Jun 27, 2013

first look: my upstairs (BEFORE pictures)

i have been holding out.
i have been waiting and waiting to take some "good" pictures of the finished upstairs of my house to show y'all....
waiting for things to be perfect. or at least really, really clean.
and waiting until my "good" camera got fixed.
waiting until the kids were out of the house playing and, of course, remembered to clean their rooms and make their beds before they left.
waiting until the last boxes were unpacked and i had at least one or two things on the walls.

well, guess what? i realized this morning that those things may not happen for a very LONG time.
so, here are some really terrible phone camera BEFORE pictures of the upstairs...complete with kids still sleeping, temporary paper shades, toys on the floor, boxes stacked in the corner, messy couch cushions, and unfinished construction details. i hope you can manage to see (like i can) the POTENTIAL of these rooms!
here we go.

the stairs:
 i mentioned this before, but we ended up carpeting all of the stairs. one day (in the far, far future), we will pull up the carpet and install a fun runner on the stairs. i thought the carpet on the stairs might bother me, or look boring, but i am actually really happy with the way they turned out.

 the plan for the stair well is to add some type of trim or paneling going from the base molding to the ceiling. this will add a lot of architectural interest and help protect the walls from scuffs and marks. we already have QUITE the collection after moving in and being here just a few weeks!

 i realize this picture is terrible, but the camera on my phone is pretty limited. i had the electricians install three lights in a slightly random arrangement. i plan on having three moravian star fixtures hanging at different heights here. one day. 

the door at the top of the stairs leads to a mechanical and storage room.

 the upstairs hall, looking towards the bonus room. i am standing in the doorway of charlottes room. the first door on the left is olivias room. the second is the girls bathroom, and the third is gradys room. the door to the right is gradys bathroom.

charlottes room:

yep. she's asleep on the bed! i have some big plans for this room that include a new day bed with a custom head board and canopy, stenciled walls, painting her light fixture and current dresser, new bedding and adding a hinged bookcase that opens into a secret room. can you see that cut out in the sheetrock? it leads to a little area that is about 3.5 feet wide and 6 feet deep. charlotte has never had a room decorated just for her, so i promised her room would be one of the first that i worked on when we moved.

olivias room:

the two front bedrooms (olivias and grady's) are quite large. everyone who comes in comments on how big these two bedrooms are.  i still have some curtains that i had custom made 7 years ago for her bedroom in our last house in tennessee that i plan on using agin. i will also paint the walls, update her bedding a bit and possibly make a seating area to the left of the door. her bed and dresser were purchased when we lived in knoxville as well, and need to stay due to budget. the mirror was a semi recent purchase from anthropologie and will also be staying. the light fixture is from world market.

the girls bath:
 we finally got their drawer hardware installed! still a lot to do, but at least it functions...

gradys bedroom:
yep. there he is, curled up on the bed in his favorite footed pajamas. 
we bought his bed (from jc penney) and dresser (from the furniture mart in hickory, NC) when we was three, and while i still love both of them, he is slowly out growing them. i did a mini makeover of his room when we lived in our last rental house that included new bedding and new art, but in a year or two, i would love to update his room again. his room can handle a larger bed and dresser, and those items will be on the priority list when i am ready to tackle it, but right now, we need a yard and about 765 things more than we need a new bed and dresser!

the bonus room:
we were not going to finish this room when we first started building, but i am SO glad that we did! it is the place where my kids hang out, play with friends, watch movies and play with toys.

right now, we have a sectional that we bought from craigslist, and old dining table and a few chairs that we use as a game table, and the top part of a dresser that we are using as an entertainment center. (the bottom part of the dresser is in our master bedroom)
the door leads to a room that we call the "toy room". 

its where all the legos, games and toys are kept.  i LOVE that the toys stay in this room and if it gets too messy, we can just close the doors.
this is the only room that we had the painters paint!
the color on the walls doesn't look as green in person as it does in these pictures.
it is called "deep creek" by benjamin moore. it is a deep grey/brown color, and i really, really love it.

the room is nice and large, but because of the slope of the ceiling, and the location of the door, it has made the furniture placement a little tricky. i finally have the sectional, tv and table arranged in a way that works really well for us.

from the bonus room, looking back towards the stairs and into charlottes room.

i hope you can see what the spaces can become! i view them as "shells" right now---empty and void of character, but waiting to be transformed! i am really happy with everything, and so thrilled to be in the house! there are just SO many things that i want to spend my time and limited budget on...it is so hard to zero in on a room!
i think i am going to start with gradys bathroom...can you already see that i have some samples up on the wall? more on that soon...
thanks for sticking around!

Jun 20, 2013

design plan: global living room

a look at the design plan for a full room design that i recently worked on with a fun-loving, professional couple who love to travel the world. they wanted a neutral backdrop with some accents in bold yet muted colors. we brought in global vibe with the interesting shapes and textures of many of the supporting furniture pieces.

interesting in working together to create a more beautiful and functional space?
email me at autumnclemons@yahoo.com to set up a consultation!

