A Primary Color House Tour

It’s one of those crisp and sunny mornings when it’s a joy to be alive and breathing. Waking up is easy to do when the smell of french toast coaxes you into the kitchen. The kids are already eating theirs when I grab my plate and pile on the whipped cream and drizzle syrup on top. It feels kind of like a morning out of a magazine, but maybe it’s just because today is special – Whitney’s mother has the day off from work and has offered to watch the kids while Whit and I take a mid-morning date.

Regular rush hour traffic has died down and the freeways are mostly clear of the usual congestion, making it easy to zip around looking for those large flags indicating that a model home tour is underway. Our first stop is a bust since the furnishings have already been moved out to get ready for the new homeowners that have recently purchased it. A quick U-turn puts us back on the road and it only takes about 20 minutes before we stumble on a Pardee sub-division.

We think up some creative way to get past the gate-keeper real estate agent but luck out when she doesn’t grill us about buying, but just simply invites us in to take a look. Don’t mind if we do.

The home opens up to a cozy living room right off the kitchen, with the dining room nearby.
model home tour
Bright colors keep the mood cheerful and inviting so we press forward.
ikat pillow
Whitney swoons over the ikat fabric on the pillows and the large bright blue bench while I check out the bedroom on the main floor.
striped curtains
The window is easily one of the coolest features of this room, especially with its bold stripes and electric blue rod.
striped curtains
By now we can see that the home’s running color theme seems to be based on reds, blues, and yellows, a refreshing scheme compared to the neutrals that blanket many model homes…and we want more.
wall tree painting
Upstairs we’re impressed by the nursery, and it’s decal tree at the foot of the crib.
tree mural
Seems like a clever way to hang framed photographs and we make a mental note that we should do something like this down the road.
red master bedroom
Down the hall we reach the master bedroom and while the colors are no surprise, it’s the bathroom that’s got us intrigued.
red wallpaper
It’s the sort of wallpaper that if we had seen on a roll, we’d have walked right past, but seeing it up is a completely different matter.  Maybe not right for our house, but you gotta give it up for the decorator choosing something like that. So bold. So vivid. So red.
bathroom wallpaper
Our minds are buzzing with different decorating ideas running through them, after all, there are still many rooms in our own house that will need to be completed in the future, and this will serve as some of the inspiration. Now it’s just up to us to narrow down which project will follow the beachy master bedroom and peacock kid’s bathroom. But we’ll leave the final decision up for another day, we’re just satisfied that today has been a success, and it’s only 11:30 am.

Do you like house tours? Then don’t miss our last one found here.

Room Redesign: Sisters Shared Bedroom

I occasionally get requests for help on decorating ideas – which is great since I have this horrible habit of making rooms over in my head, and this gives me license to vocalize my thoughts. Coming up with decorating ideas via internet is even better since I’ve got both Olioboard and Pinterest at my fingertips to flush out my ideas in mere seconds (okay, takes a bit longer than that…).
girl bedroom
My sister approached me with a design dilemma in her daughters’ bedroom. See, they recently had a cute (and very chubby) baby boy who is getting ready to move into a room all his own. That means her two girls will need to start sharing a space they will both love.

She’s made a good start with the traditional pinks that little girls enjoy, but with mix-matched furniture, and the need to accommodate a big sister, this room is ready for a change.

The Requirements
Designing a room rarely comes without some sort of budget or special request from the homeowner, and my sister is no different. She’s put up a budget of $500 to get this space ready, which means we’ll recommend using some of what she’s already purchased to make this room come together.
girl bedroom
Sheena wants it to be a fun and bright space, but preferring not to paint the walls or existing trim and doors. And she’s mentioned more than once that she isn’t too keen on using a bunk bed in a girls bedroom so we’ll have to look at other options for a sleeping space, without busting our budget.

Up for change, Sheena wants new window treatments, furniture, bedding, lighting and accessories.

The Challenges
At a total room space of 139” x 139”, we have a square room that’s dominated by a 3 foot x 3 foot low-to-the floor window on the west side with a large closet and entry door taking the majority of the space on the north side.
girls bedroom makeover
This limits the area for the beds (which take up the most space) to either the east or the south walls, which might get tricky depending on the beds we end up choosing and the layout for the rest of the room.
girls bedroom before

