Before and After, Decor, Home, My house

Black Window Trim

Are you ready to see my den go through a pretty update? Good. Me too. Reminder: we had a pretty new Suzani-covered ottoman, some painted thrift store dining chairs and a new credenza.

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But the windows? Not so pretty.

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I had considered some kind of window treatment and I never knew what to do so I hit Pinterest for some inspiration. All I needed was to search for “sunroom” to figure it out.

via Pinterest (anyone know the actual source?)

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via Spanish ELLE Decor black trim elle dec

That’s right, folks. We’re painting our gross dirty-looking white-washed window trim black. First, we started out by removing the screens and the crossbars and giving the windows a good scrub from the inside and outside. (I highly recommend an indoor assistant when you’re windexing outside!)

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(Gratuitous photo of Pablo’s guns.)

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I knew the cleaning would help but it was surprised by what a huge difference it made to take off the screen and crossbars so we immediately made a decision to keep the crossbars off after we were done. (The screens will stay off til next spring.) Before we get into the painting, I just wanted to review my favorite painting tools: HANDy Paint Pail with liners, and the Shortcut paintbrush. Just get ’em and thank me later.

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When I got home, I removed all of the window locks and taped off the cranks. The table in my den looked like this hot mess.

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And my grody white-washed windows looked like this.

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Next, I pulled the moulding around the windows off  which left this pretty sight.

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After a  thorough cleaning I was ready to paint. Even just the primer was a very welcome fix!

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In fact, I seriously considered just skipping the black and leaving it all crisp and white. (Doesn’t primer look great sometimes?)

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But I stayed on task and started to add my black paint.

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Another coat and I was ready to put the mouldings and locks back on. Ta da! I love the big impact it makes. What do you think?

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I also popped up to the attic and found an unused Jamie Young lamp that we’ve had for years. (I picked up the shade at Target on clearance for $11.) Pablo loves it and I think it really completes the room.

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And since we’re talking about the den, I thought I’d give you a little bit of an update on the TV placement. I had told you back in this post that it was going to be mounted on the wall above the piano or over the credenza but I pointed out that the wiring would make the credenza option tough. A few of you recommended switching the piano and credenza and though we had ruled that out for various reasons, we decided to give it a try one last time.  Try to visualize this TV on the wall instead of just sitting on the credenza. What do you think? I feel like the credenza looks a little wimpy in that space.

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And I’m not crazy about the piano under that opening either.

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But the bigger problem with this switch is the piano is a lot deeper than the credenza and it kinda wrecks the pass-through to the deck. Here’s a shot with the credenza in place and keep in mind that the piano is about 10 inches deeper so it really juts out into the room. So that rules out moving the piano over there.

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But how about hanging the TV above the credenza? Hmmm…that’s not so great either. If we hang the TV there, you’ll see the side of the hanging mechanism and arm when you walk into the room. Not pretty.

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So, we’re back to the drawing board with the TV. The plan is to hang it above the piano. If it’s there, we can see the TV without making it the focal point of the room. It’s not perfect, I know, but it’ll function. And I’m busy planning a gallery wall above the credenza. Hey, maybe I’ll actually tackle that mantle soon, too!

Just to keep it real folks, here’s what the room looked the other night while the girls zoned out to the TV and Pablo played the piano. I know I’ve got a great looking family but can we discuss that gorgeous black trim on the windows?

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Sue at Home

Decor, Home, My house

House Tour: The Man-ish Cave-ish Den

I have a secret. We have a room that I’ve kind of kept hidden from you.

Meet our den.

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Being that this is the room Pablo spends most of his time in, it’s the closest thing we have to have a man cave. Granted, it’s the most well lit man cave in history but still…it’s his. And it’s super hard to decorate! Why? Well, for starters he insists we leave the wood paneling in place. (Seeing some cool wood paneled rooms on Pinterest has shown me that it’s possible.) Plus it’s long and narrow and has a weird layout:  a sliding glass door at one end, a fireplace at the other end, a wall of windows along the back, and finally a wall with a doorway and a weird opening to the kitchen.

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The room was an addition that the previous owners built and it’s a full service space for us: a den for lots of TV watching, an “office” for Pablo (this is where his laptop lives), a music room (his piano and guitar hang out in here too), a casual dining area (though we eat most meals in the dining room, we do like to eat here at our Ikea Docksta sometimes), and now it’s become a storage space for me with the addition of a new credenza (which I’ll tell you about in a minute)…oh, and it’s our fireplace room, too!  And if that weren’t enough function for such a small space, it’s also the room that you walk through to get to our deck and backyard so we can’t pack it too full of furniture.