Jun 17, 2013

(stupid?) product review: duvet donuts

i was recently at bed bath and beyond, and came across a product that i thought could potentially be life changing. we have 4 beds in our house, and every one of them have down comforters and duvet covers on them. there are two beds in particular (my bed and my sons bed) where the duvet is always misaligned with the duvet cover and it drives me nuts! 

i saw these, and i had a coupon, so i decided to give them a try:
"easy to use"
"attaches in seconds"
"keeps your comforter from bunching and shifting inside your duvet"
too good to be true? i was about to find out!

as instructed, we laid out the duvet cover (the malou from ikea) inside out on the floor, and put the duvet on top of it.

next, we put one side of the duvet donut on the top, and the other side on the bottom, and the pieces locked together . easy enough for a 9 year old.
so, yes. the claims of "easy to use" and "attaches in seconds" were pretty much accurate.

after the donuts were all attached, we flipped the entire thing right side out.
hmmm. not really loving the way that is is looking! (and sorry about the NON vaccumed carpet!)

(i tried again to get the rings to the very edge of the duvet, but it still looked the same...not pretty, to say the least, BUT...if it worked, then i thought that i could live with it. at least for my sons room...)
now---to see if they HOLD the duvet cover in place...

***i came back a week later to find that two of the donuts had come loose. i asked my son if he had pulled them out, and he hadn't. i snapped them back into place, and a few days later, one of the same ones and one different one was loose. (in fact, after 2 weeks, only one remained in place)

in my opinion, these are pretty much worthless. (sorry duvet donut people) they made the duvet bunch up at the corners, which i found unattractive, and they didn't even hold the duvet together, which is what they claimed to do. maybe other people who have used them think they are great and love them, but i would not spend money on these again.

this item was purchased by me, and the review is my opinion about my experiences with this product.

Jun 14, 2013

hardware for the girls bath (and a first look)

there are SO many areas in my new house where i want to focus my attention, but i am having a really hard time selecting one (or three) to focus on. (i have design ADD. there. i have admitted it.)

my budget is telling me to start with the spaces that need the least amount of $TUFF. that is why i will probably focus on the bathrooms first.
because bathrooms don't need sofas.
or built-ins. or a fireplace. (unless you are a sultan or an oil tycoon)

the "girls" bathroom is upstairs and has two sinks, and a separate shower/toilet area. when we first started construction, we were not planning on finishing the other bathroom upstairs. once we decided to  finish the second bathroom , we decided that this bathroom would be the "girls bathroom", and the smaller bathroom would be my son grady's bathroom.

i want this bathroom to have a slightly feminine feel, but still have clean lines and some interesting texture. i opted for a simple, shaker style vanity, which has been painted  benjamin moore's"gentlemans gray", a deep rich blue. (you can see more info on that here)
there are still a lot of things to do, but here is a look at it, as well as some notes on what needs to get done:

i want to install a mirror above the counter that goes all the way to the ceiling, and then layer two decorative mirrors on top of it.
i have two of the mirrors that are sitting on the counter, but i think i will be going in another direction...maybe something like this? i have ALWAYS loved venetian style mirrors...

maybe? if i can find some that aren't insanely out of my budget.

here is another shot of the room--looking towards the hall. it is kind of hard to see the blue-ness of the vanity right now, but once the mirror goes in and i change out the lightbulbs (i think they are 25watt bulbs right now), it will help a lot. the sconces are from restoration hardware (the evans sconces, now discontinued), and were purchased on ebay.

the granite was just something that my granite guy had on hand. i think it is called kasmir white.

a look at the floor, which i am THRILLED with!
it was a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it. it is so pretty and unique and really slip-resitant!
you can read more about my tile selections here.

the light fixture in the shower area is a vintage lantern that i had rewired:

i want to carry out the theme of the brushed/aged brass with the hardware. i knew that i wanted ONE large knob in the middle of each cabinet door, and pulls on the sink. something like this:

i knew that in order to find what i wanted, i would have to look on ebay.

after a few weeks of searching, (and losing an auction on some a-freaking-mazing brass flower pulls *which almost made me want to cry*) i managed to find a winner:

these babies are vintage and HEAVY. i swear they weigh 2 pounds each! according to the seller, they were originally used for an electrolux appliance in the 60's...they really don't make em like they used to, eh?
they have some type of lacquer coating on them, which i may or may not try to remove...right now, i am leaning towards NOT removing it. because i am lazy. and the finish doesn't bother me all that much.

onto the drawers:
after an exhaustive search, i narrowed down the search to two pulls for the drawer:

option 1:
Richelieu Hardware - Modern Expression - 4" Centers Rectangular Pull in Brass
(funny. since i ordered these, they are now almost impossible to find online...in fact, this is the best image i could find online.)

option 2:
Hexagonal Cut Crystal Handle With Solid Brass Bases

i actually ordered option 1--the richieu pulls (trying to cut costs), and when they arrived, i was really disappointed.
they looked cheap, felt cheap, and the finish was uneven and not at all like the pictures:

yuck. (not even CLOSE  to what the pictures showed!)

so, i went with option 2:
after 6 weeks of being backordered, they arrived late last week...and they are GORGEOUS!
they are heavy, well made and just plain yummy!

hopefully, we will get them installed this weekend!

