Hicks House

From Builder Basic to Beautiful


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The Grommet Conglomerate

After our initial foray into window treatments for the dining room we could no longer hold out for all the walls to be painted before adding in the curtains for some other rooms. It just added so much more personality to the room.

The first set of curtains I actually purchased were for the living room so despite not yet being painted (it’s literally half the first floor as its “one” with the kitchen – kind of intimidating) we were ready to finally hang them. As the window in this room is a large double window it was extra important to hang the curtains higher and wider than the dining room allowed (hello stupid door frame touching the window frame).

The high and wide sounded great in theory… however there was a slight problem. I had purchased 84-inch curtains these from Target and letting out the bottom hem like I did to lengthen the dining room curtains wasn’t going to get me the length I needed.

After some debate on how best to do this the options were:

  • Add a panel of solid coordinating fabric
  • Try and return the 84 inch panels to the store and order the 95 inch panels online then shorten them
  • Undo the top AND bottom hems and add grommets to the top

From the title of this post I’m sure you can guess which option we decided to go with. We also we’re really liking the look of the grommeted panels in the dining room and how they fold back and forth as opposed to the traditional rod pocket panels, so even if we went for option two we would want to grommet them anyway.

So I undid the top and bottom hems and resewed a 1/2 inch seam like I did here and ordered two sets of this grommet kit online.

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

We then laid the panel out on the floor to have a flat work surface and followed marked evenly spaced dots across the panel about 2 inches down from the top. You have to leave enough space from the top to fit the entire grommet which is 2 3/8″ total diameter.

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

The grommet kit came with a “hole” template. You simply line the center up with each of your dots and trace.

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

It leaves circles down your panel that look like this:

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

Take a pair of scissors then cut them out. The individual grommets come in two pieces, we you line one of the pieces up with the hole you cut…

Attaching Grommets | Hicks House

line the other piece up and press till it snaps on. I was super paranoid that I was going to press to hard and crack the grommet. Luckily for me they are either incredibly sturdy or I’m not nearly as super-human strong as I think I am. Actually it’s possible both of those statements are true.

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

That’s it! Just hang them up and enjoy the more contemporary look the grommets provide.

Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House
Adding Grommets to Curtains | Hicks House

It’s a great way to add a bit of customization to bargain curtains, while still being cheaper than total custom curtains.

 

What do you think?  Do you prefer the look and the way grommeted curtains hang or are you loving the more traditional rod pocket look?

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Custom Art for the Living Room

If you’ve been following along with the blog (if you haven’t then shame on you!) you’ve read about the The Living Room Plan, and The Living Room Becoming Livable. As its starting to take shape we we’re talking about what kind of art should go above the fireplace. The builder wired for the cable and TV to go there but we had decided to move the wiring to the adjacent family room which was much bigger.

We both really wanted something abstract and cool. I saw this painting on Joss and Main and we fell in love. With everything but the price and the verticalness of it.

Inspiration Painting

Inspiration Painting

It was just so cool all the random shades of color. But for over $100 plus shipping and no returns I wasn’t sure. And before I could decide how unsure I was the sale was over and it was gone forever. But how hard could it really be? I mean the painting isn’t really of anything so how can you mess it up? So I measured the space above the fireplace, headed to Joann with a 40% single item coupon and bought a huge canvas.

I set up a small folding table in the craft room and covered with some scrap paper to protect it, broke out a 2-inch paint brush and some .50 tubes of acrylic paint (most of which I had at home left over from high school – it doesn’t go bad right?) and got to work. Using the inspiration painting – propped up on the iPad – as a guide I started painting. The great thing about the abstractness of it was the ability to simply paint over areas if I didn’t like the way they looked. The bottom of my canvas has much more paint on it because of this, it was coming out to dark so several extra coats were added to get the effect I wanted. Due to less use of paint on the top you can see brush strokes where I went back and forth real quickly but I kind of like the way it looks.

here's the finished product

here’s the finished product

I actually like it better than the original inspiration. It looks much better in our space. I had to place it up on the mantle to admire it.
painting-2

The statue on the left of the painting we fell in love with while out running errands one day, It helped jump start the painting process and inspired the color choices. The vases were a gift from my Aunt’s who surprisingly had not seen either the statue or the painting, but they look like they were custom chosen for that spot.

actually hung!

actually hung!

