April 28, 2010

Home Roaming for A Good Cause

This past Saturday, April 24th, was the Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties' second annual "Home Roam" house tour.  We were honored to be featured as one of the seven homes in Hope Valley who opened their doors to over 250 people in the community for a great cause.  The event was a huge success this year, thanks to the help of many passionate ladies!  Here are a few fun pictures from the day. 

I have to say that the weeks leading up to the tour were only slightly terrifying (the most people I've ever hosted before in one day was maybe 20!), but it was really fun being able to interact with the tour-goers and answer questions about what we've done to the house.  I have to say, there were lots of accent wall fans!  Validation for the determination!  Hopefully we have some new blog readers as a result too.

April 24, 2010

Accent-uation by Determination

Remember when Mom used to tell you "If at first you don't succeed, try try again?" Well, we've found the need to remind ourselves of this on several occasions, particularly on projects around the house that always seem to be more involved than originally planned for.  Maybe this is why one of my favorite things about paint is how forgiving it is...

Exhibit A - Our Sunroom Before = BEIGE and BORING

We love this cheery little breezeway between our living room and master bedroom because it gets tons of natural light from the windows on either side.  But after two years in the house, we got bored by how neutral it was.  It was practically screaming for some attention.  So then it dawned on me. Ding ding ding!  This is a perfect accent wall opportunity!  

Take 1 -A Step in the Right Direction

We started by painting only the raised panels on the board and batten wall (Benjamin Moore Davenport Tan) thinking it would create a subtle striped effect with some interesting depth.  And sure enough, the end result was definitely striped, but something wasn't right.

Take 2 - Closer, but Not Complete

We almost gave up and contemplated returning to a solid neutral again, but decided to give it another go by layering in another accent color.  We thought a pale green (Sherwin Williams Liveable Green) might be fresh and fun so we painted the panels in between each stripe.  As promoted, it was a very nice "liveable" green, but still, something wasn't right.

Exhibit B - Sunroom After = COLORFUL and FUN

Third times a charm!  Though I didn't hate the green, it occurred to me that it might look better to pull in an accent color that we used in both the master bath and on the master bedroom ceiling to give the layered spaces some unity.  We also thought it'd tone down the contrast of the bright green and tan.  So my very patient and wonderful husband tried yet again - and painted over the green using a subtle blue gray color (Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray)... and we finally nailed it!! 

We LOVE the way these colors bring life to the room and draw your eye in.  With all the natural light, it's fun to watch the color change at different parts of the day.  Thanks to Bryson's dedication and with lots of reassuring from me that this would be the LAST time he had to paint the same wall, we achieved exactly what we set out to do.

Best of all, we learned a valuable new life lesson: if at first you aren't HAPPY, paint paint again!

April 19, 2010

Cheap Thrill of the Month

I love a good bargain.  And I am over the moon thrilled when I find one that is as perfect as this one.

I snagged this adorable little silver table with a mirrored top at Marshall's for $16.99.  That's right, $16 bucks!  And yes, that's right, Marshall's!  What a steal.  We have a teeny half bath on the first floor, and I knew instantly it would pick up the brushed silver tones in our mirror (Chantilly Vines Mirror from Anthropologie) and wall color (Sherwin Williams Intellectual Gray).  Doesn't it look adorable with some tissues next to the sink??

Worth every affordable penny.

April 18, 2010

Weekend Project - Cabinet Flair

I have been itching to give the backs of my glass cabinets a little face lift for some time now.  Something that would really make the white and green china pop and add a splash of fun to the otherwise mundane routine of putting away dishes.  I thought about painting them a different color, but decided I wanted a little more visual interest.  However, I also knew I didn't want something as fussy to install and as permanent as wallpaper.

Which is why I was very happy to have found this really unique Black and White Paisley paper.  Isn't it beautiful?  It's made in Nepal with fibers from the Lotka plant which means it more textured and durable, than regular paper, almost like wallpaper.  After measuring my cabinets I determined that I needed 6 of the 20" x 30" sheets at $4.95 a piece.  I also invested in some Super Tacky Double-Faced Tape, $4.95 for a six yard roll. 

When the supplies arrived, I was excited to dig in.  What makes this project super simple is that you really only need the paper, the tape, scissors, a tape measure, and your time.

Installation is easy too!  Simply measure, line the back with the double sided tape, and adhere.  Fortunately, only one of my cabinets was wider than the 30" sheet of paper which meant I had to match up the seams of the design side by side.  This was a little tricky, but with dishes stacked in front of it, the seam goes away.  For the others, I just layered pieces vertically on top of each other, making sure that those seams hid behind the shelves. 

