I wanted to share.  I recently did a custom geometric mural painting for a client’s new home.  Their son is a huge Minecraft fanatic.  Rather than pick one paint color for his bedroom, I proposed 12 colors! That’s right, TWELVE, that take the shape of that tell-tale Minecraft cube pattern.  All 12 colors were in the shades of green and brown and when finished have the look of Minecraft dirt and grass.  The great thing about this geometric mural is that it could be done in a variety of colors depending on what your child likes most about the game.  Shades of grey for rock, grey and black and spots of red for spider, shades of blue for water, you get the idea.  It’s actually pretty easy to recreate with a little patience, skilled use of a level and lots, scratch that, TONS of painter’s tape.

Materials

Here are all the materials I used:

  1. 12 quarts of Benjamin Moore paint in the following colors:
  • 554  Easter Hunt
  • 406  Huntingdon Green
  • 417  Feel the Energy
  • 558  Killala Green
  • 553  Richmond Green
  • 546  Courtyard Green
  • 1596  Nightfall
  • 455  Sweet Basil
  • HC 68  Middlebury Brown
  • 1057  Maple Valley
  • 1055  Algonquian Trail
  • 1029  Coconut Grove
  1. A yardstick, and a tape measure
  2. A long (3-4 foot) level (if your wall is smaller you might be able to get by with a laser level, but I’ve always found they get more inaccurate the longer your wall)
  3. About 6 rolls of painter’s tape
  4. Pencils and erasers
  5. One 1.5” paintbrush per color plus 1 or 2 small detail brushes
  6. Drop cloths, paper towels, rags, etc.

How-to DIY Minecraft Wall

First, I needed to determine how many squares I could fit across and vertically on the wall so that I didn’t end up with partial blocks on any edge.  To start with, I knew that I wanted large-ish blocks that were about 12 x 12 inches each.  So I took the overall length and height of the wall and divided by different figures until I ended up with something that was evenly divisible in both directions.  In this case it meant blocks that were about 13 x 13. Is there likely a mathematical proportional equation that could have figured this out the “right” way, sure probably, but this way just seemed logical in my head, so that’s what I did.

DIY minecraft wall before
Start with a boring white wall.

 

Once I knew how large each block would be I took my yardstick and measured every 13 inches along the bottom of the wall and made a small pencil tick mark.  I did the same thing going up the left and right sides and along the top.  Then, I took my level and made intermediate horizontal tick marks 1/3 up the wall and 2/3 up the wall.  Next, I used the level to connect the dots to make a perfectly straight grid pattern both horizontally and vertically.  Everyone knows homes’ walls are never perfectly straight, so every now and then I’d step back to make sure it looked about right.

measure minecraft wall cubes
Carefully measure, level, and mark with pencil lines

 

Next, it was time to tape.  I began with taping on the ceiling, baseboards and the adjoining walls first since those pieces of tape will stay put for the entire project.  Then I began taping on the left edge of each vertical line and on the top edge of each horizontal line. Because of where you have to tape, at any given point you can only paint a quarter of the wall’s squares. Starting off because the squares looked so similar (everything white with blue painter’s tape) I placed some blue tape “x’s” on the squares I should NOT paint so I could keep track.  In the current formation I painted every other bottom square, every other square on the 3rd row, 5th row, and so on.  I didn’t use a specific pattern for where to put what colors, but had a few rules I followed to keep it looking like true Minecraft. I kept the bottom 2 rows completely brown.  The third row from the baseboard was a mix of brown and green and the rest of the cubes above that third row were green.  I never put the same exact color directly adjacent to itself.  The same color diagonally was acceptable.

tape minecraft mural
Tape off the squares and mark a few so you know which ones NOT to paint.

