Flowering our walls…

Bare-as-a-baby’s-behind walls….are about to be….JAMMED!

Sooooo tired of empty walls in our house and always on the lookout for something that isn’t a square frame to throw up there just to jazz it up a little.  Enter these darling Wallflowers by Umbra, which I found for a steal on Amazon.com.  Only where to put them…..

Our Guest Room, while swanky, has a few bare walls and with all of the heavy architecture and molding in the room, I thought it’d be a good idea to try something very neutral (i.e. white!) and whimsy on the opposite wall to the beadboard.  So here is basically how we did it….

Testing out a sample "blob" on the bed....

Using painter's tape to test out the "blob"

Makin' holes - there's no turning back now!

All done....with perhaps a wee bit o' tweaking in our future!

So it ended up turning out more quail-shaped than I expected, but we’re absolutely pleased with it!  The best part is that the Wallflowers kind of “snap on” to the nails and spin, so you can go into the Guest Room and just spin, spin, spin like a record….bad pun, but whatever.  C’mon – it’s SOMETHING on the walls!!!  Isn’t it time to celebrate!?!?


Mattress Mania!

Quick!  How many mattress store jingles do you know by heart via their radio commercials?

“It’s not too late to sleep like a baby…Mattress World.”

“Why buy a mattress anywhere else…DING!”

Honestly, I rarely, if ever, listen to commercial radio stations – I’m an NPR Addict, through and through.  But when we’re working around the house, I abso-pos-i-tive-ee-lute-ly have to listen to Classic Rock.  It’s just a thing – I picked it up from my uncles and brother who would pour concrete, jackhammer a drain and work around the house, listening to Ozzy, Zeppelin, and the occasional AC/DC thrown in.  It’s like “movin’ music” to me.  And I have totally convinced my hubs that *that* is what you listen to when you’re working around the house – there simply is nothing better!

On that topic, I’ve been hearing more and more mattress commercials (because we’re doing more work around the house that requires “movin’ music”), and they have been taunting me as if to say, “So do you think your neck can take any more abuse, punk?  Well, DO ya?!?”  And the answer is NOOOOOOO!!!!  Seven years has done a number on our Queen Pillowtop bed that used to be so dreamy and comfortable…

But lately when we retreat to our bed every night, sore from painting, hammering, and bending over to reach tools, we’ve been waking up *more* tired, *more* sore and just downright poopy feeling.  Coffee can only do so much, ya know….So it has come to pass and we need a new mattress.  But the old one is still in reasonably good shape and will last a good long time in a Guest room where it only gets used once or twice a month….(*wheels turning*…) ….

Since we knew we’d be entertaining family throughout the summer months here in Stumptown, we were on a timeline to find a mattress – STAT!  We only have a full-size bed in our guest room and my mom is not afraid to tell me that the reason she and my dad have been married for 40+ years is because they have a king sized bed at home (a subtle but pretty obvious hint at her uncomfortability when she comes to sleep with us…).

…which means that an upgrade from a full to a queen might just be what the doctor ordered (it’s only 6 inches longer and 5 inches wider, but who’s counting?).  So here’s the bed breakdown as of right now:

  • Master Bedroom: New Queen Mattress, Simmons Beautyrest (no pillowtop – we’re over it!)
  • Guest Bedroom: Old Queen Mattress, Sealy Posturepedic Pillowtop – still comfortable enough for a Guest Room
  • Old Full Mattress…..hrmmm….to sell?  To donate??  What to do??

Well, we looked around the house and we landed next door in the Room of Requirement…

….a room so barren that it was just screaming for a little love!  And I know I said we were going to kind of “take a break” from renovating and such – I should just add that there’s *always* something to do around here….so stay tuned when this Mattress Mania takes hold of ye ol’ Tell’er All About It crew in the coming weeks…it’s gonna be fun!

Before & After Bliss: Be our Guest…Room!

It’s finito!  The Guest Room is finally finished and we can finally break out the good china and start singin’ “Be Our Guest” like the Broadway singers we are….not!  Not only does this transformation look like a million bucks, but it smells better than its former “Smoking Allowed” persona!  It’s certainly not “new carpet” smell, but that will come later when we finally shell out the big bucks for new carpet (probably sometime in 2011-2012).  We also have the satisfaction of knowing that we didn’t spend an arm and a leg for this gorgeous transformation – though we did *use* our arms and legs….and backs and knees and feet….ouch!  We’re still hurtin’ from this transformation and glad that it’s over!  But what about the big reveal?!  Ok, fine – here it is!  Remember what this dull Builder’s Buttercream painted room looked like before we moved in?

