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Workin’ The Rainbow

October 14, 2011   //  Posted in: Bathroom, Bedrooms, Decor, Dining Room, Entryway, Flooring, Kitchen, Living Room, Office Space, Stairwell, Sunroom   //  By: Emily   //  9 responses
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Not terribly long after I launched Merrypad, I posted about my then-current paint palette.

That graphic looked something like this:

The color palette of the house. Exterior doors are purple. Downstairs are white, and the gold shades; Upstairs are whites, blues, and grays.

But in the last year, likely because I was challenging myself with blog-related projects and daring myself to try new products and colors, that palette has evolved. Not overnight or anything, just really slowly, really gradually over the course of time. Last week when I organized the pegboard and sorted all of my color chips into one centralized basket, I noticed something:

The palette had evolved into a full rainbow.

Updated palette happiness!

I’m not surprised. I’m always drawn to golds, oranges, and greens in this house. I’ve always loved all grays too. And the light blues and pinks made me happy when I browsed stores and picked through paint samples. There you have it. I’m indecisive.

And because I firmly believe that any color could work anywhere, I’m really not the right person to ask what color you should paint a room in your home.

Side note: I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again… I originally painted the dining room a cool lava coral pink. And it was fabulous. It didn’t work out in this space, but I will find a better use for it someday. I am holding onto the paint chip, after all.

Cool Lava by Behr. Awesome.

This whole rainbow palette might a little out there. Maybe you’re imagining that my house looks straight out of  Rainbow Brite, but I like to integrate all colors throughout all rooms to make the transition from room-to-room feel more cohesive, even when the walls are different colors.

I thought it might be helpful to show you how the colors balance out, and are working out. And I’m officially looking for a color-analyst to help me figure out what this specific combination says about my personality.

On the main floor, golds and greens rule the roost. White has been inserted as the more-neutral backdrop, covering the walls of the kitchen and unifying all of the trim. The four colors to the right side serve less-impacting roles, acting as decor accents and friendly pops of color. These are the four colors I tend to lean towards when I’m in home shopping mode or looking to refinish something with paint.

A refined rainbow palette of the first floor of my house.On the second floor, grayscale has been consistently ruling. More blues and whites appear between the guest room and office, but the decor throughout all rooms helps to tie the space together. The stairwell brings in heavy gold from the first floor; I love how the gray and that gold vibe together. And the hardwoods are consistent throughout (except with the need-to-be-replaced gray vinyl tiles in the bathroom).

An advanced upstairs palette.What’s your palette like and how have you seen it evolve with your tastes? Rainbow or not, I like seeing how others integrate the chosen palette throughout their house! Do share.

Ottoman Adoration (Volume 3 of 3)

October 13, 2011   //  Posted in: Decor, DIY, Living Room, Tools   //  By: Emily   //  16 responses
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The votes rolled in, were tallied, and… I still went with my gut.

When I started looking online for fabrics to cover the ottomans, I fell in love with this pretty, watercolor-esque Marimekko fabric and as much as I also liked the cocoa bean print that won out in the polls, this took the cake. And arrived in the mail earlier this week.

Fabric option #3. Marimekko! From reedrights on Etsy.Listed at $13.50 a yard, it was more expensive than most fabrics I browsed through, but the shipping prices were great and what can I say: I was thoroughly obsessed and dying to see it in person.

I actually expected it to be lightweight, like a quilting fabric, but when it arrived I was pleased to see that it was actually heavier; not quite a canvas, but definitely something worthy of being made into an ottoman cushion.

Oh, Insta-love with Marimekko.

I fashioned this second ottoman cover exactly the same way that I made my first (the one from IKEA fabric that you can read about over here), which was pretty much a glorified pillow case but custom tailored to fit really, really snugly on the ottoman frame and over the batting that I had wrapped around it.

Best fabric ever with the previously finished ottoman looking on.It was easier to assemble this second time around; I made the same 20″x20″ squares that I did the first time and pieced them together one-by-one.

Marimekko ottoman pieces. Coming together. Loving those colors. Before I show you how my new Marimekko-slipcovered ottoman turned out, check out the fabric that I chose for the third and final ottoman frame:

Gray felt. Can you believe it?Oh yes, you’re seeing that right. It’s sale-priced $2.99 plain gray felt.