 

Add 2 coats

 

After my first coat was dry I went back and gave a 2nd coat to those squares then removed the tape.  I used a brush to do all of this painting for a few reasons.  Brushes, while they required a slower and more methodical stroke, minimized bleeding under the tape.  Also, utilizing 12 different mini rollers and pans could get expensive and unwieldy. Every time I finished with a brush, I’d return it to its own plastic bag to keep the paint moist.  Hint: If you have a painting project that will take more than 1 day place your brush or roller in a plastic bag, seal it, then put it in the fridge overnight.  Only do this with latex paints.  Other more odious products can ruin food.  Believe me, I know firsthand.

DIY minecraft
Paint as many as you can before needing to remove tape and re-tape

 

Once the first set of cubes was completely dry, I re-taped on the opposite edges and painted the isolated squares with 2 coats, then removed tape, let dry, and re-taped.  I repeated this process until all squares were completely painted.  Inevitably there were some areas where either the paint bled under tape or the tape overlapped too much leaving white to shine through.  I had to go back and touch up these areas with a small detail brush.  Finally, I removed all the border tape along the ceiling and baseboards, and voila, Minecraft wall accomplished!  This project took about 2.5 days to complete.  It helps to be able to ventilate the room with fresh air provided it’s not humid or raining outside and a fan to help speed up the drying time between tapings.

minecraft wall DIY
Remove tape and then re-tape in next area.

 

Getting closer – be patient! Ensure that same colors aren’t adjacent.

 

My Minecraft fan hadn’t fully moved in yet, but once his room is complete I hope to be able to share the entire look here! Here is the finished wall:

complete minecraft wall
The finished product – adds dimension and interest.

 

completed minecraft mural
The perfect wall of Minecraft cubes!

 

 

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Back in Business! And Demo Day!

Ok, I had a serious moment (truthfully, it was a long moment… like several days long) of panic last week.  I had heard that subscribers weren’t getting emails of my blog posts, so I set about trying to rectify this issue and found that all of the blog’s subscribers had vanished! Yikes!  I noticed a few other website issues too.  After lots of time on the phone and in chat with the help desk from my hosting company (who, um, weren’t so helpful), and then more time tinkering myself, I finally figured out how to fix it. Phew, HUGE sigh of relief!  So my fingers are crossed that all of my subscribers are reading this via the link sent to their email.  I “think” we’re back in business!

Anyway, I wanted to update you all on the progress here at my house renovation. I would technically not consider anything we’ve done so far as “renovation.”  Let’s be honest, it’s all still demo.  This will continue to be the case for a while.  It feels never-ending.   It’s definitely not as fast nor as fun as ‘ol Chip Gaines makes it look on Fixer Upper!  Every weekend we continue to tear out old paneling, mirrors, drywall, carpet and drop ceiling in the basement.  We are also trying desperately to track all the electrical and make sense of what had been done previously.  The entire drop ceiling is a mess of wires that we aim to nicely package in one existing soffit so we don’t have to do a drop ceiling again, cause let’s face it, drop ceilings in an already low basement are no bueno.

Ultimately, given the current state of the basement, we’d probably have been better off if the basement hadn’t been finished in the first place.  When the home was inspected we saw that the ceiling of the basement was insulated (which isn’t required) so we thought it was a real plus.  Well, now we have to rip it all out.  Why?  Because it’s made a nice cushion-y bed/ graveyard for mice.  As we pull out walls and ceiling and insulation we’ve come across 44 mice (all dead) so far and a TON of mouse poop.  We’ve also found some black mold on the western wall sheetrock so even though we weren’t planning on ripping that drywall out, now we must.  I’ve put out a few more traps in case there are any surviving mice and once demo is complete will probably have a pest control company come in to close up any possible points of entry. In the mean time we’ll keep the dead-mouse-tracker going and continue to be skeeved out.

This basement demo has been riddled with issues, but already it  looks so much better. It’s much more open and airy.  It feels like a larger and more usable space.  Here’s a few progress pics.  And if anyone has a surefire way to rid a house of mice once and for all I’m all ears.  And yes, I plan on dropping about a grand at the container store to finally get the Pinterest perfect pantry complete with pretty mouse-proof glass containers for all of my flour, cereal, pasta, et cetera.  For the peace of mind that I am certainly eating  mouse poop free Cheerios, I think it’s worth it.

demo day

open stairs

demo day

demo day

demo day

demo day

 

 

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Land, glorious land!

