Thursday, April 29, 2010

Love What You Have: Sliding, Mirrored Doors

I searched and searched for the quote I wanted to share today, but just couldn't find it. I may be mixing up several quotes in my head, but the sentiment of them all is roughly the same. Instead of giving you the actual quotes, then, I (and you - sorry) will have to settle for a generalized paraphrase. Here it goes...

"Do not desire merely to have what you love, but seek instead to love what you already have". - unknown, paraphrased

Ha. You get the point, though.

Sometimes when I post something that we've been able to completely redo or buy new, or when I say something negative about a dated part of this house that we have plans to change, I wonder if I might be encouraging discontentment in someone's heart. Not everyone, after all, is going to be able to replace every single door in their house, or upgrade all of their trim, or replace sliding, aluminum windows. We may not be able to... next month, next year... no one knows what tomorrow holds.

Honestly, although we are choosing to replace a good bit of the more outdated parts of our home, I think a lot of those dated elements could be worked with. We didn't have to replace our closet doors, we could have come up with a creative solution that didn't break the bank.

In a similar vein, when I posted earlier this week about the drawbacks of sliding, mirrored doors, I wasn't being very thoughtful of those that might have doors like that in their own homes - and actually like them! When I was trolling the internet looking for my photos of old-fashioned mirrored closets, I came across a few images that really made the sliding variety work well.

Gotta love Apartment Therapy.

I think the biggest factor determing whether or not sliding mirrors work is the room they are reflecting. A "scene" framed out by those mirrors can catapult them to new heights of chic-ness.

Like that? "New heights of chic-ness". Creativity oozing out today.

This bedroom is an example of mirrored closet doors going south. The room is traditionally "decorated", without much personal style. It's a nice room, tasteful - but lacking in the style department. The mirrored doors don't work in this space. The interiors draw attention to their dated look.

This room, however, from AT is another story. The image reflected in the mirrors is composed in such a way that it's like a framed photograph. Of course, it doesn't look picture-perfect everyday, but the general composition makes for a pleasing, stylish reflection. It seems like rooms tend to work best with sliding mirrored doors if they have a least a hint of that modern-vintage-mix-apartment look.

Check out what this AT contributor did with the sliding mirrored closet doors in his apartment...

The mirrors in this room are actually an asset, reflecting the moody lighting and adding to an already developed sense of sultry glamour.

I think it's interesting that the door frames are painted to match the walls. That probably takes away some of the dated element, too. If the frames were brassy, the look wouldn't be nearly as integrated and seemless.

So, see? Sliding mirrored doors can actually be worked into a room plan! They aren't for everyone, but they aren't the certain downfall of a room, either.

If you still don't really think you can work your sliding mirror doors to suit your sensibilities,
this article and this post from Apartment Therapy offer some creative solutions. The best ideas actually tend to come up in the readers' comments, so be sure to read those!

What do you guys think? Am I crazy to think that sliding mirrored doors might be redeemable?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Well, I'm Glad...

...that you liked the idea of mirrored closet doors,

It's kind of a done deal.

More soon.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Old-Fashioned, Mirrored Closet Doors

When I mentioned to my sister that I was thinking about a mirrored door for the newly framed out closet, she scrunched up her nose. She was picturing something like this...

Which, by the way, is 100% ME in 1989. Except my uniform was bright blue and gold. With a bulldog on it.

But, I was picturing something like this...

image via cote de texas

Well, okay, not exactly. Those are uber-pricey custom doors with antiqued glass. Gorgeous, but a little upscale for this modest split-level. So pretty. What are those ceilings? 20 feet tall?

Older homes often have mirrors on the closets. Quaint little mirrors that don't cost an arm and a leg. In thinking through the inspiration for this room, I kept coming back to some images of closets I had seen on Meg Duerksen's blog, Whatever. Meg has the most amazing house. It's a HUGE, old Victorian with all those quirky fun details (like a bath beneath the stairs and an entire hallway filled with cabinets) that I love so much in a home. She doesn't blog much about the house itself these days, but her posts are always full of creativity, warmth, and color.

This closet is in her youngest girls' room. Meg has a great, care-free, kid-friendly style. Relaxed and cheerful and beautiful. Like a vintage book of poetry for children.

