When Do You Need a Room Makeover?

I've been wondering about those one-day room makeovers. You know those transformations you see on TV decorating shows, where a designer comes in, paints the walls, and rearranges your furniture and accessories? In 24 hours presto! The space goes from sad to stylin'. Is it really possible to improve a space that much without buying new furniture? To learn more, I visited with Distinctive Nest's Sara Hunt Malone, a professional member of the Interior Redesign Industry Specialists, who has performed these makeovers for the past ten years. Take a look at this Before and After from Sara. Before color-room-before After color-room-after Wow. That Before reminds me of the keen bachelorette pad my pal Lisa and I shared in our twenties. We had the same dark-beamed ceiling and track lighting. The key to this makeover clearly was the color. With the white paint Sara Botoxed the ceiling, and taking a cue from the art piece, she bathed the walls in bold color. Sara says, "Color can make a room more cohesive and attempt to bring the style of the room into the 21st century – even when you can’t afford to replace certain items and furnishings." The room looks and functions better; the new furniture arrangement beckons visitors to enter. I'm impressed with what Sara accomplished using existing pieces. But there are times when the old furniture really won't work in a space, and new things are in order. Like when the scale of the pieces is wrong, as with this room: Before scale-and-placement-before After scale-and-placement-after Sara says, "Choosing the proper size furnishings and knowing how to place them can be the key to making a difficult floor plan work for you and your family. It isn’t always easy to choose the right variety and size of furnishings to enhance the esthetic value and maximize the space of your rooms. It's very spacial and many people aren’t trained to see that." Many of us Design Junkies are talented DIY designers who likely see more than the average person. But even we sometimes hit a room roadblock. I asked Sara how somebody knows that they may be in need of a room makeover. "Often, they are just sort of stumped by something; sometimes a decision that can't be made. Maybe they've been mulling over swatches up on the wall for a while now. It could be some life event that triggers a change, and the client just needs a little hand holding." Even if you suspect you may need to call in a pro for a problem room, "sometimes it's hard to ask for help," Sara says. "Especially with us women. We think we should be able to do it ourselves, we should know where to put our couch and what color to use in our rooms, but we can feel that something isn't working." Here are the most common problems Sara sees with the rooms she's hired to make over:
  • Lighting
  • Color
  • Weight & Balance
  • Furniture Placement, so items relate to one another and the room as a whole.
According to Sara, two of the most helpful steps people can take to improve a room are:
  1. Add more light. Have at least 3 sources of light in a room: Overhead, lamps and mood lighting.
  2. Think about the senses of sight, sound, smell and touch. Incorporate all of these in a room.
sara-hunt-malone I asked Sara to describe one of her most successful room makeovers. She replied, "There was a couple who had separate homes and we redid a room, combining things from both homes. After a week they set a wedding date." Sara says, "People don't realize how they are affected by their surroundings. It can change their life. You can't explain that to someone until it happens." Sara Hunt Malone plans to share more room makeovers with us here at HomeWorkshop. In the meantime, you can reach her through her San Rafael, CA design business, Distinctive Nest. Is there a room, or a problem part of a room, that's got you stumped?

Spoonflower Introduces Upholstery Fabric

Hot of the Presses...I just got the scoop from Stephen at Spoonflower that upholstery-weight cotton is now available for printing! carin-cress-flora Spoonflower is that magical place where you can print-on-demand your original fabric designs. That's sewdiva Carin Cress' Flora design above. Until now, only a lighter, quilting weight cotton was available. And although technically this is in test mode, those with a Spoonflower account can sign up now to order their designs printed on the upholstery fabric. This is SWEET news for us Design Junkies. So go for it! Design and print some fabric, then email us photos of the home projects you make with it! Isn't this exciting?