The Plan
Since the girls like their pink, we’ll be keeping some pink accents, but we’ll also be introducing  tangerine, brown, and a soft green to round out the scheme. Our mood board will help focus our colors and patterns to give an idea that will help direct her in decorating.
girls bedroom mood board
Because the bed will take up most of the space in this room, it’ll be our starting point. I’ve played around with ideas for putting the beds in a corner – similar to Ana White’s 2010 plans straddling the east and south walls with storage underneath, but the space required for the corner at the top of the bed puts it too close to the opening door on the north side.
corner beds
And with the room small enough, two side by side beds, while cute, would take up too much of the space, and might as well be one bed.
House Beautiful girl room
Given that those options won’t work comfortably in the room, I turned to a trundle bed – you know, the kind with a mattress that can be slid under the main bed.
trundle bed
This option takes less space leaving lots of room for the girls to play. To keep on budget, I recommend looking at something similar to Ikea’s Tromso pull-out bed and putting it beneath a higher bed frame. A long skirt on the main bed will easily hide the slide out bed when it’s tucked away.
tromso bed
The fabric selection will be inspired by those seen in the mood board ranging from whimsical birds in pinks and orange to polka dots, stripes, and chevron.  Redoing some of the existing furniture in bright oranges and pinks will help bring color into the room without having to paint the walls.
anthro pink drapes
Larger floor-to-ceiling drapes (similar to these from Anthropologie) will also bring in some much needed texture and color to the room, and the ruffles are very girly – so they are sure to be a hit. Of course, to keep within budget these might have to be created at home instead of purchased. Good thing I know Sheena owns a sewing machine…

It’s important for me to keep this room tailored to my nieces’ personalities and interests.  Both of them are budding artists so the frame collage you see on the mood board will be used to house their latest works of art, which can be rotated easily by clips we’ll be attaching to the wall inside the empty frame similar to these fantastic ones by Less Than Perfect Life (in our colors of course).

frame wall

I’d like to replace the existing dresser with a desk (the dresser will be moving to the closet) where they can draw and paint to their hearts content.  I love the finish on this desk and I think it would be a fun pop of color to brighten up that corner.
orange desk
Above the desk I’ve recommended hanging two or three bird cages from the ceiling corner to add height, interest, and more of that whimsy.  I’ve seen a few tutorials on Pinterest for creating scrap fabric birds, and I’ve decided they will be finding a home in the floating cages.  I think they will be very happy there.

fabric birds

Accessories will ultimately be determined by what can be found at thrift stores, garage sales, or her own house, with a few splurges here and there. It’s going to take some creativity and a bit of elbow grease, but I’m confident she can make this the room of the girl’s dreams…all within budget.

Upcycled Duvet Cover

It’s been a while since we last showed what the master bedroom used to look like with it’s “safe” look and uninteresting design, so here’s a reminder.
Since then, we’ve sold off the old furniture to make way for a pallet headboard, faux fireplace, refinished chairs, and pallet mirror. Now comes the fun stuff and I’ve been itching to introduce the rest of my color palate to the room.
Felicity Spa Fabric
The new colors will be light blues, greens, golds, and creams, mostly taken from the inspiration of the Felicity Spa fabric from Ballard Designs. The idea is a beachy feel with a touch of glam here and there.

The real trick to this whole project is that we are doing it on an extreme budget, meaning we’ll be using items we already have around, pick up on the cheap, or buy on discount. We originally started out at $50, but we’ve had to inch it more toward the $100 mark – still a great deal for this master makeover.
So far the projects we’ve done haven’t cost us more then some paint, nails, and a yard or two of fabric, so the fabric for this duvet has cost us more then the others for this room. I picked up a greenish-goldish faux suede fabric at my go to discount place- a whole 8 yards to make the duvet cover for about $30.

To pinch pennies, we decided to use the original duvet cover not only as a pattern for the new one, but for the backing as well. This would save me another 8 yards and help me re-purpose my existing duvet – not to mention it’d be on the bottom so no one will ever see it and it’s still in great condition.  My mother-in-law helped us with this project, which was really nice.
The first step was to unpick the original brown duvet cover. Then, using it as a pattern, we cut the length of fabric needed for the cover.
Because the fabric wasn’t long enough, the duvet will have two seams, one on either side of the main swath of fabric that will go down the middle of the bed.
When cutting fabric, it’s really important to make a straight cut, after all this is the line that will be sewn later on. Some fabrics let you make a small cut and then tear them, the tear will be straight down the fibers and ensure your cut is straight. This trick doesn’t work with all fabrics, but when it does, it saves a lot of headache.
We then sewed up the main pieces of the duvet. We opted to insert a 4” piece of fabric along the seams of the duvet so that it would cover more of the bed, but now that it’s done I’m not sure I love it, so do it if you want to, but I’ll not talk too much about it.
We then sewed the newly joined fabric pieces to the original brown duvet top completing the duvet cover.
Here’s what the duvet looks like in front of the headboard. We still have a long way to go making shams, pillows, and adding nightstands and lamps, but it’s one thing at a time.
What I like about this project was getting to convert an old duvet cover into a new one, saving me money and time sewing. It’s an easy way to bring a splash of color into a room that I can dress it up or down using the pillows – which hopefully will be coming soon. I’m ready for a finished bedroom already.

Update: We revealed the master bedroom and chatted it up about all the costs involved here. Check it out.

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