These 5 sublime wooded acres outside Washington DC are the reason we bought this… ahem… less than ideal house. I may have mentioned that our last house, though it served us well, was crammed with hundreds of other houses in a community of tract homes. All of the homes looked similar and we were literally less than 6 feet from our neighbor’s home. While we enjoyed our old community amenities, like a pool and a small gym, but we longed to have our own private versions of these perks. Oh, and we also had one more not so exciting desire, a 3-car garage. We don’t have 3 cars but we have accumulated some fun toys like a jet ski, a kayak, and my husband has a grown-up Lego, a Jeep, which has parts that go on and come off routinely.  This land is lush and extensive and surrounds this contemporary home just perfectly.  Check it out.

1980's contemporary front

Our new house is on a quiet street.  I cannot hear traffic noise from my home, just the sound of bugs, birds and frogs.  Each home on our street has several acres so when the leaves are on the trees I cannot even see my neighbors.  Time will tell how much we will be able to see them as the leaves fall off the trees this autumn.  The house is at the end of a street with no outlet which means even more privacy.

driveway

Most of the 5 acres are woods.  One side of the property is bordered by a bridle trail – yes – some people in this area keep horses on their property!  There’s probably less than half-acre of our yard  property that is mow-able grass but the plants, gardens, ponds and waterfalls are plentiful, so we will have a significant amount of landscaping to keep up with.  There are 2 large ponds, 2 small ponds a wooden footbridge, a land bridge, and 3 man-made waterfalls.  The house also has various levels of decks and patios including the one that surrounds the free-form shaped pool.  In this county, installing a pool can be really expensive, especially on a sloped lot like this one.  It’s one of the major reasons we selected this house.

wooded acres

ponds

pool

hidden paths

The trees and plants are plentiful and wide-ranging.  We have a variety of pines, oak, boxwoods, azaleas, yucca, ivy, juniper, ferns and even flowering waterlilies.  The learning curve for caring for all of these plants is huge, but a fun challenge.  I look forward to one day erecting a small greenhouse and growing veggies or maybe figuring out how to capitalize on the 4 ponds for hydroponics.

ponds

We’ve already started opening up some walls so we can see some of the supporting structures and ultimately adequately determine how to safely remove some walls.  Next week see more of our demo!

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Dreary Basement Looking for a Refresh

In the last post I took you through the main level of our big renovation adventure, “before edition”.  Today I’d like to take you through the downstairs.  Well, actually, I don’t want to, because it’s a bit embarrassing.  It’s the basement level of our 5200 sq foot house and the basement is just as long and rambling as the upstairs. Right now it’s filled with moving boxes and furnishings scattered aimlessly.  Our justification for this helter-skelter appearance is, “Why bother to take a ton of effort in establishing this space as livable rooms since so much of it will get renovated?” Maybe this is lazy, but we’re saying it’s practical. So hold on to your hats for this messy tour.

The 2 really great things about this basement are that a) one side is completely at ground level, so we have full sized windows and doors, rather than those mini basement windows and b) the basement stretches the full length of the house.  You can enter this level right from the foyer, which is a little odd.  Hopefully we can make the basement feel more like the lower level of the home than a basement so this setup won’t seem so bizarre.

Basement Before Tour

entry to basement

The stairs lead to the main living space which also shares space with a built in bar.  There is an interesting 3-sided box window (like a bay window but with 90 degree angles) that has a small seat area with awesome vinyl tile on the top.  This room also has a 2 sided fireplace and like most of the basement, a drop ceiling.  The bar area looks straight out of the 70’s with wood paneling, linoleum flooring and lots of mirrors.  The bar’s saving grace are the pendant light fixtures which are actually kinda cute.  Mind you, they neither go with the wood paneling nor are they my taste nor will they coordinate with the future style of the home, but they are sweet little fixtures.