Well, here’s what it looks like as of now…after our Ben-Gay inducing transformation and without the benefit of sunshine to brighten things up a bit:

Isn’t the beadboard-plate rail combo just dee-lish?  And doesn’t it just provide a certain little some’n some’n to that room?  The plate rail is probably my favorite part of the whole room – architecture *and* organization in one?!  Seriously H-A-W-T!  And what’s even better, is that this project has been weighing heavy on our minds ever since we broke out the Monty Python references back in September with the proclamation of our Quest!  And here we are, close to 6 months later and it’s *finally* completed!  And it couldn’t come soon enough – Dr. J’s Grandmother is coming to visit this month and we wanted to be sure to get it all ready for its proverbial close up in time for her anticipated (though brief) arrival!  But enough about that, here are a few close up shots of the Guest Room in case you can’t make the flight out to the Pacific Northwest…

We still need to hang some artwork and play with furniture arrangement a bit but overall, we’re super excited about the results and can’t wait to welcome guests to our new digs when they come to visit!  We still can’t decide if the bed on the beadboard is a permanent home or if we should put it in front of the window for an added sense of drama and a better view to that gorge beadboard!  Eventually, when we go to sell, we’ll probably “stage” it so the bed is in front of the window so that potential buyers can look at the pretty woodwork, but the room does flow better this way.  But seriously, You Tell’Us!  How did we do and would you want to come visit us in the Pacific Northwest now that you have a swank bathroom and spiffed up guest bedroom to sleep in?!

And lastly, are we crazy?  Probably so, but you’ll either be devastated or excited to know that Tell’er All About It has decided to take a mini-spring break and hold out on major renos and DIYs for at least a couple of weeks.  We’ll explain more on why later, but I can tell you that a) I’m not pregnant (so stop asking!) and b) it’s yet another bribery technique to get people to come and visit – hehe!

So how did we get to this point?  Feel free to check in on our other installments in this room, like how we came up with a plan, choosing the paint colors, hanging and painting beadboard, and installing the crowning achievement in this room, baseboards and crown!

Crown our Guest….Room

And by “Crown” I mean “Molding”. As in the “crowning achievement” of our Guest Bedroom. And here is a question for the ages – is it molding or moulding? I think it depends upon who you ask, but I’d just like to say that here at Tell’er All About It, we swing both ways. Just kidding! Actually, I did hear something interesting not too long ago – did you know the reason most molding/moulding is traditionally painted white? Because it was traditionally made with plaster and plaster was always white back in the day.  And in order to create it, you had to use a mold, hence, “molding”!  Learn something new every day, don’tcha?

The Guest Room continues its process of beautification! We started by painting the room, then we installed beadboard along the accent wall, and now we’re onto molding and baseboards! We’ve definitely tackled our fair share of baseboards in this house and the Guest Room was not free of the baseboard replacement spirit! This will mark the fourth time we have tackled a Baseboard project. The first was in our Office, second was in the kitchen when we hung beadboard the last time, and third was in our family room/front entryway. So when we went to tackle the baseboard project we had a pretty good idea of what we were doing. Couple that with the fact that Justin now has a Compound Miter Saw suited to cut baseboards and molding and we felt pretty confident in what we were doing!


…we’ve never hung Crown Molding before…and after our misadventures this past weekend, we almost completely swore off ever attempting the project again (but just almost….)! It’s realtively counterintuitive to what you would expect and even all of the experts profess that it certainly *is* counterintuitive and many websites we researched actually recommended buying much more crown than you actually need simply so you could mess around, make mistakes, and play with the wood. We didn’t suspect it would be so….downright odd, but I’m happy to report that we prevailed in the end….sort of ;-).

So what makes Crown such a stinker? First, crown hangs at a 45 or 38 degree angle (yes, I said 38!) to the wall, so when you cut the crown, you need to not only cut a MITER, but also a BEVEL. Essentially, you’re not working on simply an X and Y axis, but also a Z axis if you remember your trig classes from high school. So what does it all mean? A great big learning experience for L-blogger and Dr. J here at Tell’er All About It! Fortunately, we were able to get the crown completely hung and we were able to fudge any mistakes with a whole lot of caulk, paint, and sanding and we think it came out better than all right. But, seriously….You Tell’Us!  How did we do?

Bead our Guest….Room!

