This Summer was the Summer I finally said “enough” to the living room paint color. I’ve wanted to paint the walls in our living room for years (I didn’t like the color and they were splotchy from being touched up with color matched paint that wasn’t perfect), but for one reason or another, had never gotten around to it. Finally, I not only painted the living room, but I finally painted the French doors in there (red isn’t my color of choice), and the foyer/dining room as well! It was a productive Summer for painting rooms!

living room before after

It seems like August is the time to work on projects in the living room for me. Last August, I added the Teal/Turquoise pillows in there, the August before that I added the photo gallery wall above the couch (which I’ve since taken down and plan to re-do soon), and the August before that, we re-arranged the space and added the Drop Cloth Curtains and TV stand (the curtains I just replaced this Summer).

Here is a little tour of our foyer/dining room & living room now:

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We still LOVE the plant/console table we built ourselves (one of our favorite things in the house!). Curtains are from Pottery Barn Teen, which I love, but I’m a little disappointed in them. They weren’t cheap (they were my Valentine’s Day present one year, lol!) and they’ve faded quite a bit, especially in certain spots. Dining room table is from the Nashville flea market, dining chairs are vintage, rug and baskets on the console table are from Target, milk glass bowl, old Reader’s Digest books, small white cabinet were thrifted, wood stump was the cake stand at our wedding, black lamp was given to us by Drew’s mom and then I gave it a makeover, Self-Portrait woodcut  and small abstracts are done by me, the glass jar candles on the table and console are from our wedding, door wreath I made, and gold plant pot is from Home Depot that I painted gold.

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I really love how the color on the walls came out in here. It’s a nice taupe-y grey (Smoked Oyster by Valspar in a Satin finish). It’s two shades darker on the same paint swatch card as the color in the living room, so they tie in well together. All the windows in this room really play well into having a slightly darker color on the walls. I love how it makes the art and trim pop.

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I’m so happy that the entire house isn’t painted the same fleshy-red-tan color anymore!

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I finally replaced our Drop Cloth Drapes with some simple white curtains (I made these out of white twin bed sheets I ordered online for super cheap!) I love how the white brightens the room up! I was tired of the dull tan of the drop cloths and the seam down the middle of them always bothered me. They served us well for several years though!

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I LOVE the French doors in black. I think they make such a pretty and dramatic statement. I love that they are a neutral color that allows my art and accessories to really shine. I didn’t love the red before because I don’t use the color red very often and I felt like they didn’t go with the rest of our house.

Couch and loveseat are from Compass Furniture in New Orleans, television/media cabinet is from Target, white bookcase is from IKEA, painting above loveseat was a wedding gift from my sister and her husband (by New Orleans artist Adam Hall), big turquoise velvet couch pillows are from World Market, teal and patterned pillows I made from World Market cloth napkins (these and these), light blue pedestal side table next to loveseat is from Nadeau in New Orleans, cream and white damask throw, wire basket (filled with yarn on bookshelf), remote box, and wooden @ symbol from TJ Maxx, floor lamp is from Lowe’s, silver table lamp is from Compass Furniture (scored it for $15 with a Living Social Deal!),  8×10 area rug from Lowe’s (scored it for $15!), wooden ladder and quilts were thrifted, beads are from Mardi Gras parades, basket (with magazines in it behind the french doors) was a wedding gift, landscape painting on the bookshelf was a wedding gift (painted my Drew’s mom’s good friend and my 8th grade teacher!), globe was mine from when I was little bought for me by my Mamaw, the chalkboard message board was from our wedding (originally from here), small pink table is from Target, and the abstract paintings and ceramic artichoke were made by me.

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The coffee table/bench is also new! When my childhood best friend, Tonya, and her husband, Peter, were visiting New Orleans this Summer, we spent one evening in the French Quarter eating and walking in antique shops before heading to the Frenchmen Art Market and to listen to some music on Frenchmen Street. In one of the little shops we walked into, I found this wooden table base (without a top) and we bought it for $30. I cleaned it up and rubbed it down with some coconut oil, and Drew and I made a tufted table/bench top for it out of wood, foam, linen fabric and fabric covered buttons. It was an exhausting project (much more so than I had expected), but I’m pleased with how it turned out!

