Monthly Archives: May 2017

DIY Makeovers With Blogger

Chelsea Lipford Wolf is not only the host of the Checking In With Chelsea, and award-winning web series and blog, but a co-host and collaborator of the popular Today’s Homeowner syndicated tv series. Chelsea takes on more than just decorating, she uses her extensive DIY and home improvement talents to share easy-to-follow projects.

 

Checking In With Chelsea, a web series and blog is part of the national Today’s Homeowner brand, launched in July 2014 and earned two 2015 National Telly Awards which honor outstanding work in video and film productions. Whether she’s tackling a simple home repair or a more creative décor project, Chelsea enjoys transforming the everyday ordinary into extraordinary.

 

If you love practical, real-life, DIY home improvement projects, you’ll love these three simple DIY projects Chelsea is sharing with us. All three of these decorating projects prove that a little bit of paint and some inspiration can totally transform your home.

 

How to Hack a Simple Bookcase DIY

 

You probably have a bookcase or two in your home that needs some updating and TLC. Painting a bookcase is a quick way to update it, but you can also go a little further with a stylish DIY hack for a boring bookcase.

 

Chelsea started this bookcase DIY makeover by adding molding to give it architectural detail. Adding trim or molding to a plain piece of furniture gives it a more expensive look and a timeless quality. The secret to successfully adding architectural interest is to use paint to incorporate the new features. 

 

Any great furniture makeover starts with an inspiration and a piece of furniture that is worth making over. The bookcase that Chelsea chose to makeover was a hand-me-down with a faux wood finish that was perfect for a new look.

Chelsea: “This bookshelf was handed down to me from my grandparents when they were purging a lot from their house. It was originally brown with a faux wood look. Not my style. So I had caulked all of the joints and painted it white. Then I painted the back of it blue to coordinate with the blue guest room/office where it originally resided in my home.”

A Vintage or Vintage Inspired Kitchen

Charming checkerboard floors adorned vintage kitchens in homes ranging from modest to grand. A black-and-white checkerboard floor was the most common, but occasionally you’ll see old checkerboard floors featuring gray, red, or cobalt blue.

 

If your vintage kitchen still has a checkerboard floor, don’t replace it. If you don’t have one, get this vintage look with a reproduction tile that looks like old.

Long before paint manufacturer’s came up with washable kitchen paint, homeowners installed tile to protect kitchen walls from splashes and spills. The coverage varied; installation ranged from just the lower third to the entire wall surface. The contrasting borders frequently used were a decorative bonus.

 

Ceramic tile rarely survives being ripped out, so a stash of new old stock is your best bet for an authentic look if your walls aren’t already tiled. If you can’t find that, opt for new wall tile that’s designed to look old. Study old kitchen photos so you can duplicate the tile color, shape, and size.

Built-in china cabinets were fairly common in vintage kitchens — and not just in luxury homes. I’ve lived in three relatively modest 1920’s apartments that still had them. And, when the kitchen didn’t have them, sometimes the dining room or butler’s pantry did.

 

The built-in cabinetry in the photo is marvelously intact, but it’s a shame the door pulls were replaced. Though they’re covered in paint, at least the hinges are original.

 

Some built-in china cabinets undoubtedly went to the landfill when the homeowners remodeled. Fortunately, lots were salvaged as well. I’ve seen them at flea markets, reuse stores, and thrift shops. If you don’t find what you need at any of those, your best bet is an architectural salvage shop.

Installing an old drainboard sink — one that features built-in drainboards on one or both sides — in the kitchen is a wonderful way to give a new home a little vintage charm.

 

Drainboard sinks are bigger than most of today’s reproduction farmhouse sinks, but they do have the same exposed front aprons. They’re usually wall mounted, with or without decorative front legs. But, occasionally, you’ll see them installed on a cabinet base that shares the sink’s width.

 

Look for vintage drainboard sinks at the same places you search for old cabinetry: thift shops, flea markets, and reuse stores. Also, check Craigslist and your local newspaper classifieds for drainboard sinks for sale, or for a salvage yard that deals in old fixtures. 

Blue Accessories for Any Style

A blue palette has a calming influence on any space, whether your home is a contemporary loft or a cottage near a lake.  Depending on the colors you pair it with, and the shades and patterns you choose, blue works beautifully in any style home.  From baby blue to navy blue, there’s sure to be a hue that’s right for you.