Jun 13, 2013

must have elements for timeless custom kitchens

designing for a kitchen 

isn't it interesting how so many things in design and fashion are cyclical?
they are HOT, and then, all of the sudden they are NOT...only to be hot again 20 years later.
it's a lot to keep up with sometimes!
of course, there are some things that never go out of style...particularly in a kitchen. Let’s have a look at a few:

thoughtful storage

do you have enough kitchen storage? 
have you ever heard someone complain -"ugh! my kitchen just has TOO much space! i need to buy some more junk to fill up all my cabinets!"
I didn't think so.
storage is one of the most important elements of a well-designed custom kitchen. deep drawers are particularly nice for mixing bowls, pans or stacks of dishes. pull outs allow easy access to items that can often get lost in the back of cabinets.

kitchen appliance love

over the last decade, there have been a lot of appliance trends, some of which may be here to stay. Some of these trends include commercial ranges, two dishwashers, wine refrigerators, convection microwaves, and larger fridge freezers. the key to keeping your appliance selection timeless for YOU is considering your needs. 
some people have a separate ice maker or two dishwashers on their "must have" appliance list. i personally would not use two dishwashers, but there are many households that have large families or entertain a lot, and would get used a lot!  

the internet has certainly changed the way we shop for all areas of our homes, and many people, including myself, are purchasing appliances online. for my kitchen, I chose to get a separate fridge and freezer, and I LOVE them.

essential kitchen worktop space

whether your kitchen has laminate countertops, or natural stone, having a large area for prep and serving is a must in a well-planned kitchen. kitchen islands or peninsulas are a particularly great place to get an uninterrupted stretch of space, and the benefit of an island is that the space can be accessed from more than one side.

beautiful kitchen lighting

my favourite kitchens to cook in have lots of natural light, but when the sun goes down, it is important that you have adequate lighting for all your needs. a combination of recessed lighting, hanging or flush mount decorative fixtures and under cabinet lighting should give any kitchen adequate light. 

a home for the trash

trash – garbage – refuse, whatever name you give it, trash is a part of everyday life, and so why not give it a home? this is especially true in the kitchen---where a majority of all trash is deposited. a well-planned kitchen should always include an accessible place to throw things away. 

if you recycle, this is a great opportunity to make sure that you have a receptacle for both everyday trash, as well as the items that can be recycled.

This post is sponsored by homebase.  The opinions expressed in this post are entirely mine.

Jun 10, 2013

door knobs VS "eye holes"

a friend of mine stopped by last week with her kids, and as i was giving her a tour of the house, i couldn't help myself but point out all of the details that have yet to happen.
"i can't believe we don't have door knobs yet!" i exclaimed. to which my friends adorable 4 year old boy responded..."yeah, but you have EYE HOLES!"

yes we do.

and he was the perfect height to peer through...
keeps you on your toes, those "eye holes"!

it's been kind of a joke around here lately...
 "sweetie...maybe we shouldn't order doorknobs! these eye holes sure come in handy."
"i kinda like the way the raw wood gently buffs away rough and unwanted skin from my fingers every time i try to open and close a door. its like a built-in loofah."

just kidding.
of COURSE we are ordering hardware.
it was just one of those things that we didn't get around to before we moved in, and since then, there have been so many other things to occupy our time, we just haven't taken the time to decide on anything. every time we get desperate (twice, now), and decide to run to lowes or home depot and just-buy-something-already, we realize how picky we are.

here is what we fell in love with:
emtek modern round knob with rectangular rosette (backplate)

i love the cylindrical knob and the rectangular back plate ...
ah, but at just over $130 per knob, we decided NO.
arent they lovely, though?

it is available in lots of options--here it is with a round rosette

we also like this octagonal knob with the square rosette.

(we thought about doing the main floor with the "nice" knobs and going really cheap upstairs. but even that was going to cost more than we wanted to spend.)

i DID find a nice alternative--the andover knob from schlage:

these are about 70% less than the ones i love, but still have a similar look.
we bought them in polished chrome.

i also liked this knob from weslock the impresa series, but they were not available in polished chrome:

so many of us fall in love with high end items that can be out of our budget, and there are some times when i think it is totally ok to splurge, but most of the time, an affordable alternative can be found for the high-end budget-buster. i think this is the perfect example! if i would have ordered the emtek knob that i LOVED, we would have spent close to 4K on all of our knobs. instead, all of our hardware, including exterior doors handle sets, dead bolts and pocket door hardware was around $850.

our knobs should be here within the next few days!
again, we turned to build.com they had great prices, free shipping, and i even managed to save and additional 5% by searching for a coupon code right before i ordered (which saved $50).

sadly, we will have to lose our "eye holes".
but, we will gain privacy, and the ability to open and close a door without getting a splinter!
i'd say that is a WIN for door knobs.