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The wall color in here is Asiago by Valspar in a Satin finish. I wanted something that was almost white, but had a soft white creaminess to it (to go with the trim that looks white, but is really pretty creamy-off-white). I love how this color turned out. It brightens up this room and I think it is really going to look great with the new gallery wall I have planned for above the sofa! I really love how it looks with the black French doors (I’m loving the high contrast of black and white these days) and the color in the foyer/dining room too.

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Last, but not least, this photo is of the small little hallway at the back of the house (right off the long hallway that spans down most of our apartment). It leads to the bathroom and our bedroom. We painted it Semi-Sweet by Valspar (also in a Satin finish) this Summer as well. I think it looks great! Dark and moody and works so well with all the white trim and the fact that the bathroom right next to it is full of white tile, white walls, white sink/toilet/tub, etc. The art in the white frames pop off this wall so perfectly! It makes this little space feel more like a “room” and less of just a pass-through space.

I’m so happy that after 3 1/2 years of living in this apartment, we have finally painted some walls! Only $30 for a gallon of paint and a few hours of time, I don’t know why I put it off for so long!

I didn’t take any before pictures of this bulletin board (bad blogger, I know!), but it was just your average cork-covered, wood-trimmed, basic office bulletin board. Now it looks like this:

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Less than a yard of fabric (home dec from Jo-Ann’s), some brass tacks (I used ones like this that I also bought at Jo-Ann’s), and a few staples in the back and voila! A much more sophisticated office bulletin board. Seriously though, this was a super easy project. Iron your fabric, cut it about 2 1/2 inches wider on each side than your bulletin board, lay flat, space out your tacks, push them in place (as you keep the fabric taut and the pattern aligned), then use your staple gun to staple the fabric around to the backside. Add your hanging hardware to the back and you are finished.

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I love the crisp look of the tacks and the fabric stretched all the way around the frame. A high-impact look for little money!

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It looks great here in my home office, but I actually made it for my work office. It adds a little bit of interest to my otherwise boring work office!

 

The bathroom makeover saga continues. I left off, here, where I shared the simple updates we did–art, accessories, and some updates with paint. The main thing left on our list was to find fabric that I could use to make an extra-long shower curtain. The shower curtain needed to be roughly 72×86 inches, so larger than normal widths of fabric. The only other option that I could think of was to find a flat sheet I liked to make it out of.

A trip or two to TJ Maxx gave us a few options. I couldn’t decide in the store, so we bought a few, brought them home to see them in the space, then returned the two we didn’t use.

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The gray/teal/green patterned one was actually a duvet cover, then we had the blue/white patterned one, and the gray one on top. They were all pretty solid options, but in the end we went with the gray one:

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That one beat out the others for a few reasons. I wanted this small room to stay pretty simple. My ideal curtain would have had a subtle pattern on it, but the simple patterned sheet set we found was light blue and it clashed with the mint blue ceiling we have in here. The more highly patterned grey/teal/green one I liked, but it was the most expensive, was a duvet cover, so it would have been a little added work to make into a shower curtain, and I was worried that it was just a little too busy for the space. The gray one, however, was simple, a great color that went well with the existing patterned hand towel, gray plant pot in the shower, and gave a nice neutral backdrop for the bright colored painting/accessories. As if those reasons weren’t enough, it was actually only a flat sheet (instead of a sheet set, where we were buying a fitted sheet and pillowcases as well that we didn’t need) and it was on clearance for $15:

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It was a super easy project to turn it into a shower curtain. I only had to trim a few inches off one side, sew that seam back up, then I cut the band off the top of the sheet, hemmed that, and sewed buttonholes to line up with the holes along the top of our shower curtain liner. Finished it up in one short afternoon.

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Even though the sheet made a thinner shower curtain than most ones you buy, I haven’t had any problems with it since we also have a liner on the inside.

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Showering is so much nicer now! When we only had the liner up, the air would blow the liner onto you while you were in the shower. Now, with the outside curtain up too, that doesn’t happen.

