Clutter is a problem. It's my problem and it's probably yours too...just guessin'!
In fact, clutter is main cause of Decorating Fails. I've been sharing with you the simple decorating mistakes I see as I visit with clients in their homes: #1 is poor lighting choices, and #2 is furniture scale and placement. Go check those posts out if you missed 'em. It was fun to tackle those two together, wasn't it?
Now, Decorating Mistake #3 is this: Too durn many cluttery decor items...which pretty much defeats any decorating scheme you're aiming for.
There are three solutions for cluttery knick-knacks and collections.
1. Remove them. Have a garage sale or call a dump truck.
2. Store them.
3. Arrange them.
I'm going to focus on arranging "cluttery decor" today because it's so much more fun than the first two, which we all know we need to do anyway. And sometimes, when I start arranging things into a pretty display, it helps me "remove or store" the other clutter joyfully because I'm so jazzed about how the room looks!
One of my favorite tricks is to give tchochskys an anchor.
An anchor can be a piece of fabric, a tray, a plate, a basket, a large book..anything that pulls a bunch of different items into ONE cohesive arrangement.
Below is my coffee table. I've used a simple runner as my anchor to 8 items. Without the anchor, it would look like I threw a bunch of things on it without any forethought. The runner brings everything together and gives me a perameter for my arrangement. I won't set a random knick-knack on there now because it won't "fit" the grouping.
Here, I've used a woven placemat to anchor a vase and lamp. The color and texture "warms" the black side table and glass vase, and makes them work with the rest of the room.
In the photo below, I've used a vintage tablecloth to anchor well, pretty much anything I decide to put on my table. It is a FIGHT to keep junk (mail, purses, keys) off of it, but because I've gone to the trouble to arrange three items from my kitchen, it is worth the effort.
I grabbed a little metal bread plate to put under the loose coffee and creamer in my kitchen. Without the plate, those two things were always running away....now they look like ONE object instead of two, making my counter FEEL less cluttered, even though I actually added an item. It's like magic.
A serving tray works great! A grouping of three things at various heights is perfect.
I love baskets, and use them wherever I can. Wire baskets are my current fave and this one holds some things from my daughters' weddings.
A chicken-wire basket holds several of my paintings in my office. It takes the "messy" out of it and makes it look charming. I've even got an anchor for my anchor: a weathered piece of wood gives it a little more "weight."
Are you getting the idea?
Today's Small Thing is to PLAY with your decorative items that just look cluttery right now....and make an arrangement using an anchor.
This is fun! Move some items to another room (or closet) so can think straight. Now, make an arrangement with what's left by adding an anchor or container. Shop your house to find things with different heights, shapes and textures and see what works together. Stand with your hands on your hips and eyes slightly squinted as you consider the possibilities. Cock your head to one side and purse your lips. Yes, your arrangement is truly INSPIRED.
POINTS: 50 for getting to play with pretties! Your sanctuary should be a reflection of YOU - your things and your interests. Use "just enough" of them at a time so you can truly enjoy seeing them.
I'd love to see pics of your anchored arrangements! You can email them to me (rachelanne @ homesanctuary(dot)com) if you'd like. And leave a comment....are you inspired to take your cluttery decor to a new level? What are you playing with today?
Last week, I shared the #1 mistake people make when home decorating. Do you remember what it was? It was a great opportunity to assess my own lighting situation, and I found that changing out a couple of lightbulbs made me feel like I was living in HGTV. It was magical.
Today, I share the second mistake I see over and over again as I visit real people's homes in my job as an artist:
Incorrect scale and placement of furniture (and decor.)
Often, in the erroneous notion that "we don't want to make the room look smaller," people will line their seating arrangements along the walls. Yes, you might have a nice open floor space for wrestling, but it can make for awkward conversations when everyone is seated at odd angles and with too much distance in between them.
Instead, think: Conversational Style and Balance. Group seating in "conversational" arrangements. Don't face all the seating toward the TV set. (Sorry, men!) Imagine how a fancy hotel lobby has groups of chairs facing each other, with tables within reach to set drinks and lamps on. They want you to linger and talk! Hey, what a novel idea! Home should have the same effect, only moreso.
I love this HGTV article and slideshow because it has some great tips!
When it comes to scale, most of us use things that are too small in scale for decorating and furnishing. Antiques are almost always "too" dainty looking for today's decor styles, and need to be used judiciously when combined with current pieces. Using a few pieces that are "oversized," like a large armoire, a big coffee table, and generous lamps make a room look expansive and luxurious, rather than cluttered with a lot of little things.
I believe furniture pieces should be similar in scale, i.e. don't pair a huge overstuffed leather couch next to a dainty antique chair. Pull the tiny chair into another arrangement and use a chunky side chair, maybe with with ottoman, instead. This will give the room a more cohesive look and again, aids that "conversational" appeal.