That old school hardware is so. incredibly. great.

I think her closet doors are perfect. I wish I could touch 'em. Have I ever told you about the inexplicable urge I have to run my hands over old, smooth, painted wood? Especially if it has coat after coat of oil-based paint? I imagine the men who painted the first and second coats, the family that painted the third, the touch-ups through the years. So smooth and solid. You can practically touch the history. I bet these doors feel like that. Functional, light-reflecting, and full of that old house character. Yeah, and lead, but ignore that part for my purposes, please. This is her teenage daughter's room above.

There's yet another mirrored closet door in the master bedroom. This mirror looks to be built in to the actual door, unlike the children's rooms where the mirror is installed with screw clamps. Hard to tell, but it seems like part of the actual door. Love that. Meg was so sweet to let me use these images. Thanks, Meg! Isn't this just gorgeous?

This last image from Decorpad is just about perfect. Maybe not "just about", maybe actually perfect. Baseboards look a little like ours. Our closet in bedroom 2 is on the opposite wall from the new, larger window. A mirrored door would reflect light all around the room, add function to the closet as a dressing space, and, when framed out with our new trim (which I was so happy to see is much like Meg's), add character as well.

What do you all think of old-fashioned, mirrored closet doors like this? Don't be a lurker, now ;) If you were in the market for a not-really-that-old house and the bedrooms had these closet doors, would that be a positive or a negative?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

More Rooms with Two Twin Beds

I came across this post at Matters of Style over the weekend. It featured a great collection of shared bedroom photos - many of which could easily be starting points for brother/sister rooms. My own black bedspread room made the cut ;) Why do I keep referring to that room as the "black bedspread room" when the black bedspreads are my least favorite component? I'd nix the black bedspreads altogether and just use white sheeting, instead. So, I'll start calling it "the red headboard room" from now on. Anyway, the red headboard room is in that post :)

via Design to Inspire

Along with striking rooms like this one. I love those bold stripes. If you're thinking through how to work a bedroom with two twin beds, you might want to go check it out.

I'm feeling much better this evening, by the way. And guess what - I bought fabric :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's Gray Outside...

... and it's kind of been a long week. I haven't been able to have my regular Mama Night Out in over two weeks, and I think it's starting to get to me. I had a wonderful wonderful date last night with Sam and a younger couple from church last night, but I haven't been ALONE in a while - well, unless you count brushing my teeth and going to the bathroom (and sometimes I'm not even alone for that).

You know what I'd really like to do? I'd like to buy fabric. But, I wouldn't want to drive all the way to the fabric store. I'd rather teleport there and back. I'd like to look at all the pretty colors and patterns and touch all the soft, smooth cottons.

I'd buy some fabric to make Punkin a dress. Did you know I sew? That's okay, I barely know that I sew. It's been ages and ages since I've made a dress for one of the girls. Punkin's going to be 5 and 1/2 this coming week - before I know it she's going to be past the age for polka dots and ruffles. I'd like to make her a dress... soon.

I'd also like to turn part of our laundry room into a little sewing desk someday. We're a crafty bunch - sewing, crocheting, embroidering. There's a lot of craft stuff all piled in various plastic bins in the Spare Oom closet. Wouldn't it be wonderful to set up tons of clean, white shelving over the washer and dryer and fill it with all the yarn, fabric, ribbon, and buttons we possibly can?

And wouldn't it be wonderful if it had some kind of white noise maker? I'd only shut myself in there with the noise maker on when there was another responsible adult here with the children, of course :)

There's a window in the laundry room. And space directly beneath it for a small desk. It's fun to think about on a gray day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Brother/Sister Shared Bedrooms

"The hardest thing to pull off is a bedroom shared by a brother and sister. How do you create a gender-neutral space without ending up with something bland?" - Ohdeedoh

And, I would add, without something disturbingly compartmentalized like this room. Yeesh. Nothing says family harmony like blatant segregation ;)

But, it's tough. In coming up with some ideas for Bedroom 3's next stage, it's really tricky to figure out how to make a room truly personal for both a 5 year old girly girl and a 3 year old little boy. So, I trolled the 'net for inspiration and did some brainstorming. I started out with a few basic points from this article and some of my own thoughts. The rest of this post is kind of like a jumble of notes about what I tracked down. Gets a little random at times, but I was encouraged in the end. Here's the first thing that seemed like it was coming close...