basement living room

basement 2 sided fireplace

retro bar

bar mirrors

Around the corner from the bar is a wide hallway  which houses the utility room hidden behind sliding mirrored doors.  There is a very small room on the right that was at one point a home office. I know I won’t be able to use it as my home office because there are no windows.  The current  laundry room is also off the hallway and doubles as a storage room.  The utility sink got a quick facelift this week with leftover Rustoleum Tub and Tile paint (more in a future post) and the washer and dryer will eventually be moved upstairs to the mudroom.

hallway

tiniest office ever

ultiity room

laundry room

There is a small bathroom at the end of the hall. Oh, how I wish it was closer to the exterior door to service the pool!  We can at least work on updating the finishes and fixtures.  We’ll also look for a way to rearrange the shower since there is a large HVAC soffit running right over the shower head.  This shower is for short people only!

soffit in shower

Two bedrooms at this end of the home have flowered wallpaper, mirrored closet doors and carpet.  However, to their credit, they each have a full-size window overlooking the pool and patio and a real drywall ceiling.  I can’t believe I am getting excited by drywall ceilings.

blue bedroom

guest room

An awkward large foyer-ish space with sliding doors that lead outside to the back yard is on the opposite side of the steps leading upstairs.  Even with the large doors this portion of the basement is still very dark because the adjacent exterior is covered by a deck.  Adding to the darkness is a deep grey slate floor, which doesn’t sound that bad, right?  Buuuuut, it’s bad.  It’s bad because the slate is coated in some sort of high gloss impervious sheen.  I don’t know why anyone would do this to an otherwise perfectly good slate, but it is what it is, and therefore it will change.  Note the chair underneath the askew ceiling tile is where we found another leak in the house.

basement foyer

The small gym is located just behind the foyer area.  It is covered from top to bottom in mirrors.  Big mirrors, little mirrors, rectangles, squares and cracked. I don’t know how anyone worked out in there without getting vertigo from all the mirrored surfaces and mirror seams that weren’t lined up perfectly.    It also has awesome fluorescent lighting so of course you’ll look great as you gaze into those mirrors.  We would like to have a home gym but we may borrow some space from the shiny slate area and we will certainly redo the mirrored walls.

mirrors gym

 

To the left of the basement foyer are 2 final rooms, one with a window that looks out to the defunct hot tub.  We’re not sure what this room will be used for just yet, but are considering adding a bigger window or more doors to let additional light in. Just adjacent to this room is a nicely tiled room with some strange wood paneled pillars and half walls.  This room is home to the pool table and the coordinating Coors beer pool table light.  This area will remain a pool and game room but will see some upgrades in wall-covering, ceilings, and lighting.

rec room

rec room

pool room

Phew!  I think that about covers it for the basement area.  Check back next week or a picture tour of the home’s property which is the REAL reason we bought this house.

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Major Project Alert!

Well, we did it.  This is either the stupidest thing we’ve ever done or the most brilliant.  I’m talking about our decision to buy a new house.  A house that, for us, was pretty expensive, and yet still required work.  After 5 days post move in I was convinced that it was a dumb idea.  We had already found 3 leaks and evidence of a mouse infestation.  I was probably just tired and overwhelmed from all the hassle and chaos of moving and I wasn’t seeing the big picture.  The bigger picture is that this house is huge, about 5200 square feet.  It has all the things we wanted, a pool, a 3-car garage, was in our kids current school boundary, and most importantly, it had space.  Wonderful, glorious space.  I could stretch my arms out wide at our last house and touch both my and my neighbor’s home, so this new house on 5 acres, just outside of Washington DC, is a rarity and a real treat.  Sure, everything has its cost, and in this case getting what we wanted was going to cost us both monetarily and with the promise of investing time and sweat equity.  So now, after being in the house for just over a week, and already starting a few small projects, and in the midst of unpacking I’m feeling better about our decision.  Welcome to my major project, my new home!

My hope is to be able to document the renovation on the blog from start to finish.  So first, I guess it’d be smart to show you some “before” pics and describe the place.  Warning, these pics (namely the interior) show unadulterated moving mess and chaos.