 

Blue in a Contemporary Room

 

Here, blue is paired with warm, natural textures and neutral colors, but it also looks great with black and white.  To keep the look clean and contemporary, choose bold pops of the same blue–such as this jewel-toned turquoise–and relegate the use of color to solids rather than patterns.  Here are some examples of blue accessories that would work in a contemporary room:

 

  • A large, sculptural vase in a glossy peacock-blue
  • A set of sapphire pillows on a white couch
  • Abstract wall art featuring electric blue swaths of color

Whereas solid blues make the difference in a contemporary room, this space relies on a variety of blue patterns for a formal look that feels fresh.  This mix of pattern–found on the striped chair, Greek key rug, Suzani pillows, and floral curtains–look cohesive because they share a palette of just two main colors: sky blue and royal blue.  Even though the feel of this room is on the traditional side, these particular blues keep the look light and airy and the pattern play keeps it from looking stuffy. 

 

Another way to achieve a formal look is to layer a deep, moody blue such as indigo with warm metallics like copper or gold.  This glamorous pairing feels like the inside of a velvet-lined jewelry box and is an elegant choice for a formal dining room or even a master bedroom.

Blue accessories for formal spaces might include:

  • An ottoman upholstered in steel blue velvet
  • Dramatic floor-to-ceiling curtain panels in a royal blue floral
  • A pair of large Ming-style vases flanking your fireplace mantel

Home Without Emptying Your Wallet

Decorating can be expensive, particularly if you have to do a whole room or a whole house all at once. A decorating budget will be your most important tool in making sure you don’t empty your wallet while filling your house.

 

Make a Wishlist

The first thing to do is to let your imagination run wild. Think about all the things you would love to have, whether you think it will fit within your decorating budget or not.

Collect inspiration photos and write down all the things that stick out to you. Are you in love with wallpaper? Do you love the look of wainscotting? Are you attracted to specific statement pieces? Having a list of items you want to include will help you when it comes time to make a decorating plan.

 

Determine Your Budget

Put your wishlist aside for the moment and create a budget for the room(s) you need to decorate. Be honest about your regular expenses and really figure out how much you have to spend on this project. No decor item is worth having if it’s going to make you feel guilty or compromise the rest of your lifestyle. So figure out what you have to spend – what exactly you spend it on will be decided later.

 

Make a Decorating Plan

A decorating plan includes everything from creating an overall look, determining the floor plan, and adding any extras like wallpaper, light fixtures and artwork.

This is pretty much everything that will go into the room. This is where you want to work from your wishlist. Take all the things you wrote down and figure out what you actually want to put in your room while keeping your budget in the back of your head.

 

Comparison Shop

Comparison shopping before you buy is very important.

You need to familiarize yourself with what things really cost. Remember to include things like labor costs for custom work, shipping and delivery, and any other extras that may not be on an item’s original price tag. And don’t let yourself get discouraged during this process. While the prices quickly add up there are often ways to get what you want for the price you can afford – you just need to be willing to compromise. It’s not as hard as it seems to decorate a room on a budget.

 

Narrow Things Down

Chances are that you can’t fit everything on your wishlist into your budget. Once you’ve done some comparison shopping you should have a good idea of what things cost. Now is the time to narrow things down. Cut out the things that aren’t practical for your budget, and make adjustments where you can. This may mean opting for pre-fab bookshelves instead of built-in cabinets, or store-bought curtains instead of custom window treatments. In some cases it’s a matter of making minor adjustments to still get the same look. For instance, if you fall in love with a $5,000 sofa look around for something in a similar shape but perhaps with a different type of filling. Chances are good that you can find something you like just as much for a smaller price.

Prioritizing your purchases is important because no matter what your budget is you might not be able to pay for everything all at once, so you need to decide what you need first. For instance, in many cases a sofa will be a priority before accessories like artwork and mirrors. Or you may want to get things like rugs and wallpaper in place before you bring in furniture. This is unique to every person and every home so it’s up to you to decide what to do first.