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Perhaps down the line, we’ll get a patterned rug to go in here to break  up all the solid areas of color, but for now, I’m happy with our little bathroom makeover and how little we’ve spent on it!

It had been a while since our living room had seen any love and it was in need of a little attention. The last time I posted about it on here was in our November House Tour, and although it had come a long way from these previous posts about it (getting our couch, getting our loveseat/rearranging/drop cloth drapes/adding a lamp & tv stand, adding a living room gallery wall, adding our painting) it was still a little lackluster, in my opinion.

Here it was then (as of November 2012):

There were just a few little things that bothered me that needed tweaking:

  • I was tired of the pink pillows on the couch (I love deeper raspberry pinks, but I’m kind-of over hot/Barbie-like pinks right now). Not that Drew really cares that much about what I put in the house (and I don’t think he ever gave a second thought to our couch pillows), but I wanted something that maybe he would be inspired by/excited about as well (and that wasn’t going to happen with the pink floral print). Overall, I thought our previous pillow situation just looked a little mis-matched and not all that inspiring together.
  • Decorating around our crazy green couches can be a little difficult (how I wish they were a warm grey linen color!) and the previous color scheme of the room altogether just wasn’t doing it for me. I wanted a little more specific color direction in here.
  • The bookshelves needed just a little tweaking, re-arranging of things and adding in a little more art and personality.
  • The coffee table! Our coffee table I’ve had since I was in high school, it used to be in my bedroom in my parents house. I found it for $15 at a used furniture store close to my hometown and it was probably my very first home related DIY project. I had my dad’s friend cut the legs down to make it a little shorter (I wanted to be able to sit on the floor and use it to work on art/school projects) and then I painted it black (don’t ask me why, I had questionable taste back then). After 6+ years, it was looking a little gross — the paint was chipped and it never fully cured correctly and always stayed a little tacky (anytime you put a magazine or anything on it, it would stick to the table!). It was in desperate need of a makeover, to say the least.

So, in short, that was the list of things that needed to be addressed. Drew and I are on Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover so we didn’t have much of a budget to spend on this room, so most of the above issues were addressed with a little DIY and elbow grease. I made some new pillows, brought in more of my own art for the bookshelves (fabric paintings from my BA Exhibition) and paint-stripped down our old coffee table. For just a little bit of money (on some pillow supplies and paint-stripper) we ended up with this:

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I love the pops of the pretty blues! Teal and turquoise are really trendy colors right now and I’m so in love with them! My favorite skinny jeans are teal and it is our branding color for our business. It is a color that works really well with a lot of the other rooms in our house (not that your whole house has to match exactly, but I think it is nice when rooms flow into each other and all have a cohesive feeling/design aesthetic), our laundry room has a blue tile floor and teal curtains (the same ones from my freshman college dorm room) and there are pops of it in our foyer (you can’t see it in the pictures, but that big plant in the corner is planted in a huge teal planter pot) and my office (painting taboret, bowl/books/yarn on the white cabinet) as well. Overall I think it gives the room a more clean, simple and fresh look. It just seems like such a happier room now!

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The two largest pillows (the turquoise velvet ones) are from World Market and the other two (the patterned ones and the smaller teal ones) I made out of World Market cloth napkins (these and these). Cloth napkins are a great way to find just the right amount of fabric for pillows like this! Usually they are pretty inexpensive and you can find some great patterns! I didn’t spend a ton of money on these pillows, but I think they really make a big difference in the room!

As for the coffee table, I paint stripped all the black paint off, then sanded it down. I decided to just use some coconut oil (I already had on hand) on it for now. I love how much brighter the wood tone feels in the room compared to the black! Eventually I’ll give it another sanding to get the rest of the paint out of the little cracks and then perhaps stain/oil/seal it better, but I wanted to live with it as is for now to get a better idea of exactly what I wanted to do with it. (My original thought was to leave the top wood and then paint the base gold, but after spending so much time getting the old paint off, I don’t want to put any more paint on it until I’m 100% sure about it!)

before after coffee table makeover

The overall changes in the room are pretty small, but I think they make a big difference! Here are some side-by-side comparisons:

before after looking into living room and foyer

before after living room couch

before after living room wide

What colors are you crushing on right now? I’m so into teal and gold!

