Decorating · Lakehouse

Into the light…a master bath makeover

When we bought our lake house three years ago, the master bathroom was definitely a room that I was anxious to make some changes to. What initially seemed like a sophisticated master bath soon felt like walking into a dark heavy space with the dark wood shades, brown curtain panels, brown tiled shower, dark wood vanity with gold granite and tile. Though the effort was to make it look elegant with the crystal lights around the vanity and in the closet and the decorative mirrors, it was just a bit too much for me and didn’t fit my style.

Your bathroom should be an extension of your master bedroom retreat space and thus should also be a very personal decision on how you approach decorating it. What worked for the previous owners just didn’t work for me. But it doesn’t have to be a complete demolition to bring it in line with your own taste. Here’s how I approached our master bath.

Pros and Cons Assessment

Start by assessing what you have. What do you like about the bathroom and what is an absolute “redo”, keeping in mind your budget. Making over a bathroom doesn’t have to break the bank if you approach it the right way. I loved the shower, especially the river stone floor. Though the tile was dark brown, the light blue/green glass tile insert helped to break up the darkness and I could definitely work with that color. I also loved the seamless glass outside walls of the shower. No changes there. I also liked the light gold large tiled floor just fine, certainly didn’t want to waste money changing it.

The con list was a bit longer. The lights were too fancy and created too many light prisms and reflections on the walls, the mirrors were too ornate, the vanity was very busy looking with the gold vessels and a dark brown finish. The tub seemed liked a big blob on the floor, though having a tub was a must. The corner dark cabinet was obtrusive. The window coverings covered all of the natural light coming into the bathroom. The paint color seemed a little dark to me. Basically this bathroom needed a total lightening up.

The Process

Start with a honest and reasonable objective of what you want to accomplish and feel with your bathroom. For me I wanted to lighten it up, bring the outdoors in and capitalize on the natural light as much as I could. I was going for a cleaner simpler look that would make an easier transition into the master bedroom. After reviewing my pros and cons list, I made a list of things that needed to be done to address the cons that would bring it in line with my dream bathroom that would also be cost effective. My plan would include quite a bit of painting and a few switch-outs of some key elements in the closet and bathroom, some of which I could do myself and some I would have to enlist help.

Paint

I normally would paint myself, but there were several places in the bathroom where the sheet rock tape had split and I wanted to have it professionally repaired so it wouldn’t be a problem in the future. Also, the thought of going around all the shelves in the closet did not appeal to me, so I definitely would be hiring out the painting. That was the easy part, finding the paint color was the hard part. In keeping with my overall objective to lighten things up and bringing the outdoor in, I decided to steer away from the blue green tones of paint. I opted for a creamy white and would use the color for accents to tie it in with the master bedroom. Let me just tell you, picking a white color is the most difficult thing to do.

After painting several swatches on several different walls and looking at it at different times of the day I finally made a decision. I wasn’t there when they painted or I probably would have stopped them soon after they started and changed colors. When I got back to the lakehouse and saw the completed room, I instantly thought it looked a little too yellow creamy, almost green at times. WHAT? Do not underestimate how the surrounding elements will affect the paint color because of reflection. The green leaves from outside and the gold colored floor had a huge impact on my completed paint color. I decided to live with it and hoping that once I put on window treatments, painted the vanity and added other blue/green accents into the room, it might just blend in and I won’t notice it.

Lighting

Lighting is so important. Just the color of the light bulbs can make a big difference. It wasn’t long after we moved in that I instantly removed the chandelier side sconces from the vanity. We also changed out the closet light to something bigger and bright and white with a bit of brushed bronze accent to tie in with the wood shelving. We changed all the bulbs from a yellow tint to a white tint. What a big difference this alone made in the color of the paint.