Today's Small Thing is to look at the furniture arrangement in your living room.
No, you don't have to REARRANGE furniture today, unless you want to and have a strong enough back. (Sit down, Anna Marie! You've got a pinched nerve, so don't attempt it!) Simply consider your options and make a plan - that is all for today!
Then, just as soon as you can, grab an extra set of muscles and get to work. Create a conversation area by pulling chairs and sofas into a group, rather than lining the walls with them. If your room is large enough, a diagonal arrangement of your main pieces might be a fun change. Balance the room by making sure that not all the "heavy" or dark pieces are on one side, and remove the small, cluttery things that detract from a "sanctuary" feel. Shop the other rooms of your house for lamps, pillows and accessories....and you may find that you have a whole "new" living room without spending a dime!
When you look at your living room, what rearrangements can you make that will make it feel conversational and balanced?
OK, OK! Bonus Points: 40 for moving a few things around. PLAY! Move a lamp, bring in a new pillow, retire those dusty silk flowers. Take a picture of your room and look at the photo with a critical eye....you'll see things differently that way! (80 points possible today!)
Next week - I share Decorating Mistake #3!
Earlier this week, I designed and painted a vent hood for a client, who was unhappy with the previous homeowner's mural:
Before - it was a Tuscan scene that did not fit the new homeowner's style.
After - a soft faux finish with a scrolly design
Projects like these seem like they would be simple, but this one was a challenge. To accomplish it, I had to make custom patterns to fit the spaces, then transfer them onto paper at the right scale. I used a projector to do that part. Then came the tedious part of transfering the pattern onto the surface, using transfer paper beneath the pattern and tracing each line. Finally, filling in with paint so that it looked soft and painterly was the last step. It was a two day project, not including time in the studio to prepare everything. Phew!
I love how it turned out and the homeowner was very pleased with the final look! The kitchen's style was transformed from "cute" to "elegant" with this design change, and it was very gratifying. This is why I love my job!
Soooo, I've gotten behind on a bunch of things this week. The cold/flu bug that got to me last week has hung around, and although I've functioned through my work days, I've collapsed into bed each night around 8 pm and not gotten anything else done. Emails, art orders, Post Office, Thanksgiving menu, laundry....have all fallen by the wayside. This weekend, I will try to catch up on what I can, so that by Monday I hope to be feeling *ready* for the holidays.
Today's Small Thing is to join me in playing catch up. Don't make a daunting list of everything you've put off all year, but simply get to those few things that are most important. Resist adding NEW things to your To Do list, instead peck away at those items that keep lingering from one list to another....never really going away.
What ONE thing will you catch up on today? What else can you catch up on this weekend? How will it feel to finally cross it off your list?
Now, let's have some Company Girl Coffee. Feel free to link up with a new post or even an old favorite of yours. It's a great way to meet new bloggers and "catch up" with what's happening around the blogosphere.
On Friday, it was Day Three of the Jungle Themed bathroom. It was a lot more enjoyable than the previous two, (Day 1 and Day 2) because I got to start adding the fun stuff. Finally, Mr. Flamingo made his appearance.
Once I had the flamingo in place, I had to beef up the greenery around his legs....and fix a problem with the palm leaf that is behind him. (You can compare it to Friday's Post if you want.) I had painted it a darker green, which made it appear to be right underneath him, like he was sitting on it. Ooh, not cool. By re-painting it the light background leaf color (the underpainting color) the leaf "receded" to the background and now helps to connect him to the foliage below. Crisis avoided.
Next came the frog. We were going to do a lizard, but I found some great reference material for a pink frog and decided to do him instead. I added some more random leaves and shadows around him and I think he looks pretty cute!
For a frog.
Next came a parrot near the sinks. Fortunately, the shower curtain fabric has some great parrots on it and it was easy to copy one onto the wall. This is the first wall you notice when you enter the bathroom, so we wanted to put something colorful and pretty on it.
Parrots always seem a little shifty to me...maybe it's their eyeballs.
On the palm tree, I added a couple of hibiscus flowers and filled in the shadows under the foliage to give it some weight. Today I will attempt to put a monkey and some coconuts in the top of the tree, and another monkey above the froggy, on the hanging vine. Pray for me....I'm gonna need it!
Today's Small Thing is to manage the "jungle" in your house....the flora and fauna that decorate the inside and outside of your home.
Do your plants need watering? Why, do that today! How about some fertilizing or cutting back of gangley stems? I sure do need to deadhead the rosebushes out front....how about you? Use this as an excuse to get caught up on your houseplant/landscaping duties.
It's a jungle out there....make yours look beautiful today.