I’ve given you a couple peeks into the room before. Like, remember when I told you about the thrift shop chairs that I painted red?

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And you learned all about our Suzani-covered ottoman recently, too.

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But I haven’t revealed much else because…well, I’m still working on it. For a couple of years, it was seriously just the couch, piano, and TV in here. (Side note: Looking at this pic now, I see how badly that blue table in the back needs a lamp. With so many windows and recessed lighting, we just never needed the light but I think we just need the shape.)

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But I’m thrilled to say it’s finally coming together. Hey look, there’s something hanging on the wall (details in this post)! Lots more art should be coming soon. I promise.

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And the mantel is an embarrassment. That one frame is hung way too low. (I think I stuck it on the nail that was already there! Sad.) Or maybe it should just be propped up and not hung at all? Thoughts?

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Pablo has a nice view from his spot on the couch into the land of not-wood-paneled dining room and living room.

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We’re on the fence about the TV. Tell me: do we hang it on the wall above the piano? (Which is certainly convenient because the cable cord is over there.)

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Or does it go above the credenza where the tape marks are? (This was our preferred spot but after I realized it would be a cable cord nightmare, I’m pushing for above-the-piano.)

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Oh! And let’s talk about that purty credenza, shall we? It’s vintage but we had it refinished and painted white. I know some people think it’s sacrilegious to paint such a beautiful vintage piece but with wood walls and a wood floor, we didn’t need any more natural wood.  We got it from Forgotten Furniture. (They’ll deliver so check them out online here.) We also got the mid-century dresser in our bedroom and a new headboard for Sophia from them. Their prices are amazing.

I had been looking for a mid-century credenza for this space since we moved in 2 1/2 years ago. The problem wasn’t finding something I liked, it was finding something I liked and could afford. Nice vintage credenzas that I had seen were in the $900-$2000 range. Another option is this mid-centuryesque one from BDDW that sells for a whopping $11,800.  (Umm…I don’t think so.)  We actually got pretty close to getting the Dumont from West  Elm but I know with shipping, that $699 price would have blossomed so I’m glad we didn’t do it. This one came to us by luck. The sellers had something similar but they sold it so when we went to see them to get Sophia’s headboard (solid wood, Depression-era for $75!) I asked if they had anything else similar. Rich showed me a picture of this one on his phone (before it was painted and refinished) and told me he would sell it for $300 “as is” or $400 painted. We bought it on the spot, sight unseen! He delivered it to our house two days later looking as good as new and we were both thrilled. I’m now using it to store some of the “office paperwork” that used to live in the attic. (Remember, I don’t have an office or desk of any kind so my papers and office supplies are all over the place. A girl needs a place to put her washi tape!)

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But let’s be real, this room is far from done. There are still plenty of things wrong in here. Like this eyesore of an air conditioner that’s stuck into the wall. We rarely use it but don’t want to be left with a whole in the wall if we take it out. I’m thinking about sticking a big plant in front of it. Or building something to hide it, like this genius DIY.

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And then there’s this ugly tile that’s in the little windowsill into the kitchen. Ick.

den-047Oh, and I think worst of all is the whitewashed paint job on the window trim.  It just looks dirty and gross.

See?

den-041Now let’s talk about the serious lack of decorating. Poor Pablo gets stuck with my cast offs from other rooms, like this weird grouping. (I hate that little man but he’s been with Pablo for years so we’re stuck with him.)

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I don’t mind this vignette but it could use a little love. The coral is from Aruba so it holds a special place in our hearts. (Remember when Lily used it to make some art for her room?)

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And of course, he has to store all his man stuff in this room. Those weird things in the back are push-up paddles. (Ya know. Cause you can’t do a push up without a twisting paddle? Whatever. He looks hot so I shouldn’t sweat the technique.)

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And now here’s another little secret: I took these pictures a month ago and I’ve actually fixed one of the problems already. Reveal coming soon!

Hint. Hint. Consider this the “before” shot.

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For more den-spiration, follow my Mid-Century Man Cave Inspiration board on Pinterest.

XO

Sue at Home

P.S. It’s the time of year to start thinking about yummy pumpkin baked goodies so check out one of my favorite recipes ever. Click below to be taken to the deliciousness!