Our makeover of the Guest Bedroom continues!  After deciding upon a plan and then painting our room, we went forth with installing the showstopper in the room: the beadboard accent wall!  We love beadboard and have already installed it on the back of our kitchen island to great effect and popularity!  But we liked it so much in our kitchen that we decided that the beadboard needed a sequel….so why not the guest bedroom?  Since we had one wall in particular that was such a bold color (Glidden’s Spiced Gingerbread if you’re curious), we also thought it would be a good idea to temper all of that bold color with something very classic, crisp, and clean, so we felt beadboard would be the perfect solution!  I also loved the idea of incorporating what is known in the Craftsman style as a “plate rail”.  It’s actually very similar to a chair rail, except it’s raised higher on the wall (about two-thirds of the way up the wall)so that you can display (duh!) plates and other trinkets!  Typically they’re put in dining rooms, but I just had an inkling that putting it in a bedroom would look tres-chic!  Kind of like the inspiration photo below:

So we decided to do just that!  Only instead of a knotty pine finish, we decided to paint the beadboard white and instead of putting it all around the room, we’d take inspiration from the photo above (and others on the internet) and simply do it on one wall.  Hence, our Guest Bedroom looked a little unfinished once we finished painting last week:

Hey, no sense in wasting paint if we’re just going to cover it, right?  And since we knew we were also going to install crown molding and replace the baseboards, it allowed us to skip that pesky step of taping!  UGH!

Now if you’re looking for a step-by-step tutorial on how to install beadboard, fortunately, we’ve already tackled that!  You can check out this link to go see the process.  And honestly, once you’ve tackled installing beadboard once, it’s actually pretty intuitive and fun to install, so you’ll get the beadboard fever and want to install it everywhere!  Trust me, it just looks too damn good not to!  But word to the wise….it is pretty time-consuming, which explains why so few builders will put it in their homes nowadays.  But the polish it brings is just top-notch!

One difference between the kitchen beadboard project and the bedroom beadboard is that we had to “cap it off” as in the photo at the top of this post to create the plate rail.  We took two equal-sized MDF planks (about 1×3) to create a shelf.  But before we hung that on the wall, we used a dado blade on our table saw to create a little “channel” on the back side of one of the pieces of MDF so that it would overhang the beadboard and cover up any rough edges, like so:

(we ended up having to use two pieces of MDF set end-to-end, so the photo above just shows you a little bit of a behind-the-scenes action before it was entirely installed).  After we installed the “rail”, we simply set the other MDF plank on top of that to create a little mini shelf:

…and while the above shelf looks very professional and pretty, we wanted to take it up a notch, so we purchased about the smallest piece of crown molding you can buy and installed it underneath for a more polished effect:

…and then all we had to do was paint, paint, paint….oh, and, yes, MORE PAINT!

Fortunately, the type of beadboard we purchase comes pre-primed, which is helpful.  But as you can see, it gets filthy dirty while you’re installing it, so don’t bother painting it before you install it.  We had to use hammers, knees, grubby hands and dirty shoes (there may or may not have been some kicking involved) in order to install those suckers on the wall.  But the effect just simply can’t be beat….

Oh, you’ll just have to hold your horses for the final reveal….

Speaking of final reveals, click here to see what the room looks like after the beadboard was completed and here for the fully monty reveal with furniture!


Paint our Guest….room….

Sing it with me, people!

Paint our Guest! Paint our Guest!

Put our Brushes to the Test!

Tape the walls and stir the paint, Cherie,

And we’ll create a mess!

A poet and lyricist I am not, but a DIY-ing machine…..? Well, *that’s* another story.

Normally, I wouldn’t devote an entire post to painting, but I have to admit that I did *not* (I repeat) did *not* use my no fear patent-pending-no-fail-color-picking process.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  Instead of trying to find the right color for our walls by picking up multiple chips and then painting said chips on the walls, I just went for a straight-to-video color match – i.e. I had a pretty color specific palette already picked out with this Pottery Barn bedding, which I just brought to the paint store to match up:

While the colors are on my hit list to get rid of, the money I save by re-using it is priceless (i.e. – FREE!). There are plenty of colors to choose from on that bedding, but how to choose the right ones?  Looking around the rest of our house, it’s pretty obvious that we generally like soft, neutral colors (see The Nickel Tour if you don’t believe me!). However, we both agreed that the soft, neutral colors, while beautiful and soothing, were already well represented throughout our house and we were ready to try something a little bit different! Not only that, but since this is a bedroom (i.e. it has a door and can be closed off from public view), it really allowed us to go a little bolder than we would normally just for the fun of it!  And remember, it’s only paint!  It *can* be painted over!

