Friday, March 30, 2012

Trash Transformation

A few days ago I told you that we are in the midst of several projects at Bradford House. I hate to keep y'all hanging for so long, so I grabbed a few shots of one of the smaller transformations we have been working on.  It is also a teaser for one of the bigger items we have been occupying ourselves with this week. I don't want to give it away, but let me just say that paintable "beadboard" wallcovering is not just for walls.

In this little project, we used the paintable beadboard paper to line the bottom of an old tray we found in a junk pile. Bless it's heart, but that poor tray had been sloppily slathered in white paint and was practically crying for help. How could we resist -- especially since we also had some leftover beadboard paper.

If you are not familiar with paintable wallcovering, you can find it in the interior decorating section of most home improvement stores. Some paint stores also carry it. The paper comes prepasted in various patterns and is super easy to work with because the pattern repeats are usually very small.  Here is what it looks like:

For starters, we gave our tray a instant character by applying the faux beadboard to the surface of the tray.
We let it dry overnight as the instructions directed. 

In the next step, (which I totally forgot to photograph) we used gel stain to highlight the grooves and distressed areas of the tray. We also faked some distressing on the beadboard paper using acrylic paint. Then, using a water-thinned, robin's egg blue latex paint (2 parts paint to 1 part water), we lightly washed over the entire tray. When that dried, we lightly sanded the edges and handle areas to remove the finish to give it an aged, weathered look.

Finally, we brought it in and ACCESSORIZED!

The pale, grey-blue hue goes great with the calm, beachy colors of this vignette.
The simple addition of the once trashy tray really ties the accessories together and
packs a lot more flair than a typical arrangement of books and flowers on a table.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Past Projects

We've got a lot of small projects underway at the moment, but no photos yet. Sorry.

I promise that by next week we will have at least one great before-and-after inspiration project that almost ANYONE can do. I can't wait to show it off. I have high hopes for this one.

Until then, we thought the new blog might be a great opportunity to show off some photos from past projects. Enjoy -- while we go finish up those current projects.

Project 1 -- Dining Room Spruce-Up

Fresh potted orchids in antique planter, new accessories, powerful artwork,
coordinating place settings and lots of ambient light make this dining room a hit!

Project 2 -- Big Space Made Cozy

A cozy conversation area is created by adding new club chairs in this oversized family room.

Project 3 -- A Great Remodel

This project was the renovation and addition of space to a small, choppy floor plan. We started by transforming the existing great room into a new dining room space suitable for the large family that often gathers here.

We were fortunate that the owner had great furnishings
along with an amazing collection of antique pottery, art, and chinoiserie.

A dining room fireplace is a feature not typically found in new construction.
We believe the unusual amenity adds character reminiscent of traditional southern homes.

The tiny old dining room presented quite a space planning obstacle for the owners.
"What do you do in here?" was a question we frequently pondered.
Now the space is a high-functioning multipurpose room.
It does double-duty as a writing/work area on most days,
but quickly transforms into a gorgeous buffet table and extra seating for parties. 

An addition of space was made to the existing floor plan at the rear of the home.
A 24'x20' Great Room was added to give the homeowners a more livable, open, and inviting area to live and entertain. 
Neutral wall colors and plantation shutters add to the light and airy feel of the space.

The new space features a cohesive, but eclectic mix of furniture and accessories,
ambient lighting, tray ceilings, recessed lighting, surround sound,
and artwork created by the owner.

Project 4: Kids' Kingdom

The transition from little kid to young adult can present lots of decorating challenges.
This room is a great example for addressing that dilemma.
Who knew army green fatigues and dress khakis could provide such
incredible inspiration for home interiors?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On Target: The Hidden Point Project

Recently we were asked to "dress up" target areas of a nearly vacant home. We had two days, virtually no budget, and barely anything available to borrow, repurpose, or reuse from the owner. Despite those obstacles, the agent wanted to show off the home's potential to buyers.

We did an initial walk-through to assess what areas could be improved with little or no expense. Even though the owner had moved nearly all of the furniture out of the home, we found two rooms and a breakfast area where furnishings remained. In addition, there were odd, single pieces of furniture, art, and decorative items scattered about the home. The contrast between furnished and sparsely furnished rooms made for a very schizophrenic experience.

There was little we could do about furnishing the empty rooms, so we focused on adding interest to key areas and amenities that most appeal to buyers. As for the almost vacant spaces, we fixed the problems of scale created by single items of furniture, accessories, or art.  

You can't see it from the photo, but when we walked into the empty great room, there was a single floor lamp toward the front of the room sticking out like a sore thumb. We asked about removing the oddly placed lamp, but learned that it offered the only light for the room. So ... it HAD to stay.  

The great room is a large, two story room. Unfortunately, the owner's small candlesticks and vase were lost in the space. We needed to match the scale with larger, chunkier accessories. The art was a needlework created by the owner's mother and was not being removed, so we made the color work for us.  

And -- yeah, that's the floor lamp. Putting it in the corner made more sense than having it greet visitors at the door.

In the kitchen, the biggest thing deterring buyers was clutter. We also saw amenities which were not being accentuated to their fullest potential. The corner display cabinet is a favorite of buyers, but only a mismatched conglomeration of plastic and glass was on display. After a thorough cleaning and decluttering, followed by the addition of a few coordinating accessories, the kitchen looks spacious and ready to welcome the family home.

The breakfast room got a little sprucing up too. We noticed right off that the table was missing some seating. When we asked, we learned that two chairs had been placed in the garage. So we immeditately had them returned to their rightful place.

The simplest, but most impactful change we made in the breakfast room was to center the table under the chandelier. As it was, the space seemed off kilter. Whenever scale and composition are off -- like from an uncentered table or an oddly placed floor lamp -- it can cause buyers to subconsiously view the space negatively; so we fixed it. Then we cleaned off the clutter and added placemats, napkins and a plant. Simple, but effective.

Another area we tried to play up was the butler's pantry between the kitchen and dining room. When we first visited, the space was being treated like an afterthought. With a framed sketch, a plant and some bar accessories, the sought-after amenity came to life.

Here are some additional before & after photos of various areas throughout the home.