I was drawn to the brightness and neutrality, I think. See, I want our children's rooms to be warm, fun, and personal, but I also want them to fit in with the rest of the house. I don't want to have a bedroom that shocks you when you open the door. We've had very pink bedrooms that didn't go with the rest of the house before. We've even had trees and murals on walls before. But, in this house, I want the bedrooms to retain a little of the mood set in the main living areas. It's a smaller home, and I'd like the spaces to flow. So, I think I liked the white and the subdued foundation.

Although Bedroom 3 isn't as neutral as white, it's still pretty neutral with its blue/gray walls and the white of the window treatments and curtains on the closet. All of that was on purpose, really. After literally months of trying to figure out our design style, I knew I was drawn to the versatile canvas of a neutral backdrop. This first photo of a shared bedroom confirmed my desire for neutrality in Bedroom 3. But, how do you take all that neutrality and make it say HAPPY, FUN, PERSONAL? And how do you do all that for both a boy and a girl?

Another neutral brother/sister room. White, again. But this photo interested me because I started to look for strong, cheerful colors that work in gender-neutral spaces. The dresses are too much for me in this photo, but the tree and birdie on the pillowcases, the blue, yellow, limey-green, and orangey-red stood out to me. Just a little color in accessories really comes out in this room. It's a Swedish room. Do you all like it? I think I'd want someone else to dust it ;)

I like the little pointy star mobile thingy. Note to self: white pointy stars look convincingly gender-neutral. Another note to self: little bits of color in a neutral room really make a big impact.

I really like the brightness and high-contrast neutrals of this brother/sister room. High-contrast neutrals with lots of white definitely fits in with the direction of the rest of the house. Those chairs were really what grabbed me, though. I love black. I just do. Black is just the best ever . It's gender-neutral, too :) And that rug is fun... a little punchy color. But, this room still feels pretty serious to me. Striking, but a little too much like Mama needs it picture perfect. This room is not a happy, warm, personal room in my mind. A touch sterile.

Then, I found this room, and I knew I was getting somewhere. For one thing, I realized that, for me, a warm, personal, happy kids' room means stuff. Collections of stuff. Meaningful, personal stuff. That was a pretty key realization, I think. I want our kids rooms to be their own. I want my kids to show through in their rooms. I like the room in the photo above, and it's pretty gender-neutral (minus the hugenormous white flowers on the rug). Plenty of white, high-contrast neutrals, a little black - there's a pattern emerging here ;) Buuuuuut - still - it was just missing something.

Do you know what it was missing? What would've really made it come alive?

It was missing red :) I love black. And I love red. Just a little bit of each.

Ooooh, with turquoisey bright blues. Okay, okay - maybe I just love color.

Wow. This, dear friends, is a killer brother/sister room. After seeing this I knew red was totally in the picture. Has to be. This room is gorgeous. Still not personal, but - wow. This room with the right amount of personal, kid-centric stuff, would be awesome. Except, I'd rather see white on the beds. That's too much black. Plus, I think it needs...

...polka dots. Red polka dots. Because we have blue/gray walls like in this picture and because this picture totally inspires me. If we took the picture with the black bedspreads and made it less stuffy and impersonal by adding red polka dots and other personal, fun, kid-centric stuff...

... like this, we'd be getting somewhere. Polka dots in moderation, though. They aren't the most gender-neutral trick in the bag. But they are happy. And I like them. I like high-contrast neutrals, lots of white, pops of black, and red, and polka dots.

And I love this blankie. This is quite possibly the happiest-looking little blankie on the planet :)

What about this room? A little crazed? Yeah. Definitely. But, it does have high-contrast neutrals, plenty of white, a little black, and red. One thing's for sure, it has lots of kid stuff. (hi, Mr. Sock Monkey!) It's a little too nutso for me, though. Take the room with the black bedspreads, add a little bit of red polka dots, mix it with this room, and that's just about right. This room livens the black bedspread room up, and the black bedspread room tones this one down. Can you combine the mood of those two rooms in your mind's eye? I think I can. Punkin and Little Dude would totally love it.