Real estate is all about location, location, location, right?  This house is in Fairfax County, VA.  Close enough to commute to downtown DC for work every day, some of the best schools in the country, and quintessential suburbia.  Except this house is nestled in the woods on one of the few remaining 5+ acre lots in the county.  The location is about as close to perfection as we could get.

end of cul de sac

The lot is at the end of a cul de sac on a private drive.  It’s so nestled in the woods that you can’t even see the house from the street.

driveway

The house style is a 1980’s contemporary.  It’s got a long and rambling floorplan that contains one main living level and a walkout basement level.  The current style, both inside and out could most politely be described as “retro”.  I’m pretty excited to venture into designing a contemporary home since almost every project in this area is traditional, colonial, or coastal.  This will be a great change of pace and a bit of a challenge for me design wise, but I’m up for it!

1980's contemporary front

80's contemporary

The exterior of the home is brown, lots. of.  brown. Brown wood siding, brown brick, brown painted wood decks, brown asphalt shingles.  The solid wood front door blends right in because, yep, you guessed it, it’s brown,

brown exterior

The foyer is large, has lots of good light from the front windows, some crystal and gold chandeliers that aren’t my bag and frankly don’t go with the home.  The flooring is a glossy Carrera marble tile, which isn’t bad, but several tiles are cracked.  The foyer is the central hub with stairs leading to the basement (and a very traditional style railing), forward to the living room, left to the kitchen and right to the two main floor bedrooms. Yep, new flooring samples are scattered on the floor presently.

The living room is huge.  Everything in it looks huge.  Big wood picture windows with casement bottoms, vaulted ceiling to probably about 20 feet high, massive stone fireplace and the first appearance of the omnipresent mirrors.  I haven’t counted, but this house is like a funhouse.  There are mirrors everywhere you turn.   Full wall mirrors, cutout mirrors, tiled mirrors, mirrors on top of mirrors.  The living room also boasts the spongiest carpet I have ever felt.  My daughter has taken to practicing cartwheels here because it’s just like a gymnastic floor.

living room

The dining room is connected to the living room and shares the fireplace wall.  There is a smaller window overlooking the back yard, flanked by, yes, more mirrors, and a fun little drive through opening to the kitchen.  And by fun, I mean for my 10 year old self when I used to dream of working the drive through at McDonald’s (talk about #goals).   The dining room also has a chandelier very typical for the 1980’s, bright brass and faceted glass panels.

dining room

dining room

 

The adjoining kitchen is small by today’s standards.  The dated white cabinets, oak flooring, leaky skylight, unintentionally retro ceiling fan, fluorescent lighting and a wall of black mirrored glass are all the things that need to change.  To its benefit it does have nice granite counters and an updated fridge and wall ovens.  The ancient ceramic cook top and mismatched dishwasher are also less than ideal.

kitchen

leaky windows

stainless apppliances

The hall next to the kitchen leads to another room with a raised platform that forms a bar to the kitchen cutout, but this platform makes the rest of the space in the room awkward and unusable.  This room, which probably served as a family room, breakfast room has 3 different floors, black bamboo, red bamboo and glossy black granite.  The vaulted ceiling is nice as are the skylights and the large front windows.  We hope the woodburning stove will help with energy efficiency this winter.  This room actually used to be a garage so when it was converted to living space room was “taken” for the electrical panels by building a awkward closet.  The home has a number of electrical issues so as we fix them we’ll probably also relocate these panels since their current set-up is neither to code nor aesthetically pleasing.

family room

family room

Across the hall from the family room is a powder room, with floor to ceiling travertine tile, dated sink cabinet and lighting and a toilet complete with a wooden toilet seat.

powder room

Next to the powder room is one of my favorite rooms in the house… well not in its current state… but I’ve been wanting a mudroom forever.  Eventually this will be a mudroom/ laundry room with extra pantry style storage.

