Wednesday, October 30, 2013

One Room Challenge Week 5

It is hard for me to believe we are getting close to the end here with the beginning of week five - the month of October has flown by! - but we did have some exciting progress at Church Street in the last few days and all I can say is I could not be happier that I have an extra roll of this wallpaper in my possession. It is totally fabulous and I am going to be using it again - for myself. Sorry, Sophie!

Michele at My Notting Hill suggested a powder room and she is right on - I am going to use it in the downstairs half-bath of our cottage in Rhode Island. And I would like to take a moment to give a shout-out to my painting and wallpapering contractor, Jeff Wilmot, who got this job done in three days - because I asked him to. Seriously! Who wants this guy's number?
Jeff and his colleague Tricia who did the paper installation

Tricia did such a beautiful job of hanging the paper as well as the detail work of disguising the switchplate and outlet cover on the wall.


New developments...I am having a cabinetmaker in Boston build a copy of the small Chelsea Textiles bureau that will be Sophie's bedside table but reworked as a bookcase for the other side of the bed. When I did the new floorplan for Sophie's room I inserted a place holder on the right side of the bed balancing the bureau on the left. At the time I wasn't sure what we would put there.

Like all serious readers, Sophie has a collection of favorite books she likes to revisit and wanted a place in her room to keep them. A few years ago I had a pair of bookcases made that were modeled on the same Chelsea Textiles frame, shown below in my living room.

The version for Sophie's room will be scaled down to the proportions of her small bureau.

Lastly, Sophie has been looking for some decorative accessories to complement the redesign of her room and this petite lacquer tray for the bedside chest was her first purchase. I thought it was a great find - chic and very inexpensive - source (you won't believe it!) here.

Fingers crossed that the window shade will arrive in the next few days so Sophie can move back in (even though we will still be waiting on the headboard.)

If this is your first visit...the One Room Challenge, or ORC, is a semi-annual event, organized by Linda at Calling It Home, where 20 bloggers made up of Professional Designers, Interior Design aficionados, and Diy'ers share the transformation of a room from start to finish. Over the course of six Wednesday's we write about our progress. You can catch up on my previous installments here at Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One Room Challenge Week 4

Welcome to Week 4, the post about steps forward but mostly steps backward. Setback #1: the seafoam green linen we selected for the headboard and bedding was discovered to have a flaw running down the center of the entire length of the yardage. I probably didn't mention before that it was the last 17 yards available in that color - IN THE WHOLE WORLD - but it was, so we ditched the linen and went with a Norbar cotton, 'Wendi', in Tide and White, colors almost identical to our original choices. After comparing the cuttings I decided that the cotton was probably a better weave for the application anyway, which, combined with the fact that it was more than half the price of the linen, made me feel like we actually ended up better off.
Fabric Round Two

Setback #2: a misunderstanding about the amount of wallpaper I needed to order. After measuring and calculating the quantity needed to accommodate the paper's 32" repeat, my painter/paperhanger, Jeff, told me to order two rolls. As I mentioned in week one, I very rarely use wallpaper - the two times I have purchased it in the last 10 years it was from European design companies and I was not clear on the fact that almost all US residential wallpaper comes packaged in 'double' rolls although it is priced by the 'single' roll. I placed my order for the paper on Schumacher's trade website where the online order form only gives one the option of ordering by the single roll (you see how this might be confusing?) Thinking I was following instructions, I ordered and paid for two single rolls and didn't give it a second thought when Schumacher sent one double roll. I thought it was the equivalent of two rolls; Jeff's reply, "Ahhh...no." Here is a very clear explanation of what you should know when ordering wallpaper: Single Roll vs. Double Roll Explained.
The not so fine - but definitely confusing to me - print

So this snafu necessitated reordering not just one, but two additional 'double' rolls. Why two? Because there weren't any remaining rolls in the same print lot as the one I already had and I wasn't willing to risk the second roll not being a perfect match, and, yes, I was too impatient to wait for a cutting! Also, I assumed I would be able to return the roll from the first order when 'claims' heard my plight. Guess what? 'Claims' cares about nothing but their 30-day return policy so I told Sophie I hope she LOVES this paper because it is going to show up in her life again - probably in her first apartment since we only need the tiniest bit of the second roll. She is not disappointed.
Wallpaper Round Two

And then, last Friday I arrived home after a long work day and discovered that Jeff, who had received a pleading email from me Thursday evening, had slipped in a few hours at the house that afternoon to get started on Sophie's room - even though it was not raining!

My hero.