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Couch and loveseat are from Compass Furniture in New Orleans, television/media cabinet is from Target, coffee table was thrifted years ago (it used to be in my bedroom in my parent’s house when I was in high school), white bookcase is from IKEA, painting was a wedding gift from my sister and her husband (by New Orleans artist Adam Hall), gallery wall photos were taken by me, curtains I made out of drop-cloths, big turquoise velvet couch pillows are from World Market, teal and patterned pillows I made from World Market cloth napkins (these and these), light blue pedestal side table from Nadeau in New Orleans, cream and white damask throw, wire basket (filled with yarn on bookshelf), and wooden @ symbol from TJ Maxx, floor lamp is from Lowe’s, silver table lamp is from Compass Furniture (scored it for $15 with a Living Social Deal!),  8×10 area rug from Lowe’s (scored it for $15!), glass candy dish, basket (on the floor at the end of the loveseat), wooden ladder and quilts were thrifted, basket (with magazines in it behind the french doors) was a wedding gift, landscape painting on the bookshelf was a wedding gift (painted my Drew’s mom’s good friend and my 8th grade teacher!), globe was mine from when I was little bought for me by my Mamaw, the chalkboard message board was from our wedding (originally from here), and the two abstract paintings and ceramic artichoke were made by me.

Much of my time over the last few months of this past semester were spent here:

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This was my studio space in the Advanced Painting room at Tulane. I shared this room with several other pretty cool people (and pretty awesome artists). Our end goal was to produce a body of work for our end-of-the-year, Bachelor of Arts Exhibition. Our exhibition was up in the Carroll Gallery at Tulane from May 9th-May 17th.

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It was a really awesome experience to have my work shown in a gallery. Here is my final exhibition, a quilt series of twenty-four (I actually did more, these were just the ones I ended up showing) abstract landscape paintings, painted on cotton quilting fabric, some fabrics sewn together, and some including machine and hand embroidery.

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My artist statement:

I grew up in rural Southern Illinois on land that has been passed down through my family for generations. Before I started school, I spent every day with my grandmother, who encouraged my love of watercolor painting and being creative and who established the foundation for my personality and moral beliefs. My grandpa wrote stories, fished everyday, and grew a huge garden that I helped him harvest. I loved snapping off the ripe asparagus, helping my grandma cook, and laying in the hammock in their backyard. Just down the road was my own house, where I climbed trees and ran through the creek with my sisters and brother, helped my dad work in the yard and feed our chickens, and helped my mom plant flowers and herbs, cook and bake. Throughout my childhood, my mom imparted to me her creative knowledge – sewing, hand embroidery, cross-stitch, smocking, machine embroidery, knitting, crocheting, and basket weaving.

After moving to New Orleans for college, I started thinking more about my own childhood and the different backgrounds of those around me.  I began to really question the idea around our sense of place—how people live, where they live, why they live there—the spaces people create for themselves. How do these places impact our personalities and our interests? During this time, I also developed a love for interior design—a way to carve out a space for myself that felt comfortable and familiar, a place where I could mix my former and current worlds in a way that was also beautiful and intriguing.

My art aims to capture a sense of personal history, exploring both the past and the present, questioning the differences in the city and the country, and highlighting domestic pursuits and interior spaces and exploring their connection with the natural world. I’m interested in the juxtaposition of interior and exterior spaces—nature and domesticity, home and homestead, city and country—but also interested in how they work together and are innately connected. Because of my upbringing, I’m very interested in the use of sewing, embroidery, quilting, fabric and pattern and how those elements can intertwine with paint to create images. I’m also interested in the elements that make up interiors—paint, fabric and textiles, wood textures, natural elements, metal finishes—and how many of those elements find their roots in the natural—cotton, linen, wood, and minerals. One of my aesthetic and conceptual goals is to somehow marry interior and natural elements into a single image, developing a quilt of sorts, that evokes a feeling of comfort, sentiment, and history that an interior of a home or a familiar natural setting provides.

If you want to check out more of my artwork, you can visit my portfolio website, here.

To check out work from the other artists showing with me, visit our exhibition website, here.

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