mudroom

The final room on this side of the house is yet another living room type space, which we’ll call a den since we’ve already got a living room and a family room.  Our hope is to not call it a den for long, we’d love to convert this room to the kitchen to maximize easy access to the back decks and the overall larger space.  We’ll know this Friday when we meet with a structural engineer to tell us if these dreams can come true since some adjoining walls would need to come down and we’d want to vault this ceiling as well.

den

Across the other side of this level is the bedroom wing.  The hallway has a coat closet (with mirrored doors of course) and leads to a bathroom and our daughter’s room. The bathroom isn’t too bad.  Sure it’s got a grey toilet and tub, 4 different kinds of tile (to the ceiling no less), a worn vanity, dated lighting, a mirrored medicine cabinet on top of a wall mirror, old brass fixtures and a brass and glass shower enclosure.  While we await for approval to knock down walls, I’ve taken on this bathroom and the nearby linen closet as my first pet projects.  I’ll detail more in a future blog post so you can see my low-budget reno on this bathroom.

hall bath

The 1st bedroom off the hall is my daughter’s and it’s a pretty standard bedroom.  Smaller than her last but it overlooks the pool.  We’ll eventually update it by replacing the traditional trim with something more contemporary, replace carpet with hardwood, new closet doors and paint.  Pretty simple, right?

bedroom 1

Finally, the master suite.  It’s huge, thanks in part to an addition in which the previous owners added a room on top of an existing deck.  However, this room currently seems to slope downward and features a gas fireplace that doesn’t seem to work, and burgundy and grey tile that is popping up unprovoked.  It’s a good thing that this space is so large because we will need to borrow some space to make the master bathroom larger.  The bath currently has gold framed shower doors, mirrors everywhere, some glass block and a plum purple sink and coordinating 80’s era tile on the walls.

master suite

That’s all for today, over the coming days I’ll take you on a tour of the basement and our favorite part of this property and the real reason we bought it, the outdoors.  Of course if you have great design recommendations, put them in the comments and share with your friends and family!

 

 

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Marvelous Architecture of Martha’s Vineyard

Ugggh.  I am so guilty and feel terrible that I haven’t created a blog post in such a long time!  Sorry!  It all started back in early June.  First my husband was surprised to find out that the Army was promoting him.  So planning for a ceremony and party occupied a bit of our free time, then on top of that excitement we decided to make an offer on a house we liked, which ultimately resulted in us having to get our house ready to put on the market, an offer from the military to move to Italy (which we ultimately turned down), and celebrating my son’s graduation from 8th grade, and both my husband and my birthdays within 2 days of each other…. June was a whirlwind and July hasn’t been much better.

Thankfully there was 4 days of respite amongst all of it.  My husband surprised me with a trip to Martha’s Vineyard for my 40th birthday!  I had never been there but had read several books that are set in the relaxed, upscale, posh island.  Besides spending some time lying on a beach I was most looking forward to perusing the streets taking in all the great shingle clad architecture.  Martha did not disappoint!  Architecture ogling started as soon as our little plane touched down.  The airport with its whitewalls natural wood shiplap ceiling, detailed beams complete with turnbuckles offered a worthy welcome to this picturesque little island.  Check out those beams!

I really expected to see more grand homes with lots of weathered gray cedar shake siding, and while those did exist I think some of the large compounds were tucked away in the meandering woods of the island so their residents can enjoy privacy.  I was so surprised to find lane upon lane of adorable little Victorians dripping in gingerbread details.  The first sample of vintage Victorian architecture was our little B&B, the Oak Bluffs Inn.  Painted in pretty pastel shades of blue, lavender and pink it was a quintessential Victorian with seashore inspired antiques decorating the inside.  Our little cottage was a separate building in the back yard and was simply appointed and perfect for relaxing.  Very private and no TV.

oak bluffs inn

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oak bluff inn carriage house

A few blocks over the Victorian delight continued with tons of shaded streets lined with adorable doll house like seasonal residences.  The area known as the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA) is a community ripe with adorable Victorian homes in every color of the rainbow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yes, the parks, beaches, and lighthouses were gorgeous and every meal we had was excellent – so many great restaurants to choose from.  I’d go back to Martha’s Vineyard in a heartbeat.  Alas a return trip will have to wait because, fingers crossed, if everything goes well in the next month or so we’ll be moving! Stay tuned!  In the meantime, amidst purging and packing I promise to be better about blogging regularly and will share some highlights and ideas from some of my recent clients and moving tips too!

