Archive | April 2013

The Evolution of a Living Room

After only eight months, the living room is now in its fourth configuration. The most recent arrangement looks so natural and feels just right, that I cannot believe it took so long to get it this way.

The floors were sanded and redone and a fresh coat of paint spruced up the bricks, ceiling and walls.

In configuration #1, the sofas were placed across from one another, adding to the symmetry of the room. The glass coffee table felt spacious and open, but was quickly replaced, to reduce the risk of concussion to the baby’s head. It also hides away a ton of toys, doing double-duty.

Configuration #1

Configuration #1.Configuration #1.

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Then, I threw in the blue found chairs.

Configuration #2.

Found chairs.

Found chairs.

Configuration #3.

As winter settled in, I wanted to draw up to the fireplace, so I changed the arrangement again. The sofas were in an L-shape, with the blue chairs under the windows. This felt cozy and friendly for fires and conversation. However, it cut off the room and made it feel small.

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Our living room is a “working room.” There is no family room nearby that gets all of the actual use. We use this living room for conversation, fires, fort-building, wine-drinking, reading and games. It gets a hard work-out.

Configuration #4.

Configuration #4.

In configuration #4, I have put the sofas back across from one another. Still keeping them close to the fireplace, I have placed the blue chairs directly across from it. This arrangement opens up the room, keeps the conversation area intact, and allows extra space for the traffic to flow easily through the room. The ottoman, which seemed overly large before, now fits perfectly, and is turned 90 degrees. It still holds a ton of toys.

Configuration #4.

Configuration #4.

A simple change like this can freshen a room. My room now feels summery and new; not just because I had to face-down all of the dog hair that was gathering life under the sofa. Rearranging the furniture is a quick pick-me-up for a tired room.

Better traffic flow.

Better traffic flow.

Give it a try! Push the sofas around, hang some art, and then send me pictures! Or better yet, invite me for coffee or wine, to admire the changes in person. Or, just let me know what you did in the comments section of this post. You will be surprised with the results, and you will not have to spend a dime.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2013.

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An Easy Spring Garden Wreath

I love wreaths. However, we have a sordid past and I am a little scarred as a result. It involves Martha Stewart + cranberries + 1 foam wreath form. I am a glutton for punishment, as I have attempted the Martha Stewart cranberry wreath 3 times, in my sordid wreath past. The first time was a gift for my mother-in-law and I came away, six hours later, with bloody fingers and cranberry stained hands. I did give her a gorgeous wreath that year, but all I could think was, “Damn that Martha Stewart!”

http://www.marthastewart.com/924286/how-make-cranberry-wreath

The second time I made two smaller cranberry wreaths. I stood back to admire my handiwork, as the wreath hanging on the left side of the twin doors I was decorating, came crashing down. The foam broke into a million pieces, scattering cranberries all over the porch. I cried and vowed to end my wreath-making career then and there.

A Square, Spring Garden Wreath.

A Square, Spring Garden Wreath.

So, wreaths and I are not on such great terms. But, I do love them so!

This wreath is easy. And Spring-like! It only took about an hour to make. I used fresh greenery, so it will not last forever. I love the square shape. Who says wreaths have to be round or oval?

A big bunch of greenery.

A big bunch of greenery.

Wire.

You can use floral wire.

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I cut greenery, from a completely overgrown bush in my backyard that had a small leaf that resembled boxwood.

Then, I wired together the stems, maintaining the square shape as I went along. I used enough stems to create a sturdy structure that would hold the square shape and used a stick across the top to keep it straight.

Wreath in process.

Wreath in process.

I cut a strip of leftover fabric that has a burlap-esque look to it, to hang it with. I did not have any burlap, which would have been ideal for the ribbon.

I love this piece of leftover fabric.

I love this piece of leftover fabric.

After a four-year hiatus from wreaths, I have decided to conquer this simple and elegant square-shaped wreath, and will enjoy it on my front door until it wilts, which will probably be tomorrow.

A Fresh Garden Wreath.

A Fresh Garden Wreath.

 Until then, Happy Spring!

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.