Felt is the kind of inexpensive, sometimes over-starched fabric that I haven’t used since my days in Brownie Troop 748. But it’s back. Prepare to be wowed.

Inspiration struck when I was perusing Better Homes & Garden’s October 2011 issue and saw this amazing slipcover fashioned from a vintage Swiss Army blanket. The idea of a heavy, durable, and soft material won me over (perfect for wintertime).

Ottoman slipcover made from a vintage swiss army blanket. Not sure where to go about getting a similar blanket that didn’t cost a lot, and not wanting to chop apart my own Pendleton wool blanket, I searched on etsy and in stores for a heavy-weight wool alternative. Many searches yielded 5mm wool felt as a viable alternative, although it was pricy. At JoAnn’s, I found regular craft felt that was surprisingly soft (as I mentioned, I usually find felts too starched), and while it was nowhere near 5mm (probably just 1.5-2mm if I had to guess), I considered that doubling it up would be a good solution, because it would make the exposed seams 4x thicker than a single piece of felt, giving the illusion that I used a heavier piece of fabric to do the slip cover. Also, the price was great. Originally $4.99 and chopped to $2.99, I couldn’t say no for spending $6 on two yards of fabric (a price you can have too if you look for one of those 40-50% off coupons). At 72″ wide on the bolt, I had a lot of fabric to work with.

I cut the folded fabric into squares so that it was immediately doubled up, and began to sew it together. I’m happy to report that four layers of felt will fit easily through the sewing machine. Because I was tailoring and pulling the fabric as I fitted each piece, some edges ended up with a lot of overhang. On the other ottomans, the overhang wasn’t an issue because it was flipped to the inside edge of the slipcover, but here, it was going to remain exposed.

An assembled third ottoman cover.Enter the Husky 9.5″ Multi-Purpose Utility Scissors.

These babies were another birthday gift that found an immediate purpose in life, as my new heavy-fabric cutting shears. My previously best scissors were perfectly suited for cutting the 20″x20″ squares of fabric, but when it came time to make the outer facing seams consistent, the Husky scissors outperformed by cutting all four exposed pieces of fabric. At. The. Same. Time.

Evened seamed, thanks to my new awesome Husky utility scissors.It was stunning.

Evened seamed, thanks to my new awesome Husky utility scissors.The new trio of ottomans was looking pretty slick as a set, even though I’m not committed to them staying in the same room as a married group; I fully expect them to move around the house as I need them to.

Ottomans. And a dog who looks like he's about to howl.If I were to keep them lined up in front of the couch, for instance, they’d look something like this:

If we were to keep the ottomans right in front of the couch...

But because we decided that all three lined in front of the couch was a little too much ottoman and pattern in one single place, we divided them up throughout the room for now. In this more aerial view, check out the first one tucked alongside the fireplace, the felt one to left of the reclaimed trunk coffee table, but still usable from the couch, and the third Marimekko-covered one, to the right of the couch ready to be pulled into action in front of the wicker chair as extra seating or another couch footrest.

All three ottomans. At home.Three ottomans in three posts. How about that?

Anyone going to try making one at home? Anyone daring enough to try one with storage functionality? Because that’s what we’re eyeing next, and need some moral support.

Because It’s Like A Nice Raincoat… For Your Deck

October 12, 2011   //  Posted in: Deck, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  2 responses
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Deck weatherproofing is one of those nagging home maintance things that isn’t really interesting. I’m probably not going to change that. But it makes a world of a difference. So do it. 

Aw yeah, this is what a real deck should look like after a downpour.

This is the second year I’ve weatherproofed my unstained deck. If you have a stained deck, don’t rely on that fresh coat of stain to serve as waterproofer, go over it with a clear coat to seal the wood and block out, well, the weather. I felt a hell of a lot better with a foot of snow sitting on my deck for 2-months straight last winter knowing that the boards were impervious to the hazardous moisture, freezing, and expansion. More so than if I had done nothing, at least.

My deck remains unstained because I still dig the way lumber wears naturally. If I were to stain it, I’d probably aim for a medium-dark brown, but that’s not in the cards yet. Maybe a few years from now if the boards don’t weather from the sunshine evenly, but in any case, I’m not overly worried about that right now, but I am making a conscious effort to make the strong lumber last.