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Four Poster and Canopy Beds

Nothing makes a bedroom statement like a fantastic four poster or canopy bed. Their dramatic height can add some much needed visual interest to a room where normally the furnishings are lower in profile, think low platform beds, nightstands, dressers and the like usually aren’t too high. That said, a tall framed bed isn’t for every bedroom, namely those that are smaller in square footage or have low ceilings, which can make those rooms feel more cramped. Four poster and canopy beds come in designs for every style, modern, classic, traditional, ornate. I’ve assembled a collection of my favorite canopy and four poster beds out there and info on where to find them.

four poster beds

 

canopy beds

 

poster bed

 

canopy bed

 

  1. Quatrefoil Canopy Bed      $340
  2. Natural Venice Bed       $1919
  3. Borden Four Poster 2 Piece Bedroom Set       $960       (comes with a nightstand)
  4. Inspire Q Solivita Off White Linen Canopy       $744
  5. Argos King Bed          $2099
  6. Tommy Bahama West Indies Bed       $2299
  7. Manhattan Champagne Gold Canopy Bed     $935
  8. Eugenie Jane Four Poster Bed     $3299

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What to Wear Wednesday: Summer Event Staples

It’s been a while since I posted a fashion oriented post, I’ve been busy. It seems like every time I turn around there is another event to either plan or attend this summer. The kids are wrapping up school, warm weather is here and folks just wanna get together and have fun. Summer events are even more enjoyable if you look and feel great at all of those June weddings, graduations, birthdays and evenings on the town. True, there is a time and a place when it doesn’t matter if fashion is comfortable or not, but when it’s hot and sticky outside you just want to be cool, comfortable and collected. Here are a few of my favorite staples for easy summer event style.

First Up, the cotton maxi dress. You can’t get much more comfortable than something that feels like you’re in cotton PJs. These are so versatile, you can dress them up for a party with strappy heels and some bold jewelry or tone them down with flip flops and a straw hat for the beach. I am loving the olive green on the first one. Olive and white are my favorite summer clothing colors because they look phenomenal with a tan (and I happen to be one of those awful people that tans easily, even under a coat of sunscreen… don’t hate me).

cotton maxi dresses

 

  1. Lulus Lost in Paradise Cotton Maxi Dress     $54
  2. ANGL Floral Waves maxi Dress    $65
  3. Cosabella Rimini Racer Maxi Dress     $72
  4. Forever 21 Crochet Maxi Dress  $48
  5. Felicity and Coco Striped Maxi Dress        $88 

Next, the summer night out / wedding appropriate short dress.  The more casual polka dot Banana Republic number would be perfect for an evening barbeque while the black off the shoulder dress is fitting for a hot date.

summer cocktail dress

 

  1. Calvin Klein Placed Sheath Dress       $108
  2. Lulu’s Never Enough Black Off the Shoulder Dress         $49
  3. Banana Republic Swiss Dot Off-Shoulder Dress       $98
  4. J McLaughlin Nicola Sleeveless Dress in Radiowaves         $205 
  5. Forever 21 Stripe Twist-Front Dress  $35 

While socially acceptable to pair a nice dress with bare toes at the beach or even at a pool party, virtually everywhere else it’s a faux pas.  Here’s a selection of adorable heel sandals that could pair with a number of the dress selections above.

summer event sandals

 

 

  1. Louis et Cie Hilio    $129   
  2. Bandolino Armory     $53 
  3. Vince Camuto  Lorrana       $95
  4. Lucky Brand Jaleela  $89
  5. Calvin Klein Valene     $72

And while we’re at it why not add a few more necessary essentials.  Pick one or two of these to complete the perfect summer event look.

summer accessories staples

 