Cabinets & Storage

When first dreaming about this bathroom I envisioned a sleek stand alone soaker tub. However, before ripping it out and dropping a grand, I decided to paint the bottom to see if it made a difference. I found some leftover paint from another room and after proper prepping, painted the bottom of the tub. Within a few hours, it totally changed the room and convinced my husband that I could also paint the vanity the same color. WOW! I loved it and so did my husband. Big win and it didn’t cost me anything except for a can of bonding primer and a little time. I could live with that.

After cleaning out and purging unnecessary stuff from the tall corner cabinet, we removed it and re-purposed it in the basement storage room for another day and clean out project. I picked up a little white cabinet with the perfect drawers from IKEA (which I put together myself) and put it in the corner instead. What a big difference this little changes made in the overall look and lightening up of this room. We also changed out the gold vessels for white vessels.

Flooring

The only thing I did differently on the flooring was replace the shag taupe 5×7 rug in the closet with one that had the teal/blue colors in a more geometric design. This put back some of the color that I took out and ties in nicely with the master bedroom.

Accents

New botanical prints on both sides of the windows, a lamp, new vanity and wall mirrors from Kirklands, removing some of the stuff on our sink, an added side bench and a clean closet finished it off.

Window Treatments

Initially these windows had wicker shades however they were inset in the window frames. I wanted to be able to see out and allow as much light into the room as possible so I bought new blinds and had them cut to just outside the window frame. These Levolor blinds just pull up and down….no cords! I found the perfect fabric that was light enough but had some of the color and texture I wanted to pull in from a package of curtain panels in Lowes. I remade the panels, lining them and cutting them down to make the same style of ring pleated café curtains that hung halfway down the window, providing the privacy we need in a bathroom but letting in the maximum amount of light. We are down a long driveway and it is already quite private, unless our neighbors are walking down their long stretch to the lake.

Before and After

Well, what do you think? The paint color settled in for me and I don’t even notice it anymore with all the pieces put together. It’s lighter, brighter, feels bigger, brings in the light and outside view. I think I hit all of my “wants” and it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. My husband even said he likes the coziness of this bathroom now. I think it’s a win.

Decorating · Slipcovers

From Good to Better

I can definitely tell it’s January.   Once everything is neatly put away for the next ten to eleven months for Christmas, things are looking a little stark.  With this clean slate, you start to reimagine a space and want to fill it with something new.  Everyone is thinking about refreshing, renewing and (applaud)…repurposing.

Before Christmas I picked up this beautiful and comfortable second-hand chair from a client that she found for a steal. It could definitely slide into any decor with its creamy solid fabric that was still in excellent condition with very little wear or soiling.   But sometimes you just want a little more. That’s where I come in.   Emily didn’t have to think too hard about what fabric she wanted.  She had already used this “Fawn” printed fabric from Hobby Lobby on some dinette chairs seat cushions.

It washes beautifully with very few wrinkles so if need be, she can remove it, wash it and slip it back on.  The print and color fit perfectly into her beautiful neutral color scheme that is throughout the main level of her home.

This chair had a couple of questionable design elements to consider, the large scrolled arms and the attached back cushion.  My client wanted to keep the casual look of the arms so I created a slipcover with tucks around the arm curve and with the help of self-cording, followed the flow of the side.

The other challenge was what to do with the attached back. I had two options. 1. Detach the pillow case, leaving a fabric hole in the back, though it would be covered with the slipcover.  2.  After removing the pillow case with stuffing (did you know that there is a zipper on the bottom?), flatten the case and tuck into the back.   I decided to start with the second option to see if that would work so if she ever wanted to back to the original fabric, she could easily do it.  And it did.

Finishing the chair with a corded bottom really leaves the chair looking like it’s been reupholstered but with the flexibility for change and cleaning.

When I brought the chair back to Emily’s house this week, she had a space all ready for it where the Christmas tree had been.  Once placed it was like it was always meant to be there and gave the corner of the room a subtle punch of personality.  The nice thing is that she could still slide this chair into any corner of her house and it would look great and fit right in with her design.img_0601

Do you have a piece that you have been putting off updating? If you are wondering if it is a good candidate for a slipcover, I would be happy to help you decide.