 

Stick to Your Decorating Budget

The hardest part of this whole process is actually sticking to the budget once you’ve made it. It’s very easy to lose track so make it a priority to stay organized and write down each and every thing you pay for during the decorating process. And remember that if you over spend in one area you’ll have to make up for it in another.

The Details Makes All the Difference

Preparing for and hosting house guests can be a very enjoyable experience. There’s something satisfying about helping your visitors feel especially welcome and comfortable.

When you start to plan your guest room, think about what you’d expect to find in a 5-diamond hotel and try to make your room measure up to that standard. Your budget may not have enough in it to let you create a getaway oasis, but you can clear the decks, arrange what’s necessary, and provide a quiet place to relax.

 

  • The Best Bed Your Money Can BuyDon’t give your guest the oldest, most saggy mattress you have. If you can’t afford a new or good used bed, think about getting a quality air mattress. They’re really quite comfortable and can be placed on top of a box spring, over a sofa bed mattress, or on the floor.
  • Bedding UpgradesBeyond clean bedding, think about adding wonderful bed linens and comfort items often supplied by fine B&B’s: a featherbed mattress topper, a choice of pillows, a cozy down comforter, extra blankets, and freshly ironed pillowcases.
  • Fresh LinensAlways have an extra set of bed and bath linens available for your guests. Accidents do happen! Or you may have one of those wonderful guests who insists on changing the sheets when they leave. Let them do it, and thank them profusely!
  • A Place to Set Down a SuitcaseClear a space to put a luggage rack or a small table or bench to set down a suitcase. No one likes to have to stoop over to the floor to pull out a clean pair of socks. Even a chair is better than nothing.
  • Clear the DecksResist the temptation to put your beautiful collection of dolls on the dresser or fill the closet with out-of-season clothes. In a guest room, less is more — more space, more comfortable, and more welcoming. Get rid of anything that you would not find in the room of a fine hotel. Keep only the most useful items in the room, like a clock and calendar.
  • A Comfy Place to SitSome people do not feel comfortable sitting on a bed, and your guests shouldn’t have to. Place an upholstered armchair or side chair in the room with a table and lamp close by.
  • Good LightingOne of the biggest hotel decor missteps is walking into an otherwise nice hotel room and there’s no light to read by. It’s always nice to have a light control near the bed, so your guest won’t have to stumble around in the dark, just to turn a light on. If nothing else, provide a good reading light near a chair or over the bed. Another fixture or lamp near the desk would be great. A small night light is helpful, and a lighted magnifying make-up mirror is a real luxury.
  • Hanging Clothes StorageIf your guest room shares space with a home office, clear at least a foot or two of pole space in the closet. Or purchase an inexpensive over-the-door hook that can accommodate some hanging clothes. Don’t forget a supply of 6 or 8 hangers. A simple hook on the wall or behind a closet door can hold a robe, coat, or a purse.

Modern Home Failures

The current popularity of the mid-century modern style is usually attributed to the TV series Mad Men. But the show is just a mouthpiece–a messaging system–for the zeitgeist that’s already there.

 

The source of heat lies deep in the cerebral cortex of a generation of 40-plus year-olds. These are the environs where we, as kids, accompanied our parents to the super-sleek savings and loan and marveled at concrete beams impossibly arching over vast floor spaces. Or where we visited Mom’s rich sister who had a low, flat home designed by an actual architect–not a tract home stamped from a cookie presser–dominated by a massive fireplace. Or where countless TV sitcom families lived among acres of glass and indoor rockery.

 

So it comes as no surprise that this generation, now adults, now parents, and now monied, would want to buy or remodel their homes to mid-century modern perfection.

Mid-century modern represented freedom–freedom from the bonds of gravity (cantilevers), from the restrictions of energy-saving (those acres of glass), from skimping on land (spread out the house on one level; no two stories allowed here).

And who doesn’t love freedom?

But if you’re considering renovating sections of your home, or your entire home, into the mid-century style, at least be aware of several beliefs of that age that later came to naught.

The first thing you notice with mid-century modern houses is that they appear to be built wholly of glass.

 

The Fail

 

Glass is a terrible insulator. The more layers and thickness you have, the better insulator you have. It also helps to have materials suited for insulation, such as fiberglass and gypsum. Even though mid-century modern homes employed thick tempered glass for its transparent walls and oversized windows, there are far better ways to insulate a home than this.