When I was finished, I thought the edges could look more finished, so I went out and bought a roll of black grosgrain ribbon for $3.99 and lined the sides.  This covered up the imperfections and gave it a nice clean line. 

I put the dishes back in and presto - a whole new look for under $50 and less than 3 hours! 

I also love that I can easily switch it out if I get sick of it or just want a change of flair.  HAPPY!  Even Winston thought so...

Here are some other ways to add flair to unlikely and otherwise boring places using wallpaper or decorative papers.

China Cabinets


Even up the stairs!

And the same simple "pop" can be achieved using paint in unexpected places.


Kitchen Cabinets

Small Chests and Dressers

And there you have it - super simple and totally worth it.  Now, go out and give your home some flair!  And send me pics!

April 14, 2010

My New Brand ID!

I'm so excited to share with you the beautiful new brand ID for Lauren Powell Interiors, personally designed for me with care by my amazing and talented friend Maari Casey.

My new logo and brand mark - truly a work of art!

And my complete business stationary suite - could it BE any cuter?!

Thank you, Maari for creating something totally unique and very "me."  Make sure you all check out her logo, business card, and stationary design services at WowMom Marketing on Etsy.  WOW is right! 

I've got another great weekend project lined up for this weekend, so stay tuned!

April 6, 2010

"Art" Doesn't Have to Be Expensive to be Lovely

I've heard people tell me over and over that they are afraid to hang things on their walls because they:
a) don't love the art they have (I'm sure you have an inherited thing or two you'd rather throw out!)
b) don't want to create nail holes for something they only kinda like (understandable!) and
c) don't have the money to invest in fancy limited editions (not to worry!)

I think there is a lot of undue pressure surrounding the ol' hammer and nail routine.  It seems to have a sense of permanence.  Like once it's up, it's there for good.  Not true, my friends!  My theory - if it makes you happy, hang it.  If it doesn't, put it in the closet for a rainy day (you might be able to use the frame for something else one day).  And if it's up for a while and it stops making you happy, switch it up.  Worst case scenario - if you make a mistake, patching a wall with spackle and a little touch up paint is easy!  And, the alternative, having nothing on your walls... is downright BORING. 

Art doesn't have to be expensive either.  Don't sit around and wait until you find that PERFECT piece for over the mantel.  Rip out calendar pages with pretty artwork, your favorite passages from books you love, maps of places you've been, postcards, wrapping and decorative papers, collages, fabric swatches, newspaper articles, photos, you name it.  Commission a friend who's an artist to paint you something.  Whatever it is, throw a pretty mat around it, find a frame that you love - and get it up on the wall!

I found these adorable 4 inch square collages from Paper Violet Studio on Etsy for $8 a piece.  I fell in love with their little details and hand stitching.  I got the white wood gallery frames from Pottery Barn, hung them four in a row down a hallway, and voila! - instant one of a kind artwork that looks chic and was totally effortless.

 These vintage maps were from a 2008 Cavallini calendar.  I love this company.  They have tons of designs and themes, and each monthly page is a truly a work of art.  I liked the vintage feel of the maps, and I made sure to choose the places we'd visited - Italy, London, Australia, and Paris.  I got the frames from an art store, and ta-da! - a unique and easy framing montage to line the narrow walls on either end of the windows... and even better, a great reuse of paper I would have otherwise thrown away (good for gift wrapping small boxes too!).

 Did the same thing here with pages from a William Morris (one of the very first wallpaper designers!) calendar I got at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston several years ago (2010 edition is available now if you are interested).  Art museum gift shops are another great place to find frame-able things of beauty.  And places like Paper Source, The Paper Studio, and Paper Mojo sell gorgeous paper selections by the sheet that would look incredible in, say, an antique, distressed wood frame.

Bryson and I found these tiny postcards on a street corner in Ravello when honeymooning in the Amalfi Coast.  They are a series of sketches from the small towns we visited.  I still remember how beautiful it was the day we stumbled across the street vendor selling these. I truly adore looking at these postcards every day and being taken right back to that moment.  Paired with these bold matte black Oxide frames from CB2 - they look fresh and feel modern. Que bella!

After all, you have your whole life to collect one of a kind, expensive artwork.  And as you do, you can easily pepper it in with the other framed masterpieces you've created.  Mixing the expensive and the affordable, the fun and serious, and the modern and traditional makes an eclectic and unique statement.

So don't waste any more time.  Figure out what you want to frame, grab those hammer, nails, and measuring tape - and get on your way to easy, affordable wall art that is the perfect expression of wonderful YOU.  Your walls will thank you!  And send me your pictures!