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Before and After, Decor, Home, My house

Suzani Ottoman Goodness

Meet our ottoman.

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It came to us at a price of zero dollars which is my favorite kind of price. (We were lucky enough to snatch it up when my parents moved on to bigger and better things.) But unfortunately, I wasn’t that into the washed red cotton skirted slipcover that came with it so it sat naked (slipcoverless) in our den for longer then I care to admit.

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I considered a million different options of how to cover it. A slipcover? DIY upholstery? Professional upholstery? And most importantly, what fabric?

Perhaps a suzani?

I had fallen in love with vintage suzani textiles ever since I stayed at the Colony Palms hotel in Palm Springs. “Delicious” designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard (of Million Dollar Decorators fame) plastered the hotel with suzanis–as headboards, in picture frames, as throw pillows and just draped all over everything. (Images via colonypalmshotel.com.)

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Pretty fabulous, right?

Then I spotted this image over a year ago on a blog and saved it on Pinterest with the text: “I’m thinking the mid-century man cave needs a little boho printed love. Maybe cover the ottoman in a Suzani?” (Just goes to show how long brewing a makeover can be!) Note: I pinned it from another site who used it without crediting it (booo!) so I just did a little Pin-research to find the original source. It was done by a writer named Kevin Austin from Style at Home. It was originally a coffee table!

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But the problem is that this crazy idea of mine was going to go into our den, a.k.a. The Mid Century Man Cave, a.k.a. Pablo’s room. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s generally very agreeable about all my design choices (see proof in I Have a Hot Pink Chair!), but this is “his” sanctuary and he wasn’t fully convinced about how the suzani would work with our Ikea black and white striped rug. Until we saw this:

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It’s the home of Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors featured in HGTV magazine. (I seem to be talking about Amber ALL the time lately, like here and here. Is this becoming a serious design crush? I would say so.)

Alas! This was the visual help I needed to convince Pablo but then came the next hurdle…how does one buy a suzani?

I considered lots of different sites and did a bunch of research and ended up finding a REALLY AFFORDABLE one on eBay. I snagged it for only $45 plus $30 shipping. (What? Do you have a cheaper shipping method from Uzbekistan? Yeah, I didn’t think so.) And considering that I looked at some that were well into the hundreds, I think $75 is a fair price to pay for something hand embroidered.

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Looks pretty similar to this one on Wisteria for $900, dontcha think? (It’s no longer available. Does that mean some moron actually bought it?)

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A few weeks later, we found this little bundle of joy on our doorstep.

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It was sewn closed and dotted with some kind of brown doody-looking substance that had hardened to seal it up.

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But inside it’s unique wrapping (and two protective layers of plastic bags), there it was in all it’s hand-sewn gloriousness.

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Look at the detail from the back. It’s stunning!

See that seam going across the upper left corner? That’s because several women in the family will stitch different sections and then they’re joined together later. Don’t worry. You can barely tell from the other side. (But ironically, you can see the seam in the $900 Wisteria one shown above!)

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But I was a little sad to see that if I centered the red medallion on the ottoman, I would lose all of that beautiful detail at the edges. So, I considered covering it off-center, like this pic below so I could get at least two of the edges on it. (I now know that was dumb and would have been sacrilegious to my beautiful suzani. Don’t worry. I saw the ere of my ways.) After considering a DIY (I mean, I even had out the staple gun and some scissors), I chickened out and decided to have a pro do it. And I am so glad I did.

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Garwood Interiors knew just what to do to center the medallion and preserve the edges of the suzani. Isn’t it a beaut? (And soooooooo much better than what me and my staple gun would have done!) And he only charged $150. I don’t really know if that’s a lot or a little for work like this but it felt totally worth it to me.

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And now she’s sitting in the man cave (the most well lit one in the world) with her new friend the vintage credenza (but that’s another happy story for another day).

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I like how the brown embroidery around the red medallion, ties into the brown couch that–until now–had nothing to do with anything else in there.

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I know I owe you a lot more pictures of the room. It’s one of the places that I’ve barely shared with you (aside from a peek during the blackout after Sandy when we were dancing in the dark and when we looked at my spray painted chairs) but I promise that some “in progress” pics are coming very soon.

Thanks to my parents (who are celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary today! Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!) for giving us the ottoman. And thanks to you for reading this way-too-long post!

XO

Sue at Home