Song of the Day: The Bare Necessities, The Jungle Book
I had hoped to post photos earlier today, but I got into a groove working on my office and I didn't want to stop down. Now I'm pooped. But as promised, here is what it has looked like during the transformation. *Disclaimer - all photos are from my phone, so....that explains the (lack of) quality. I plan to do a "real" photo shoot when I'm completely done.
Okie Dokie. First, let me say that this space is a small loft area that overlooks our "real" office downstairs. It is oddly shaped (Kind of a "U") and has zero storage. But it's MINE, and I love it.
It started out with the walls painted a bold green. I enjoyed the color quite a bit for a couple of years, but found myself yearning for a really clean, simple palette. Art is so messy and cluttered as it is, so I opted to go for a big change. The week before Christmas, I decided to tear into it, why not?? Gooda time as any, right?
I want something feminine and vintage, but just a little bit industrial - not cluttered. Hmmm. Is that asking too much?
Here is my office "Before."
After much debate, second-guessing and going back and forth, I landed on Sherwin Williams Rice Grain for the walls. I'm still not sure how I feel about the green/gray undertone, but it's done and I'm not repainting. It works fine. But maybe I should have gone with something warmer. But then again....OY!
Oh, what a mess! But starting to feel nice and light!
I put everything back together and "shopped" my house for the little club chairs (garage sale find: 25.00 for the pair). That old brown dresser, which was given to us when we were newlyweds and we hated it even then, has stored craft supplies for years.....but boy, was it tired-looking. Again, a debate about what color to paint it. Good grief.
So here is where I started today: priming and painting the dresser Antique White. I've already painted the bookcase and a small dresser in that color and decide I want everything to blend together. Clean, Rachel, CLEAN. You can do it.
OK, don't know why my phone cam turned everything so golden, but here is pretty much where I'm at right now! I love the paint job on the dresser - now I just need 16 pulls. I'm so cheap, I don't want to spend any money on cute hardware for my 28+ year old FREE dresser. On second thought, I saw some darling ones yesterday at JoAnn Fabric.....wait, did I say that piece was FREE 28 years ago?? Maybe I'll splurge.
The little corner at the top of the stairs got the small painted dresser.
I bought three sections of an old picket fence at a garage sale (15.00) to use at our daughter's wedding in November. One section fits just right under the low wall that overlooks downstairs and helps balance all the furniture lined up on the opposite wall. Love this.
Here is my work table. I have storage issues, but for now a pre-primed piece of wainscot from Home Depot is hiding the boxes stacked underneath. The lights are work lamps from Home Depot for about 11.00 each. I took off the clamps and hung them with small clips. Oooooh, me happy. I'll deal with the visible cords another day.
I started working on the shelves. I'm sure that someday they will have nothing but art supplies in containers on them, but at least for now I can enjoy a few pretties set out.
I'm creating a little window seat nook!! Anyone know how to make a cushion?
The curtain panels were 4.99/pair from IKEA, and I tied them with a bit of burlap ribbon.
I spent the rest of the day cleaning out drawers and organizing them so I can find my art supplies when I need them. I put together the white IKEA storage boxes for the bookshelves, and tried to deal with the boxes that are stored under my work table. I made a huge mess in the hallway with all the junk I hauled out of there - again. Where does all this stuff come from, pray tell?
So, you ask, what's left to do?
1. Prime and paint the old, dark woodwork - blech. I think it will look amazingly fresh when I get that done. Will probably paint the door to the walk-through bathroom black, someday.
2. Install new hardware on dresser.
3. Reupholster or slipcover the garage sale club chairs. How I wish I could sew....
4. Find a small round ottman or table for my tiny seating area. Maybe.
5. Trade out woven baskets on shelves for old metal locker baskets. Need that touch of "vintage industrial." EBay, here I come.
6. Would love to trade out the black basket storage to the right of the long dresser for a galvanized metal rolling storage piece. I've actually never seen what it is that I want...but think it would be cool.
7. I've got my eye on a lamp with a mercury glass base at Marshall's - I NEED it so I can return the one I stole from a bedroom to set on the painted dresser. I think it would be perfect!
8. GET BUSY CREATING ART!!
Pretty soon I'll have no excuse not to get cranking.
"Vintage Feminine Industrial?" Maybe that's what I'm going for. Tell me what you think about my progress so far. I'm open to ideas and suggestions!!
The other day, I made a cute chalkboard out of an ugly, outdated wall print.
I like it so much that I moved it to the kitchen to display a memory verse:
Even though this was a super easy makeover that I (actually) finished, many makeover projects are even easier than this. It's just that I forget to see those projects as "makeovers." If I did, they'd take on a whole new excitement!
