Sunday, June 18, 2006

Front hall closet

Four down, one to go! That's how many closets in our condo my husband and I have redone with the wire Closet Maid closet organizers (that includes one pantry, one rather large walk-in, and our laundry room closet).

Last weekend, we did the front hall closet, which is pretty small but needs to store a lot of crap. I decided that rather than have the hanging rod go all the way across, I'd break it up for his/her coats, then put shelves down the middle for all the stuff we're constantly needing to reach, like scarves, mittens, sporting equiptment, etc. I got the nice canvas bins at Bed, Bath and Beyond (using a coupon, of course).

A rolling basket on the floor contains bike helmets and is flanked by two crates, for our blades and ice skates. Games are above the coats, and photos are on the higher shelf. I'm hoping to have room to store some old photo albums here, too.

I used up some leftover paint from my last condo, a nice dark sage green, which looks nice against the gold and contrasts with the white.

Ed is getting very good at installing this system. (We highly recommend the ShelfTrack system that attaches from the ceiling. It's much stronger.) Now all we have left is his closet!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Great minds...

So I've been giving my sister a little free decorating consulting, since she and her husband are fixing up their main floor of their four-bedroom house in the suburbs. This, after a amazing renovation of their basement last winter. They're getting new family room furniture, painting, and removing a breakfast bar and putting in an island in the kitchen.

While she and I spent a weekend in Florida, we talked about color schemes. Then she and her husband brainstormed and did some furniture shopping. These two are quick at making up their minds (unlike me) and even quicker at getting things done. So I shouldn't have been surprised when they already painted their family room a lovely shade of gold.

When I asked which shade they picked, it turned out to be Benjamin Moore's Dorset Gold (HC-8)--which coincidentally is the exact same shade on my living room, kitchen, and hallway walls. I'd post a photo of their great paint job, but she's a little more private about having her life on blogs for the whole world to see. Fair enough. But here's a photo of that gorgeous color on my walls. It looks great with our cabinets, furniture, exposed brick wall, and red accent walls. (BTW, that's cherry bounce in the cannister on the right.)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Flower power

The Fairfield side of Parkview Flats finally has something besides beer cans and old diapers to decorate its front lawn. Neighbor and fellow condo board member Leigh Ann (see her gorgeous cigar purses) and I decided this side of the building needed some sprucing up.

So we made a trip to Home Depot (not too many people there on a Sunday afternoon) to buy some flowers. Once there, we decided we needed something to encase our new flower beds. Boy, are those cement things heavy! Thanks to the help of our husbands and some other owners, we now have three beautiful circular flower beds full of impatiens and greenery in front of our building.

I'm not a big gardener (in fact, I have a hard time keeping houseplants alive, except for basil, which I seem to excel at growing on sunny windowsills), but I've had a sneaking suspicion that it's just home decorating for the outside. Aha! Someday when we move to a single-family home, maybe I'll get more into it. But for now I'm pretty proud of our little circular gardens.

Now we just have to pray that our, ahem, neighbors don't dig the plants up and steal them.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Trading Spaces $100 to $1,000 Makeovers"

I was an early fan of the TV show "Trading Spaces." I put up with annoying host Paige Davis because I loved seeing what two crazy designers and four amateurs could do with $1,000 in just two days. The tension of what the homeowners would think of their redesigned room would make even marathons of the show fly by. But, to be honest, I can't really say I got a lot of helpful decorating tips from the show.

Nor did I from this, the second Trading Spaces book, called $100 to $1,000 Makeovers: Maximize Your Decorating Dollars! (Meredith Books, 2004). The meat of the book is 14 redesigns from episodes on the show. There's Vern's earthy living room, Laurie's floral girl's room, and Edward's Buddha bedroom. Sprinkled throughout are sidebars galore, most with basic info that could easily be found elsewhere, such as different kind of light bulbs or types of wood floors.

The most interesting section of the book is the feature that describes how to redecorate a kitchen, living room, or bedroom with $100, $500, or $1,000, which can illustrate how to build on small changes at first until you can save for the larger ones.

But, except for that, this book is fun to flip through but not a good source of real ideas. And it's not just the wildest decorators (Hildi with a hideously boring living room and Doug, who thinks it's cool to create a bedroom that resembles a prison) whose ideas are off the wall. One craft project suggests making curtains out of a dress. I think I'll stick to House Beautiful.