From this room and from the cozy blankie, I'm noticing colors again. Lots of colors. I don't think I want a tight color scheme that looks too on-purpose. I think I want to try for lots of those brother/sister compatible colors like bright blue, red, green, orange, and gold in just the right amounts. To make it cheerful and to keep it from being too serious, but also to keep it from looking like a novelty shop. Maybe in vintage prints.

I loved this little bookcase. It could fit into the room I have coming together in my head. See that yellow-gold fabric with the blue wall? The happy colors of the books? The bright blue of the globes? Is this for a boy's room or for a girl's room? I think it could live in both. I'm feeling inspired by this little bookcase :) Picture the slightly elegant room with the black bedspreads loosened up with color, vintage fabric, the polka dot chair, and this bookcase.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bedroom 2: Getting Started!

Now that you have a good idea of what this bedroom looked like before last weekend, I'll bring you up to speed with what we've been able to accomplish so far :) I cracked up the other day when someone shared her disappointment that the room wasn't done, yet - I can totally relate! It would be wonderful if real-life before and afters could happen all in one blog post :)

I'm committed to blogging reality, though. Sometimes projects do seem to take forever (on the blog and in real life), and yet we are really trying for balance in our lives as husband/wife-parents-family-friends-homeschoolers-DIYers. We worked on bedroom 2 Friday evening and all day Saturday until 6pm or so. Then we ate dinner together as a family and watched a kiddo movie for family night in the evening. We do not, generally, do anything with our projects on Sundays. Sundays are already full as it is with church, family time, and fellowship.

We could bust this room out in no time flat if we went crazy on it each and every night and if I used up every spare minute during the day, but keeping our relationships strong and staying available for friends, family, and ministry is important to us - critical, actually. Getting this house done in record time is not worth the sacrifices we'd have to make at this stage in our lives. In a different stage, maybe we could do it - but not right now.

Okay, had enough of all that jibber jabber? Let's get down to business.

So, we worked Friday night and much of Saturday...

First up was getting rid of the closet system and all of the existing trim in the room. Sam needed to head over to a big box store to get all of the supplies for Saturday's work, so I happily stayed behind to rip this stuff out. I love this part.

Love it!

I got the last of the trim out right as Sam was coming home :) I was "glistening" from the hurry I was in, but I got the job done! Stopped for the evening because it was the kiddos' bedtime and the next items up on our list were all LOUD steps. Rested. Gazed into each other's eyes. Probably ate chocolate - can't remember for certain, but probably. Made plans for Saturday.

Started out Saturday morning with fried eggs and cheese grits all together. Saturday morning breakfast is special because Sam is home. He's usually out the door before we ever even start to think about weekday breakfast. With tummy full, he got to work ripping the drywall off of the closet door casing.

This closet originally had bi-fold doors, but we thought the extra large door opening was unnecessary. We envisioned a regular sized door on this closet...

... and Sam got to work making it happen. It turned out to be a lot easier than either of us had initially thought it would be. Partly, of course, because of Sam's mad skillz.

While Sam finished up the drywall and started mowing the grass, Punkin and I headed back to a big box store (the orange one, this time) to order the door for this closet. A little disconcerting when the guy across the counter has a big "in training" button on, but I think we got the order placed correctly. Hopefully everything opens to the appropriate side, hinges in the right place and all that. It's supposed to arrive in the store this coming weekend.

When we got back home, Sam sprayed the army of dandelions forming ranks in our yard while I painted yet another side of the shelving for bedroom 3. Shelving takes forever to paint. If I stood it on end to paint it, I guess I could get it done faster, but I'm just not confident that there wouldn't be a mark from wherever it was leaning. So, I prime one side and paint two coats. Then, when I'm totally sure it's dry enough to flip over, I do the same on the other side. In my experience so far, it's taking nearly a week for one board.

Sam got cracking on the baseboards when I finished up with my shelves. He got the bottom baseboards in on all three walls that don't involve the closet. The closet wall has to wait for the door to be installed first.