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Slipcovers

Rethinking Pink

This little project was a true repurposing endeavor. Jane had an heirloom antique chair that she wanted to use for her daughter’s desk. Instead of purchasing new fabric and starting from scratch, she decided to reuse what she already had.  Normally I would get measurements and then quote a yardage amount of fabric needed for a project.  This time around, though, I was given a duvet cover and one window valance to work with.   I was tasked with making a slipcover for the chair and  a two-sided bed skirt to dress up the twin bed, originally the mom’s, to hide the trundle mattress underneath.

The first thing I did was to deconstruct the duvet and pillow sham into pieces that I could use.   I ripped and cut seams to provide me with pink fabric panels, stripe fabric strips, and floral pieces to create something new.

The Chair     Since the chair was wood, I knew slippage would be an issue.  My solution was to put a 1” foam seat cushion covered with muslin and stapled to underneath the chair. 

 It instantly provided a soft landing and one that would “stick” to the slipcover.  It also didn’t mess with the integrity of the chair and the beautiful cane seat. 

I also knew that the light weight pink cotton fabric would be see through.  A simple lining would not only help with the transparency but would give more body to the fabric. 

Cording made from the floral fabric  outlined the chair and set off the stripe banded bottom of the corner pleated floor length skirt.  A big floral bow and a small accent pillow made from scraps and finished off with a button from the valance,  finishes off this sweet chair.

The Bed Skirt     I still had plenty of pink fabric left to make the bed skirt for the twin bed.  Since the bed would always be up against the wall, it was only necessary to make a side and bottom skirt.  We decided on a gathered pink skirt with floral banded bottom again to give it some weight, definition and interest.  

  A simple banded top with loop Velcro attached would be simple to put on once they stapled the hook portion of the Velcro to inside of the bed frame. Easy on, easy off! 

After all these years of sewing, I can’t believe I only now discovered, or rather took the time to learn, a new method of gathering.  Gathers are a must for certain looks but I tend to shy away from them due to my aggravation in the construction.  In the “old” way, I would sew two seams close to each other within the seam allowance and down the length of the piece I wanted to gather.  I would then pull the 2 thread ends together, but inevitably a thread would break and I would have strings everywhere from fraying as I pulled.  After a lot of aggravation, I would eventually finish. I tend to avoid them all together.  But I discovered such a simple method!! I simply took some thin cord (like cotton crochet thread, roman shade string, floss), zig zagged over it being careful not to catch the cord.  That’s it.  You just pull the cord and it gathers beautifully! You can also buy a gathering band but I couldn’t get to the store in time to get that.

I guess you are never to old to learn a new trick.  That’s what I love about what I am doing. I am challenging myself to learn new methods of doing things I had done for years and to learn new skills in slipcovering and light upholstery. Next challenge is perfecting the illusive “invisible” zipper.

Until then,

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Slipcovers

Furniture Floral Arrangement

This sturdy little side chair came to me in desperate need of a new dress.  Originally an upholstered chair, it sported a very worn and ill-fitted, possibly shrunk, slipcover.

My client had already purchased and prewashed the heavy weight and large floral printed fabric, so when I got the chair and fabric, it was ready to go.  I wanted to pay special attention to the layout of the floral placements on the arms, front back, seat and back so that that overall very wild floral print would be tamed a bit and settle on a spot. I had limited fabric to work with and when all was said and done, literally had scraps left.

The original slipcover had a side zipper however, due to the shape of the chair I suspected it wouldn’t be needed for easy removal with the proper “tuck-in” fabric allowances in the inner corners.  I always like to try to get away with not installing a zipper if possible.  I think it adds to the overall “upholstered” look of the slipcover.

A simple corded trim on the bottom of the chair finishes it off.

I actually took this chair project to my lake house to work on since I was planning on being there for over a week. 

I was impressed with how this fabric selection fit so well into my decor and provided just the right pop of print and color no matter where I put it, in front of a black table, red door or my robin’s egg hutch. I love it and so did my client!