Ta-Da! Challenge # 2 Results

DIY Fabric Design

Okay home heroes and heroines; this one's a slam dunk. The theme for this Challenge was to create a design for a piece of fabric for your home. Since Casey was our trendsetting, early-adopter sole participant, let's see her project: casey-mermaid-fabric Casey batiked some satin into a whirlpool of silky aqua, green and purple. She was nice enough to share with us her DIY how-to's: --- Mermaid Fabric (First cover your table or floor with a thick layer of newspaper) 1. Using household wax, “batik” white crepe-back satin using an old, small paintbrush. (I used swirly designs to look like water) 2. To batik, melt the wax in a heavy, small pan using medium heat so the wax doesn’t ignite. Dip your brush in every few minutes so the wax is liquid. 3. If it smokes, TURN it DOWN! Be careful, the wax is HOT! 4. When you finish covering your fabric with your wax designs, let it dry. (Replacing the newspapers will help) 5. Crumple up the fabric to crack the wax a little. It makes a cool pattern in the wax. 6. Paint the colors using your choice of watered down acrylic paints. They need to FLOW & BLEND into each other. I used Ceramcoat. (Iridescent paint can be a nice accent too) 7. When you finish covering the fabric with your painted colors, let it dry. (Again, replace the newspapers) 8. To remove the wax, place a THICK pad of newspapers with a layer of paper towels on top on your ironing board. You DON’T want the wax to end up on your ironing board! Then with a medium high setting on your iron, iron from the REVERSE side of the fabric until most of the wax has melted down into the paper. It won’t all come out. But keep trying. 9. Then launder the fabric and dry it as usual. (With each washing it will be softer.) 10. Use your custom fabric in any project that would work well with satin. I backed mine with flannel and made a “Mermaid Blanket for my son, Tanner. He says he loves how silky and cool one side is and the other side is warm. He likes the colors too. (So do I!) 11. I even painted white fringe with the same paint (no wax) to match! --- Here's the Challenge inspiration project, my Coneflower Hugs fabric design. And now that I know about Spoonflower, this will soon become real fabric. coneflower-hugs-tan-lime-small hip-homeworkshop-mug Lastly, Casey get ready to warm your hands with your snappy HomeWorkshop.com coffee mug! Email me and I will get it to you. Here are the current Challenges for all you Design Junkies who'd like to give one a whirl:
  • Challenge # 3: Make over a piece for your home with a metallic finish. Due Wednesday, April 22.
  • Challenge # 4: Plant a spring container garden in an interesting container. Due Wednesday, April 29.
  • Challenge # 5: Make a lamp from an object in your home. Due Wednesday, May 6.
  • Challenge # 6: Create something for your space that includes your initial or monogram. Due Wednesday, May 13.

Sign Your Space — Challenge # 6

Put your personal stamp on your space; that's what I thought we'd do with this Challenge. monogrammed-b-artwork So, inspired by the swell monogram treasures we found last month, my daughter and I created our own initial art pieces. We both started with small (about 8" x 10") pre-primed, stretched canvases. Mine was oval, my daughter's rectangular. We gathered up some acrylic paints, brushes and some metal leafing supplies. sign-your-space-supplies She was speedy and decisive. She said she preferred free handing her 'P,' and "no Mom I don't need to use the silver or copper stuff." I have to say, I think hers is so loose and fun; we should all paint more like eight-year-olds. img_7161 After I painted the background on mine I was convinced it looked like a camo Easter egg, but I pressed on. I've wanted to try the metal leafing, so that's what I did with my monogram. And now I think I'll be copper leafing everything in site; it was so easy to use. So short and sweet, there's your inspiration. This week's Challenge: Design and create something for your space that includes your initial or monogram. Could be an art piece, a decorated tray for your ottoman, a pillow in the shape of an 'M.' Anything goes. Just needs to include an your letter, and has to be for your home. Have fun!

When you're done, snap a photo and submit your entry. Do so by Wednesday, June 10, 2009 to be included in the Ta-Da! Challenge Results post. We can't wait to see what you do!

Sign Your Space -- Challenge # 6

  • Submission Deadline: Wednesday, June 10, 2009
  • Ta-Da! Challenge Results: Thursday, June 11, 2009

Be the first to enter »

Copper Sinks Naturally Popular

Want a natural aesthetic in your next bathroom, kitchen or bar renovation? How about trading in that ceramic or stainless steel sink for the warmth of a copper one? corner-mount-copper-bathroom-sink Shawn Gusz of The Copper Sinks Store shared his know-how with me recently. “We have noticed a higher demand for copper sinks over the past couple of years," said Gusz. It's been influenced by the recent trend in bathroom and kitchen renovation, and "natural" or "green design". Copper is a 100% natural material, and provides that aesthetic." Like other options, copper sinks are available for bathrooms, kitchens and bars. Bathroom sinks are the most popular, because they cost less than the kitchen ones. You may need to budget elsewhere; the cost for a copper sink can run as much as twice the more common ceramic and stainless steel options, and even a bit more than some art-glass vessels.
Some of the most popular sinks are the smart, canoe-shaped vessel sinks for the bathroom . The Copper Sinks Store offers these in Antique Dark, Antique Light, and Satin Nickel finishes. copper-canoe-shaped-vessel-sink-in-satin-nickel I asked Shawn how the copper holds up to frequent use. He said it is “just as durable as a stainless steel sink. Copper can scratch, but since it's a solid material, the scratch is usually not visible." kitchen-farmhouse-apron-sink About the finish Shawn adds, "Copper develops a patina, which means the color of it changes as it reacts to the air and water. If left untreated it will turn a dark green.” Prevent this by "applying a copper cleaner or copper wax every 3-4 months." Installation is the same as for a standard-material sinks; no specialized knowledge is needed.
Do copper sinks shine with you? Tell us in detail what your dream bath or kitchen would look like with a copper sink.
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