Basecap up on one length before we called it a day. Have I mentioned that Sam wasn't really feeling too hot during all this? He's had a pretty bad cough and some nasty congestion for days. He's such a manly man, though - he just kept snifflin' and nailin'.

And hackin'.

But he was wiped out by dinnertime. We both were. Time for some din-din and snuggle time in the family room watching "Balto". Intense movie, man. Intense. Well, if you're Punkin, anyway.

Depending on how this week goes, and on how Sam is feeling, we might be able to bust a few more odds and ends out in this room before the weekend comes again. It will be perfect if our door arrives on or before Saturday. That way Sam can get the rest of the trim up and start caulking everything so I can get at it with my trusty primer and paint.

Any guesses on when we'll actually have this room checked off our list? Let's make it a game! The closest guess without actually going past the date wins! What do you win? Hmmm... my lasting love and admiration :) And a link to the blog of your choice? My own personal guess is... hmmm... let's see... still need to install door, finish trim, caulk, prime, paint, patch up the window casing, install closet rods/shelves, switch out electrical outlets and plates... (let's not count the overhead lighting because we have to wait until the beginning of May to order that, so don't include overhead lighting in your guess). I'll say we'll be totally done (except for the overhead light) by May 9th. Mother's Day. Wouldn't that be nice? :)

Thanks for sticking with us, y'all. I'll try to keep things moving along here on the blog so you're not just watching paint dry with us. I've been thinking about how to design/decorate a bedroom for both a little girl and a little boy. I think I'll share some of the images I've compiled later this week.

Have a good one!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Before Pics: Bedroom 2

Okay, here we go.

Bedroom 2.

This bedroom is right across the hall from Bedroom 3.

These are semi-before pics, really. We had the window enlarged around Thanksgiving '09 and the window treatments are obviously up already. True to form, we took the closet doors off before we remembered to take a photo, too. But, this is basically what we were starting with on Friday night.

This is the smallest of our four bedrooms and isn't really anyone's at this point. It's sort of serving as the spare bedroom that gets used when other bedrooms are being worked on. When it's finished, the plan is for SweetP and Shug to move in until their bedroom (Bedroom 4) is completed.

Someday... maybe... we'll see... it could be a... nursery. Some day. Longer than 9 months from now. Grandmothers need not freak out and call when they read this ;) But it would be perfect for a nursery. Just saying.

The new window lets in so much light. I am very, very thankful for this window :)

This room's before and after won't be terribly dramatic, but I am excited to improve the room and make it feel all fresh and serene like bedroom 3. It's already underway - I'll share what we got accomplished this weekend in Tuesday's post :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Closing In and Gearing Up

This is the "to-do" list from last weekend. This weekend is looking pretty similar in terms of how much we're trying to get done, just getting a tiny bit more ambitious, though. We're closing in on the first layer in bedroom 3. I know, it seems like ages. It's really only been 6 weeks, though. Still waiting for the base to our overhead lighting and also trying to wrap up painting the shelves for the closet.

We had gorgeous weather last week for painting the door and shelves, but this weekend we're dealing with some rain/humidity that makes painting wood shelving kind of a drag.

Good thing we have plenty of other things to do on a rainy weekend :)

I'm so pleased with how bedroom 3 has turned out so far. I admit, sticking to this "first layer" deal is really hard in a lot of ways. I want to finish the entire room! But, as difficult as it may be to not accessorize and detail, we're gearing up to start on bedroom 2 tomorrow.

Little Dude is about to wake up from nap any minute now, so in the interest of time, I'll just show you where we are with bedroom 3 through photos I took this week. I didn't lighten any of these photos or change the color values - the paint and white curtains give the entire room such a wonderful light! It's perfect :)

The plans right now are that this bedroom will be for Little Dude (3) and Punkin (5 and 1/2) for the next 2 years or so.

Oh, and I love the camel color of Sam's grandma's chair with the blue/gray walls, by the way. It's a little funky and a little not-perfect, which is what's perfect about it in this room. Try to picture bringing in some red, a deeper blue, and just a little of that camel/gold with a restful but happy vintage vibe :)

You know. Eventually.

Wouldn't you have loved curtains like that on your closet when you were a kid? Too fun.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!! :)