It’s been a busy summer of client projects, new granddaughter, trips, lake visits, festivals, and home projects. Now that fall is here my attention turns to fall decorating, rearranging furniture (again!…as my husband rolls his eyes and patiently goes along with my ideas), and smaller client projects all while anxiously waiting on the arrival of my fourth grandchild…but the first from my son!  Stay tuned for a blogging catch up!

Happy Fall Y’all!

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family · Slipcovers

Grown-up Rocker

Your baby is all grown up or at least out of the cuddling and rocking phase.   You’ve had  the sweet pink (or blue) upholstered swivel rocker that gently glided your little one to sleep for a few years.  It screams baby’s room but maybe it is now whispering “guest room”.IMG_3197

This rocker is a solid, well-built piece of furniture with probably a lot of sweet memories attached to it.  Wouldn’t it be nice to save that piece of furniture to keep and pass down for someone you love someday? By repurposing it to another room and with a new slipcover you can completely reinvent the rocker into a functional yet comfortable side chair for a guest room.  Jen moved her pink chair to a basement guest room with modern gray and navy theme.

We chose a denim-like 100% cotton geometric printed fabric from Hobby Lobby in the Property Brother’s line and outlined it in a gray linen piping.  I prewashed it to remove any shrink, just in case it ever needed to be washed.

A while back I recovered another glider similar to this for my daughter in a white bull denim cotton to put in the nursery for their newest arrival.  Here it is in the new room, new house, with my new granddaughter, Charlotte Anne.   Happy gliding!img_6065

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Decorating · Lakehouse

Master Mini Makeover

It’s been almost a year since I updated the basement master bathroom (see Bathroom Rejuvenation     to refresh your memory). I typically put home projects on hold during the summer and get busy during the winter months on house projects.   One of my projects this past winter was to redo the basement master bedroom attached to that master bathroom. 

I started by repainting the cool blue walls. Instead of starting from scratch on what color to use, I  considered the colors that I already had in the house.  I decided on a warmer “Hot Springs” which was also a color used in the upstairs Master bathroom.

 The color goes well with the basement bathroom and blends well when looking into the room from the basement living area next to it.  This paint color also pulled out the colors in a some of the pictures that were in the room.

Once that was decided, I focused onto the bed. I found coral colored sheets that matched perfectly with the lake picture, my initial inspiration for this room.  Though just a picture, it really reminds me of Smith Mountain Lake.img_0044

 With that I went shopping for other inspirational elements. I found two pillows that I fell in love with for their texture and design at Homegoods.

For bedding, I wanted something washable, non-bulky, and neutral in color.   I got a steal of a deal on this quilted coverlet (under $15!).  Threw on a matching linen bed skirt and shams.

To add some luxury and height to the bedscape I opted for a couple of Euro pillows. Euro’s are a big square pillow usually 26×26 or 28×28 that you anchor in the back of your bed next to your headboard or in front of your sleeping pillows.  I found this fabulous textured velvet creamy fabric on a remnant table at The Fabric Place Basement in Alexandria.  At the time I didn’t know what I was going to use it for, but I knew I had to have it.

They were perfect for my new pillows with the right body, texture and color to lighten the bed. You can find inserts for Euros at most stores that sell home goods probably cheaper than buying the actual inserts.  These happened to be down filled Tommy Hilfiger’s and cost the same if I were to buy only the inserts.  So it was like getting two sets of pillows for one price!

I made a bleached drop-cloth slipcover for this Ethan Allen chaise chair and ottoman (to see the before picture on this see New Love for an Old Chair).  It had to be washable. I wanted it to be fresh looking and comfortable.  I love my “LOVE” pillow and it pulls in the dark blue accents from my bed pillows.  

The windows were already were covered with white faux wood blinds but they needed to be softened a bit.  Initially I thought about cornices but decided the room needed something with softer lines. 