Deck. Pre-waterproofing.

I looked at the next 7 day forecast yesterday morning and cringed. It’s pure rain. And even if those meteorologists are only 40% right on, news of rain got me moving. It’s been dry for at least the last week, meaning that the board were totally parched and welcoming of a nice coat of weather-protectant. Far be it for me to speak for all deck owners, but natural wood decks in my experience do not require much maintenance, just a regular cleaning and some TLC. You wouldn’t go without sweeping your floors for years on end, would you?

Last year, I splurged on a 2.5 gallon-sized can of Thompson’s WaterSeal Clear Multi-Surface Waterproofer, which I figured was more than I needed for the deck at the time, but didn’t actually believe it would be enough for two years worth of waterproofing. It was a pleasant surprise that I didn’t need to invest in another container this fall. I’m sure there’s some kind of “the oil burned for 8 nights” story in there (except replace the oil with the waterproofer, replace burned with rolled, and swap 8 nights with approximately 350 square feet.)

Thompson's Waterseal Rocks.

In any case, both pergolas, railings, steps, the entire 275 sq. ft. deck, and the entire front porch received a fresh coat and are begging for rain and snow. So bring it on, Mother… Nature.

I started my weatherproofing process with the pergolas and second tier areas of the deck for good reason; weatherproofing the pergolas above your head is kind of a pain in the butt. There are inevitable drips, which is why I followed up with a good clean coat on the areas directly beneath the pergola. If left to dry in place, those drips that fell from the pergola may have left obvious spots where the coverage wasn’t even, so immediately smoothing them out helps immensely.

But that right there is the only thing I really think about when I’m in full-on waterproofing mode. There’s not much you can do wrong.

The deck surface itself is pretty easy to do in a quick afternoon with the right weather and the right tools. I’d prefer to have waited until the evening to get my coating on, but the sky was overcast and not blazing sun all day yesterday, which made for nice conditions. I understand that sometimes the sun dries the coating too quickly without giving it an opportunity to absorb fully, so shady days and evenings are typically recommended. A regular paint brush will take a little longer and (duh) feel just like painting a huge surface and, if you’re like most people you’re always going to be wanting to find a faster alternative. Consider reusing a cleaned paint roller, even if in my experience it tends to hold too much waterproofer and ends up going on thiiiick if you’re careless. The Thompson’s clearly says not to go hog wild on the waterproofing application, and I like to adhere to that recommendation by applying a single, thin coat with not too much excess. This might also be why I’ve somehow made a 2.5 gallon container last two summers when it’s only forecasted to cover 500 sq. ft. for the typical consumer coating smooth wood.  

My tool of choice for waterproofing application has been a repurposed paint edger, a 6″ flat paint rag-like tool with a handle that is meant originally for making it easier to cut into trim while painting.

Edging brush, repurposed.

In this case, it’s the perfect width to cover a 5/4″ deck board with a clean application of deck sealer in one fell swoop.

Edging brush, repurposed, and in action.

I will credit the paint brush for one second – it is nice to mash an old brush coated in waterproofer into the cracks between boards and into tight spaces; forgetting to coat the narrow gaps between boards is like forgetting to floss all year. The water will get in, and will damage your boards slowly over time (at a faster rate than the protected top surface).

In any case, after you coat the deck it’s going to go from looking like this (on the left) to this (on the right). I like to take this moment to think “Oh, so this is what the deck would look like if I stained it a subtle brown.”:

Left, un-waterproofed. Right, soaked and ready for the rain and snow.

You’re going to see an instantaneous improvement in it’s ability to repel water. Give it a few hours to cure and the go ahead. Flick some of your Diet Dr. Pepper on there and see how it levitates on the surface before the dog comes to lick it up.

You’re also going to be amazed when it rains for the first time and you see how the water just sits on the deck boards (in a little bit of a teasing fashion, pointing out where certain boards bow and warped to be more like spoons). Yes, it rained just last night, about 8 hours after I finished up the jobber. Talk about satisfying.

Aw yeah, this is what a real deck should look like after a downpour.

And the moral of today’s post is that you should treat your deck as well as your fancy clothes.

Accessorized with a rain jacket.