If this is your first visit...the One Room Challenge, or ORC, is a semi-annual event, organized by Linda at Calling It Home, where 20 bloggers made up of Professional Designers, Interior Design aficionados, and Diy'ers share the transformation of a room from start to finish. Over the course of six Wednesday's we write about our progress. You can catch up on my previous installments here at Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

One Room Challenge Week 3

The focus of this week's ORC progress has been on seating. When the plan to redecorate her room was still in the conceptual stage, Sophie shared some of her ideas with Mr. H's mother. Nancy, who has always been a big influence in Sophie and her sister's lives, rightly pointed out that what the room has been lacking is a comfortable place to curl up and read - something Sophie does a lot of. Yes, the vintage slipper chairs were adorable but not really practical.

Nancy told us to find the chair and she'd make it her birthday present to Sophie. In my mind the chair needed to be on the small size as Sophie's room is tiny, just over 10' by 12', and have a rounded back as I envisioned it positioned in one of the corners. Sophie and I looked at several chair styles and both fell in love with this antique Napoleon III version.

One drawback of antique chairs is that the seats can be quite low - the seat of the above chair was only 13" high - so, guided by my friend Loi at Tone-on-Tone we found this chair from Lee:

photo: Lee

It is the perfect size at 27" wide by 32" deep, and only 33" tall so it won't seem out of proportion in a room with a low ceiling. While Lee offers an abundance of great upholstery choices they also have a COM option so you can send you own fabric, which we did - a simple, white cotton from Kravet - and we added a cute tufted ottoman so Sophie can put her feet up when she is lounging in her new chair.
photo: Lee

As I said last week, capitalizing on natural light is a priority in the redesign of Sophie's room. While contemplating her new chair we considered where it would be best positioned for comfort as well as exposure to the window which led to our deciding to flip the furniture layout of the room and put the headboard on the wall where her desk had been and vice versa. I think this will put her work space in the room's brighter, open area and her sleeping space in the cozy eave.
The way the room was:


The bedroom's new layout:

In the last piece of seating news, I picked up Sophie's new desk chair at a great Swedish design shop in Hudson, NY, Hedstrom and Judd. I had spotted it there on a previous visit and when Sophie and I settled on the black Chelsea Textiles desk, Mr. H chauffeured me back down there in an epic day trip to collect it. He is a good man.


Still no painter, still hopeful that rain is on the way and he might show up this week.

If this is your first visit...the One Room Challenge, or ORC, is a semi-annual event, organized by Linda at Calling It Home, where 20 bloggers made up of Professional Designers, Interior Design aficionados, and Diy'ers share the transformation of a room from start to finish. Over the course of six Wednesday's we write about our progress. You can catch up on my previous installments here at Week 1 and Week 2.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One Room Challenge Week 2

As we begin week two I don't have much visible progress to share since last week but Sophie and I have made a lot of decisions. The first thing we had to do was finalize the paint selection as we are on 'short notice' with our painter/wallpaper hanger. As soon as it rains he is coming over. We spent several days contemplating four options I had mixed in sample sizes at our local Benjamin Moore dealer.

As paint will, the colors looked different at certain times of day. After much consideration our mutual feeling was that the sample that best matched the background of the Schumacher wallpaper had a slight yellow tint and the computer chosen match looked a little green. A third option just seemed dull while our unanimous choice at the lower left, White Chocolate OC-127, has a pure, luminous quality at all times of day. Sophie would like me to point out here that she suggested we sample it in the first place.

During the process of emptying Sophie's room and removing the heavy balloon shade I was struck by how much more light the room got. It became clear that the disadvantage of the single, north facing window had been exacerbated by the voluminous window treatment.


Capitalizing on the available natural light became a priority. I was set on curtain panels which would leave the window unobstructed when they were open, but when I went to measure I noticed (for the first time!) that the window in Sophie's room at the back of the house is positioned slightly higher than those in her sister's room at the front of the house - where I did hang panels - and the trim abuts the ceiling.


A curtain rod traversing the trim board would not have looked right and Sophie rejected the idea of a cornice built over the trim and hardware for fear it might bring down the already low ceiling. We settled for a flat Roman shade (like this is her sister's closet) that when raised will reveal much more window surface than the balloon shade did.

We decided it would be fun to use a little more of the wallpaper's 'Go Baroque' print as it is available in a coordinating fabric and I think the predominantly white material will not interfere with my priority of lightening up the room. As the repeat is so large we will get one frame centered in the shade, almost as it is below, and do a 2 1/2" border of Schumacher's 'Avery Cotton Plain' in ebony.


On to the furnishings. Sophie really wanted a new bed but that would have consumed too much of the budget for this project considering what else we wanted to do so we decided on an upholstered headboard. Add a coordinating quilt and bed skirt, and (in my opinion) you get a lot of bang for your buck. The shape Sophie chose from my workroom...

I like that the corners echo those of the square frame in the wallpaper pattern.

Using the Norbar linens we selected, the headboard and quilt will be made in the seafoam green with white piping and the bed skirt in white with a seafoam border.