I again wanted something neutral just in case I wanted to change things up later on, cuz that’s what I do. This was the perfect place to try the roman shades from cheap mini blinds Pinterest project.  I have to say they worked out pretty good and were a quick fix.  The tone on tone khaki stripe fabric was found at The Fabric Place Basement for five dollars a yard! I love a good deal, especially on fabric.  

The lamps were replaced with something a bit more sleek and modern. I just love the pull chains to make it easier to turn on and off from the bed rather than fiddling around to find a little knob.

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I’ve had these unimpressive, flea market find nightstands for about ten years. They were just begging for a makeover.  So I painted them with Lowes cabinet paint.

I taped off the parquet border on the original drawers, and updated the pulls.  I added a couple of books, plants, pictures and other knick knacks.  Perfect. What a difference a little paint makes.

With the neutral bed and neutral colored Berber carpet, the room still needed a colored rug to anchor the bed and set it off.  I found these southwestern inspired runners at Target.  Instead of anchoring one larger rug at the foot of the bed, I opted for a runner on each side of the bed.  img_0008

It  had all of the colors in the room and just what was needed to pull it all together.

Of course I have a crib stashed in the walk-in closet ready to roll out for my new grand babies on the way.  Yep. I said babies…plural.  My daughter is having a girl in July and my son and his wife will welcome their first in October!  OVER THE MOON!

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Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

White after Labor Day

At some point in your life you probably have acquired a piece or two of furniture from your parents. A piece that was well used, familiar, and probably a little shabby looking (and not in a “shabby chic” sort of way).  However, chances are the furniture was not the right color or look for your décor.  As long as the furniture is comfortable and fits well into your space, there is no reason not to update it to fit your design style.  Enter slipcovers.

 

Louisa had acquired two pieces from her parents, a solid, tight-back dark rose-colored loveseat full of worn spots, snagged and fraying fabric, but oh so comfortable.  She also had acquired a Lazyboy swivel rocker that was in great condition except for the fact that it was blue and looked a little dated. 

Secretly it’s everyone’s dream to have a space of their own to retreat to. Whether you call it a man-cave or she-shed., it’s a brilliant concept.  Louisa has a loft in her apartment that she was converting to her she-shed.  She was envisioning a clean crisp look and modern sophistication with a little frill and fun.

Since her floor plan was a two-story loft style, it was important she chose a fabric that would blend well with the rest of the apartments modern clean lines.  It also needed to be heavy enough to cover the darker textured loveseat fabric.  She decided on a 12 oz. white preshrunk 100% cotton bull denim. 

The loveseat would be pretty straightforward taking into consideration the big rolled tight back and scrolled arms.   Before, the loveseat seemed heavy, big and oversized.  After, with the custom-fitted slipcover, it looks light, fresh and not so overwhelming.

 

The swivel rocker had an attached pillow back that needed to be addressed.  I decided to create a underslip to redesign the lines of the chair that would be easier to create a slipcover but still keep the look of a pillow back.  It worked well and will stay in place when you sit and rock on the chair.

 

  Louisa had two requests for the rocker, a box pleated skirt and button back.  I nailed the current skirt onto the bottom on the chair so it would not interfere with the new flirty skirt that gave the rocker a bit of a flare. Large white buttons for the back closure of the chair is not only functional but gave it the rocker  an interesting focal point so when she swivels around, the chair will look great from any direction.

 

White or off white is a popular and smart option for slipcovers.  It is basically a blank canvas that you can update with throws and pillows with the change in color trends, seasons or your mood.  If choosing white makes you nervous, think of it like your favorite pair of white jeans. Care of the slipcover is pretty much the same.  If you follow the washing instructions and treat stains or spills accordingly you will have white slipcovers for years to come that will only soften with each washing but gain character…just like your favorite pair of white jeans…even after Labor Day.   

 

Labor Day is around the corner, but it is not too early to think about the holidays (some store’s already have Halloween and some Christmas decor out)!   If you are looking to update an old piece and want to have it ready for the holidays, now is the time to start the process to allow plenty of time to find the right fabric and work out the design details.  I am currently taking orders for October.

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