So since bold and beautiful is the theme, what colors do we choose?  There are many bold colors in this palette and we had to pick just one….or did we?  After careful consideration we decided to pick not one, not two, but three different colors!  Don’t be scared, it’s actually not that crazy!  This is the color palette we decided to go with:

From left to right it’s Glidden’s Spiced Gingerbread for the accent wall, Glidden’s Tawny Birch for the ceiling, and Glidden’s Honey Beige for the remaining three walls!  Oh, yea….did I mention we are painting the ceiling?!  We’ve never attempted a ceiling paint before, but for all those interested, painting a ceiling guarantees you will get more on your face than you will on your walls – hehe!  I looked a little more like a Toddler after a fingerpainting class than a trying-to-be-classy homeowner painting a room.  But I digress.  The ceiling was a bit of a pain to paint, but it was something that definitely had to be done due to the smokey smell in the room.  Should it come as any wonder that P-A-I-N-T has the word P-A-I-N in it?

Since we’ve decreed before that this room was likely the “Smoking Room” for the previous tenants (yes, this house was a rental), the smoke-y smell just had to go!  And since we can’t change the carpet straight away, painting is just about the next best thing.  It won’t get rid of everything, but it’ll certainly mask it for a little while.  We actually got a few helpful tips from some of our readers, when we brought up this pesky problem a couple of weeks ago on our blog, and we had a few helpful suggestions on how to best deal with this problem.  We decided to go ahead and take my big sis’ advice and paint the ceiling to just go ahead and be done with it.

So the final verdict on the paint colors….?

….cue the music….BE…..OUR….GUEST!

Prison Cell Turned Guest Suite!

One of the items on our “Quest” was to finally put together a Guest Suite where people could actually feel welcomed and not “imprisoned”.  While none of our inmates guests have ever told us they have felt behind bars when staying at our house, I feel bad that the last few times my Mom has come to visit, she has had to resort to using her suitcase as a nightstand, we didn’t have any window dressings on the windows, and our walls were as bare as a baby’s behind!  Talk about uninspiring!

Our Guest Room a few months ago...

So we had a few odds and ends that needed to be put into this room to just get it “functional”.  The painting and other details are going to have to wait until 2010, unfortunately, otherwise I would call this post a “Before & After Bliss”.  It’s still not blissful, but this is a good start!

The first step was to find a nightstand that loosely matched this piece:

This is a dresser that J found at a garage sale before heading off to college and I remember it was white, chipped, and definitely worse for the wear when we were both in school together.  Then in graduate school he sanded off (by hand – this was before he fell in love with power tools) the crusty white paint, painted it black, changed the hardware, and inspired me to do the same with several other pieces that we owned (namely an old knotty pine bookcase and a knotty pine hutch).  So it’s obviously a piece that is pretty personal to J and after his incredible handiwork it’s really pretty, too, so we definitely wanted to work with it as opposed to buying new.  At first, I thought that this piece from Pottery Barn was in our futures, but the $199 price tag certainly wasn’t what the doctor ordered:

So, it was back to the drawing board to try to figure out what we were going to do.  We knew we wanted something small scale with two tiers, classic lines, and it made no difference if it was white, brown, or chartreuse – we could paint it and bring it back to glam!  Unfortunately, the pickin’s were pretty slim on Craigslist and we weren’t about to shell out close to $200 for an item that was going to reside behind a closed door most of the time, so Ikea came to the rescue once again!  This time with their Hemnes nightsand in black!

It’s almost a total knockoff of the Pottery Barn version (albeit square) and at $59.99, it was well worth taking the extra time to assemble it on our own!  My mom won’t have to put her alarm clock on her suitcase anymore either since we had an extra alarm clock sitting around that we have set up for our guests as well.  I’m actually sort of jealous – it’s one of those “Sunrise” alarm clocks – the numbers are too small for me to read at night, so we decided to treat our guests to a little bit of luxury.  Le sigh…

Since we were at the great Swedish escape, we went ahead and purchased a small table lamp that at $19.99 was a total steal so we don’t feel the least bit guilty about adding a little bit of ambiance for our guests.  So the whole nightstand corner looks a little something like this:

After that, we finally hung some wall decor, like this lovely DIY artwork of our home states, appropriately hung in the room where people are often coming in from out of state:

And since we can’t talk about a Guest Suite without a little bit of “privacy”, we finally shelled out some clams for these lovely Bamboo Blinds from Bed, Bath, & Beyond so that the empty house next door doesn’t feel quite so “imposing”:

And since people coming in from out of town are often looking for things to do, we were sure to include some reading material of some of our favorite places and things just in case they get bored.  After we unpacked all of our books a few weeks back, it was nice to spread some of those books throughout the house:

So there ya have it!  Our Guest Suite is finally starting to feel like a home for somebody – just in time for Christmas!  All we need now are a few towels, some chocolates, and a few willing guests.  Checking in?

PS  This room still needs to be painted and “glammed” up – stay tuned for another 2010 project!