As I mentioned last week we were considering Chelsea Textiles for furniture options and decided on using their black and Gustavian grey finishes, black for drama - which is Sophie's priority - and grey because I like it.


It's my feeling that the clean lines of the Gustavian reproductions will provide a nice balance to the curvy wallpaper print. We ordered their 'writing desk with one drawer' in the black finish (which, unfortunately, will not arrive until November) and I recently spotted a coordinating desk chair that I am hoping to pick up soon.


Since storage space is limited in Sophie's room we chose the 'small bureau' for her bedside table in the Gustavian grey finish. Last week I drove down to New Jersey to pick up the chest which was in stock at the Chelsea Textiles warehouse - longtime readers will know I love a road trip - and here it is, not being shown to its best advantage, in my garage.

The stretch of good weather expected in the week ahead does not make a visit from our painter look promising, but I am ever hopeful! Let it rain!

If this is your first visit...the One Room Challenge, or ORC, is a semi-annual event, organized by Linda at Calling It Home, where 20 bloggers made up of Professional Designers, Interior Design aficionados, and Diy'ers share the transformation of a room from start to finish. Over the course of six Wednesday's we write about our progress. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

One Room Challenge

I am thrilled to be participating in this fall's One Room Challenge; many thanks to Linda at Calling It Home for organizing it and for including me. This is a semi-annual event where 20 bloggers, made up of Professional Designers, Interior Design aficionados, and Diy'ers, share the transformation of a room from start to finish. For the next six Wednesday's we will be giving you updates on our progress.

Conveniently, my daughter, Sophie, who will be 17-years-old this December has been hinting that she'd like to redecorate her bedroom which we designed together when she was 12.

I understand why she feels she has outgrown it and think redecorating is the perfect birthday present.

The challenge here is going to be designing a plan we can agree on - our personal styles are quite different. Sophie is a writer and highly creative. She is about color, drama, and statement pieces. I am about neutrals, simplicity and stressing the importance of investing in timeless pieces, preferably influenced by Swedish Gustavian style. Can these two aesthetics be merged?
chairs 1stdibs here and here

When we decorated Sophie's room five years ago I was not enthusiastic about painting it pink but felt it was important to let her express herself and I am committed to doing the same this time around. Now she'd like something modern and sophisticated in her personal space, and mentioned an interest in wallpaper - which I rarely use but am by no means opposed to. I immediately thought of a beautiful hotel room in Paris that Mr. H and I stayed in the summer before she was born. In a classic French style the room was decorated entirely in a toile print very similar to the room below.

Rather than feeling confining, it made the petite room seem much more spacious. I thought it was the perfect treatment for Sophie's small bedroom - but this was not to be. When I set Sophie loose in the Schumacher showroom she came back with an assortment of whimsical, large scale wallpapers. Very large scale. As I began to explain the difficulty of applying a large repeat to the particulars of her room, with the west-facing wall built into the eave of the roof and its low ceiling, she politely stopped me to say we were only going to apply it on one wall - something like this. Modern.


Of the selection of papers there were a few that I immediately eliminated without much fuss from Sophie - I think she was just testing my limits - but there was one we agreed on: 'Go Baroque' - a black and white print of Rococo style mirror frames.

It satisfied Sophie's desire for drama and I consider black a neutral so we had a starting point. The paper would go up on the wall behind her bed and the rest of the room would be painted white to match the background. Next we discussed introducing color. Sophie had always admired some Chelsea Textiles pillows that were a gift from my sister and I suggested the color scheme would work nicely with the black and white - it would be a timeless combination. Sophie agreed and I selected seafoam green and ivory linens from Norbar that coordinated with the pillows.

On to the furnishings. Sophie's room contained a selection of 19th-century reproduction, painted French pieces that had belonged to my great-grandmother. They didn't suit the sophisticated look she had in mind and I felt it was important to balance the wallpaper print with clean lines. Her furniture was also regularly flaking off a lot of paint (lead paint!) so I decided to put it in storage until I could have it restored. Some time was spent considering what replacements we could find that I would consider a good investment yet would appeal to Sophie's taste. During the year we spent in a rental while renovating Church Street, Sophie's bedroom contained an antique set of black Chinese Chippendale furniture borrowed from my sister. She loved it. Why not introduce some of Chelsea Textiles Gustavian reproductions in their black finish? Sophie approved. I suggested we use two different finishes to mix things up.

As for the overall design there are specifics still to be determined and we are undecided on how to treat the window, but we are both pleased with what we will be working with.

I have a painter/wallpaper hanger lined up. Unfortunately he is very busy - everyone here is rushing to get outdoor painting done before the weather makes it impossible - so I am hoping for some rainy days when he will want to work indoors.

We are ready for him.