The Floor…. Reveal!

Never question the motives of a (mad) genius.

Not to say that I am a genius, or even a mad genius. However, if I had paused along the way to reflect and answer the question of why I was painting the floor, I would not be able to show you the following results.

The floor is glorious!

The Porch Floor, After.

The Porch Floor, After.

 

The Scary Porch, Before.

The Scary Porch, Before.

The truth is, I do not know why I was painting the floor. Perhaps just to see it done. Perhaps just to gain experience. Perhaps just so I could blog about it. Perhaps just because.

The Porch, After.

The Porch, After.

I am trying to remember how long that room has been torn up, how long my house has been in disarray, and I can’t. I am blinded by the beauty of the floor, and even dare to whisper out loud, “it was worth it.”

My $20 Thrift Store Chair.

My $20 Thrift Store Chair.

These are the specifics:

I used two colors of paint, Benjamin Moore’s Puritan Gray (HC-164) and Kendall Charcoal (HC-166), for the darker gray. I first applied two coats of the lighter gray as my base coat, marked and drew the lines in pencil, and then painted the darker gray on top.

The diamonds each measure 24 inches and the grid pattern is 6 inches around each diamond. I marked the grid first, and then marked each diamond inside, measuring from the center of each side. I drew the pattern to scale with paper to see how it would look.

Map of the floor.

Map of the floor.

It took approximately 12 hours total painting time to paint the pattern. You are probably shocked at this fact since I have been seemingly working on this for weeks.

The view into the dining room.

The view into the dining room.

The wall color is Benjamin Moore’s Skydive from the Color Stories collection, and the trim color is Benjamin Moore’s Steam. This is my go-to color for trim. The trim still needs one more coat of paint, and the windows need to be washed, but those are just details at this point. The painted floor adds drama to this space, and I am delighted with the results.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.

The Buddy System

Friends don’t let friends paint floors alone… EVER! My friend was up for a dose of “Crazy Design 101” and was on her way over to help. It only took  a near miracle to carve out several hours of free time during the day to paint. This miracle involved engaging two Grandmas, one science team expedition, one friend, and one neighbor in exchange for a few hours in a row to work on the house.

The porch with fresh paint.

The porch with fresh paint.

My son went with a team of scientists to count salamanders. The official title of this expedition was Log-Flippin’. One Grandma was with Prima and the other Grandma was with the baby. All children were accounted for and my buddy was on the way.

The porch.

The porch.

Instead of blogging, or doing laundry, or anything else around here, I have been busy with this room. It is painted. The trim still needs a final coat of paint, but it is mostly painted. Every crack in the walls and ceiling has been repaired. The base coat color on the floor is done. It was time to begin marking the lines for the pattern that was to go on the floor.

No this is not an eye exam.

No, this is not an eye exam.

Friend and I got charged up with coffee… (ok, that was just me who did that) and got to work. We sharpened our pencils and gathered every T-Square and measuring device for at least one square mile around here, plucked up our courage, and marked the lines. She kept stopping every now and then to say something helpful like, “Uh oh” and “Oh no” and “Do you think this is straight enough?” and I mostly nodded and said with more confidence than I actually felt, “It’s great! Let’s just keep on going and see how it turns out.”

This job was not meant for one person. In order to get the pattern straight, we had to line up the grid using an 8 foot-long board that appeared to be straight. We used knee pads and took regular breaks for a Yoga-stretch, and I am still sore!

Frog Tape was a problem.

Frog Tape was a problem.

We ran into a few snags along the way. The Frog Tape, best known for not letting the paint bleed under and creating straight lines, was pulling up the base coat. I had to switch over to free-hand painting. The Frog Tape would have worked well on a regular surface like drywall, but not for concrete.

One row is done!

One row is done!

The long-term plan for this space is to put down tile, with a radiant heat underneath, that will serve as the main source of heat in the room. Until then, the painted floor will look great and serve as a conversation piece for many geometry lessons to come.  The first lesson learned from “Crazy Design 101,” is you should always have a design buddy you can call in a pinch, and mine is coming over on Wednesday to help me finish.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.