Today's Small Thing is to perform makeover magic of your own. No paint required. All you need is a "before" and "after" to enjoy the results. Examples:
See, makeovers aren't just for lucky people on HGTV! You can create your own makeover magic without spending one dime.
What kind of makeover can you do today? Can you get your kids to do a makeover by letting them take "before" and "after" photos of say, their rooms? (Tricky, huh?)
Let's make this fun:
POINTS 30 per makeover, up to 8 - that's 240 points possible. Why not get the kids to help you earn your points! (This would make a great blog post for tomorrow's CG Coffee!)
Share your makeover ideas!
Song of the Day: Extreme Makeover Home Edition
Tonight, I sat down at the computer to prepare for tomorrow's Company Girl Friday. I got my post together, uploaded photos.......and then realized:
I was a day late.
TODAY was Friday. I'd missed it.
I am so sorry! I've been so wrapped up in getting this 50th anniversary together and finishing up all the details that I completely forgot what day it was. I really feel dumb. Argh!
Well, even though I made us all miss our coffee time together, I'll just go ahead and post the photos of my mural progress, as several of you have asked about it.
A hidden mouse in the bathroom, peeking out from behind the towels.
Three young ponies, eagerly looking out their stall door.
I added pink flowers, greenery and a basket of apples. I also scattered some random bricks around the "blank" areas on the walls. You can see a few to the left of the door.
The jumping horse and girl rider are pretty much done. I will add distant horses and details to the fence later....
If I don't forget what I'm supposed to do.
Thank you, kind friends, for your well wishes yesterday. I am feeling better after getting some medicine and some rest! Today, I thought you might like to see my progress on the equestrian themed bedroom (the one that is replacing Cinderella, sniff).
The bathroom will house the tack: a saddle, bridle, blanket, bucket and brush. For now, I only have the painted wood wainscot done, for a "stable" effect:
I have DREADED doing the horse. I literally pulled up to the house and sat in the car and said to myself, "this is going to be a disaster." Such winning self talk. However, using a muralist "trick of the trade," I projected the exact image I wanted onto the wall so I could get at least the SHAPE of it right.
I forgot to take photos prior to the beginning stages of shading. This guy's eye looked evil for the longest time and I struggled to fix it. Note the invisible rider.
Also, something about the saddle is bugging me. It looks like a honey bun, and that will never do. I'll fix it today....and will attempt the girl rider. Have I mentioned that I don't EVER paint people? Too much room for error: flowers and foliage are sooo much easier because no one can tell if you mess up!
And, not that you care, but I think you do...I share a photo of my hair progress. Ya'll encouraged me in this folly to grow it out, but I have to admit it feels a little flat. Beth Moore says every southern woman believes that "the higher the hair, the closer to God," and I've bought into that for so long it's hard to let it go.
I think I need vol-yum on top. Just to be closer to God.
Ladies, now it's YOUR turn! Link up for our weekly Company Girl Coffee by entering your blog (post) URL into the Linky Tool below. It's a simple and fun way to invite people to your blog, and get to know others by stopping in for visits.
I always encourage our non-blogging CG's to participate in the comments....there are so many of you and we'd love to get to know you better! If you're not sure what to say in a comment, how about a simple: "Hi, my name is _________, and I've been reading Home Sanctuary for __________ (days/months/years.)" Then just tell us one or two things about yourself. Even if you've commented before, feel free to join in...that way we can know more about you. Have a wonderful weekend!
Girls, we finally finished installing the huge art piece yesterday! Have a look at our project:
Here is the magnificent "W" hotel and luxury residences in downtown Dallas.
I won't bore you with photos of the hours and hours and hours of taping, applying the plaster, sanding, burnishing, buffing, applying stencils, buffing, waxing, buffing and waxing, then packaging and transporting to get to this:
Going Up! Thankfully we had a hydraulic lift to use!
Each of the 45 square panels was given a word in different language, stenciled in plaster, depicting a character trait of a Well Lived Life. Latin phrases were overlaid. My favorite one is translated: "Through difficulty, sweetness." I believe this phrase (above) says, "If you can read this, you're overeducated." No kidding, we had a little fun.
The chocolate brown plaster took almost two weeks to perfect, but Tom nailed the color to match Sherwin Williams "Black Bean."
The final look. The completed piece is 20 feet high by 10 feet wide. Each panel was given a beautiful label on the back, with the word and its translation, signed and numbered.
I must give my husband Tom complete credit for the work that went into this piece. I did very little of the actual artwork, outside of the original concept, researching and laying out stencils and otherwise being the helper-girl. He hand-made each one and created something really spectacular. You would not believe his tenacity to make this piece so incredible.
Our client is thrilled with the result, and we are so honored to have this piece finished in such a beautiful location. It really has been a work of the heart.
And now, for some rest!!