Feb 25, 2011

5 things i've learned the hard way: #2

many thanks for the well-wishes!
i am feeling SO much better, and
am ready to reveal the rest of the
"things i've learned the hard way."
life is messy. 
plan accordingly.
(i find this picture completely and utterly hysterical.)
(huh? what did i just say?)
probably the three biggest culprits 
when it comes to messes.
but guess what?
with some careful planning and
forethought, you can still have
nice things, PLUS pets, kids,
husbands and FOOD.
here are my top three tricks
to help disguise and avert the dirt:
1. install wainscoting or bead board in
high traffic areas like halls and stairs.
after living in house #1 for just over 3 years, 
the walls in our stair well and main traffic areas
looked like a dozen chimpanzees had been
living there for a decade.

when we built house #2, i swore
that i was going to avert the little greasy
handprints, "accidental" crayon doodles, and
mysterious splashes of food that always seemed 
to plague our walls.
and so, we installed wainscoting in most rooms
 and bead board in the halls and stair wells.
we did the same thing 

in house #4 and house #5.

the walls still got greasy handprints, 
and "accidental" crayon doodles, but they always 
cleaned up beautifully. 
2. choose patterns, leather, and heavy woven fabrics (including velvet)for upholstery.
as a mom, i always try to imagine what a fabric will
look like after being sweated on, stomped on,
walked on, thrown across the room, spilled on
and used as a plate. cuz that's what's
GONNA happen to most fabrics, so you
might as well plan for it...
(via decorapad)
by choosing a fabric that will look great for
years to come(despite what horrors it may have to endure), 
you can protect the investment that you
make in your upholstered items.

3. when selecting tile and carpet,
always select one shade darker than
you "think" you want.
carpet, tile and other floorings can be tricky to select because you are usually looking at a tiny sample, right up close to your
face, but the final product can be hundreds of square feet...
and, well, at your FEET. 
the first time i made the mistake of selecting a carpet
was when we built our first house. i remember showing up just
as the carpet installers left, and declaring 
to my husband that they had put in the WRONG carpet.
i was SO sure they had installed a lighter color than
what i had selected, that i marched out to the car, 
grabbed my little 2" x 4" sample, threw it down on the newly
installed carpet, and.....it was a perfect match.
of course, it still looked great,
but it wasn't as dark and rich as i was picturing it would be.
my advice when selecting flooring:
1. always ask for a bigger sample.
many  companies will order large carpet and tile samples
from the manufacturer and have them 
sent directly to your  home. 
 2. always look at samples the way you will be looking at
them when they are in your house...on the FLOOR.
you get a much better perspective on the color they will
appear when installed. 


  1. Oh that picture makes me laugh! That's something my kids would do. Glad you're feeling better.

  2. I'm OBSESSED with wanting waincoting in my hallway and up the stairs...is there a standard height it should be? Love, Love, LOVE your blog!


  3. That was a pretty funny post!! and good info..thanks!!

  4. I recently purchase velvet chairs for my family room and wasn't sure how they would hold up with my three little ones, so far so good and I am glad to see you mentioned it as a good option.

  5. I had the same experience when we had our carpet installed in our current home. It looked soooo much lighter than the itty bitty sample we saw.

    BTW, that picture of your kids is priceless. I thought it was bad when my 2 year old son ripped at a corner of my newly installed wallpaper and pulled an entire gallon of lemondade out of the refrigerator in the same day, but the marker on the face beats that hands down.

  6. My son did this to my daughter (not to this excess, mind you) within an hour of me taking her to have her portrait taken. I scrubbed her so much that you can see the red marks in the pictures. I can laugh about it now - not so much at the time! Loved this post and your tips. I totally agree. M.

  7. i love this series. i had the same experience with my carpet and when i stopped by the house and saw it going down i thought--"where did they get THIS ugly carpet from??" i swore i didn't pick it, but then they showed me that tiny little square and my signature on the page and i realized i did. total FAIL. wish i would've gone with berber like i originally planned or sisal, which i would love to have now.

    that photo is CRAZY HILARIOUS.

  8. Do you know where I can find the light fixture under #2 in the blue room? That would be PERFECT for a project I am working on.

    Thank you!

  9. Where did you get this picture and how on earth did they get that off the baby?

  10. michelle,

    i don't know where that fixture is from! it is gorgeous though. shades of light carries a lot of fun, funky chandeliers...maybe you could try there!

  11. I've enjoyed these last few posts so much I had my husband read them too :) Love your blog!

  12. Thanks for the great tips! One I've learned, do not install MDF baseboard in busy traffic areas where kids who love to throw and drop things can really ding up the beautiful, white, soft, finish. Uuugh!

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  14. I just love your hallway and the spectacular lighting! Have a happy weekend.

  15. I love your style (and design tips)! I feel like I could move in to one of your houses, and feel right at home.

  16. glad you are feeling better.Take care
    First picture is so funny.

  17. i have seen that picture before... poor baby.

  18. I found your blog while researching paint colors and love your design style! I have been staring at the picture of your upstairs hallway in House 4 and 5 and wondering what paint color that is....Decatur Buff? Wilmington Buff? Whatever it is, it's darn near perfect.

  19. tracy,
    the wall color in the hallway is raccoon hollow...it is also downstairs in the foyer.
    the ceiling color is decatur buff.

  20. Where did you get the Sunburst Mirror? It would look perfect in my house. Love looking through your Blog.

  21. Thanks for answering my question about paint color. It looks so different on the screen! I am deciding between Decatur Buff and Wilmington Tan for my foyer and two-story living room. I sure wish you lived in Atlanta and could come over and tell me what to do! I've been reading all of your old posts and love every room you've designed!

  22. After just under a year in our first home, I'm seeing your logic with the beadboard/wainscoting in the high traffic areas. I'm thinking this is definitely a must have in homes to come! Thanks for the solution to my problem!

  23. lisa,

    that mirror is from horchow:
    the kimani sunburst mirror:


  24. I love this hallway (house #4 or #5). It is gorgeous! I plan to do this in my home. I was reading the other comments and am I correct that the wall color and ceiling color are different?