  1. Bowtie Choker Necklace      $8  
  2. Pink Aviators      $15
  3. Tortoise Charm Bangle       $25
  4. Beaded Ball Earrings  $65 
  5. Cha Cha Tassle Block Earrings     $48
  6. Sparkling Leaf Headband    $8 

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Pamper a Camper: Surprisingly Adorable RV Renovations

Camping isn’t for everyone.  Sure, there’s purists that think it must be done in a tent, without electricity or any creature comforts, then there’s some that recognize the convenience of an RV or camper.  The thing with campers is, they don’t get used all that frequently, so they’ll last for decades but often sit accumulating issues without anyone paying attention to them and their look and décor becomes outdated.  I think a small camper redo would be a great mini-flip project, and I recently saw an adorable one in the June issue of Country Living.  Mandi Gubler of VintageRevivals.com revamped her 1973 Bell Travel Trailer into some retro-kitsch-cuteness.  Can you believe the transformation?  It’s adorable.  Here’s a few before and afters of her trailer, “The Nugget”:

travel trailer interior reno

I found that there are quite a few camper renovations out there that deserve some showing off so I thought I’d share them here.  This first one from The Noshery kept some of the unique vintage appliances, polished them up and mixed them with modern decor.

This one  from Fancy Farmgirl (whose blog it seems sadly doesn’t exist under that name any longer)  is light and bright, making the space seem so much larger.

These camper renovations are makeovers of quintessential Airstream trailers, with their telltale stainless steel  accents and domed roofs.

And finally here’s another before and after highlighted by Country Living.   The change from old fake wood to bright aqua ceiling and white cabinetry bring this Airstream into the current decade.

 

 

This makes me want to embark on finding a camper to flip…. I can hear my husband grumbling now… but no worries honey, for now, you’re in luck, I’ve got nowhere to park it.

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Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue

The colors of old glory, perfect in their patriotism and symbolism of the US of A, yet colors that are often poorly designed and styled.  Frequently this patriotic color combo is avoided altogether because, let’s face it, nobody wants their house to look it came straight out of a 1980’s issue of Country Living or like Grandma’s reproduction Amish quilt.  Doing red, white, and blue right can be hard, but it CAN be done.  With some patience and a discerning eye the colors of the USA can be great in a nautical look, a playful kids vibe, a rustic farmhouse look, or a more traditional style. Here are a few examples of red, white and blue styled rooms that look oh, so perfect!

Nautical

Here’s a modern nautical bedroom from County Living.  Before looking at the room you might think that striped bedding AND striped wallpaper would be overdoing it, right?  Nope, in here with the simple metal bedframes and lots of bright light it all works.  I particularly love the curtains that are each different large scale nautical flags!

nautical red white and blue bedroom

Farmhouse

This farmhouse cottagey look DOES utilize an Amish looking quilt, but it’s styled so perfectly with the warm white walls and pops of strong red (not a washed out red that would look too country) in the nightstand and vase of poppies.  The jute rug adds a natural, neutral element that grounds the entire space.  Photo via pinterest.

farmhouse red white and blue

 

Traditional

This traditional space featured on B.A.S. is a relatively small space with tall ceilings.  The designer here went crazy with mixing patterns, BUT it’s visually supported by so much neutral and white that it totally works.  It doesn’t look cheesy Americana or anything, just a fun version of traditional, and it totally works.

traditional red white and blue

 

Another traditional space, this one by Andrea Schumacher, mixes soft blues, bold reds and tones it all down with neutral grasscloth wallpaper.

traditional bedroom red white blue

 

Exterior

This classic color combo works on home exteriors as well just like this one here by Andrea Braund.

 

And certainly, if there is any place where you can get away with a little bit of patriotic kitsch, it’s the front porch, since it’s almost more like holiday decorating than permanent decorating.  This one, which I think is a several years old styling by Pottery Barn, still looks classic and cute.

patriotic porch

Have a fun Memorial Day weekend and please take a moment to remember all those who have died in service to our nation and have given so much to keep us free!