We loved it so much we actually hung it, despite not having paint on the walls yet. Ignore those pillows they came with the sofa and were so over-sized for both the sofa and the chairs they will be finding another home. I’m thinking getting a new cover and going on the Guest Bed.

one more view with the fireplace lit

one more view with the fireplace lit

I think its the perfect compliment to the space! So now our living room list looks like this:

  • Find and purchase two chairs a-la inspiration room style
  • Find and purchase sofa a-la inspiration room style
  • Ground the space with an area rug
  • Decorate the top of the mantle
  • Paint the art masterpiece for above the fireplace
  • Find or make coordinating curtains
  • Hang curtains
  • Get an ottoman or coffee table to put in the center
  • Get end tables
  • Make pillows for the sofa and chairs
  • Pick a paint color that will work in both the kitchen and the living room
  • Paint the walls
  • Get a fabulous light fixture


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Living Room Becomes Livable

If you remember back in September I posted about the beginnings of our living room as well as the inspiration room. In case you need a little refresher here is the inspiration

We’re getting closer, the sofa we ordered came in. Due to the size of the room we opted to get the loveseat rather than the full sofa so as not to crowd the room and have space on either side to walk around.

The new sofa

The new sofa

As you can see the sofa in the inspiration has nailhead trim on the arms however the chairs we purchased have the nailhead so we thought it better to forgo it on the sofa which is a more substantial investment than the chairs. It has the streamlined contemporary look in the arms and after living with for a little while I actually like ours better. It’s less stuffy.

View from the side of the sofa

View from the side of the sofa

view 2 looking into the TV room

view 2 looking into the TV room

We also decided to lay it out with the sofa facing the fireplace rather than perpendicular. Our room is open to the kitchen where the design room seems to be closed off and we thought it important to create the feeling of a separate space and avoid the bowling alley look.

If you notice there are new baubles on the mantle as well.  The flame sculpture we fell in love with at a local decor store and the vases were a gift from my Aunt’s who ironically enough had not previously seen the room.  I think they look perfectly at home up on the mantle.

The blank canvas is another project I plan to paint it in an abstract design using the colors of the sculpture to pull the design in more.  I also want to sew some throw pillows for the sofa and the chairs.  The ones that came with the sofa were hideous and way too large in scale to be recovered for this space.

It’s coming along!  On the list of to do’s for this room we’ve got:

  • Find and purchase two chairs a-la inspiration room style
  • Find and purchase sofa a-la inspiration room style
  • Ground the space with an area rug
  • Decorate the top of the mantle
  • Paint the art masterpiece for above the fireplace
  • Find or make coordinating curtains
  • Hang curtains
  • Get an ottoman or coffee table to put in the center
  • Get end tables
  • Make pillows for the sofa and chairs
  • Pick a paint color that will work in both the kitchen and the living room
  • Paint the walls
  • Get a fabulous light fixture

So what do you think?  I’m loving how its coming together


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The Living Room Plan

If you’ve been reading along with me by now you have probably realized I find my design inspiration in many places.  Most of my interior design inspiration is found online on either Pinterest or Houzz.  I see something I like and aim not to re-create, but to emulate the style and feeling of a room.

I found such a room that has set the wheels in motion for the living room.  This is the only room in the house that when we bought it, had absolutely zero furniture in it.  Most rooms we were able to furnish with things we had – although not necessarily what we want long term it works for now.  The living room housed nothing, nada nilch – thus became a holding tank for boxes we had yet to unpack and things we didn’t know where to put.

This is the room we found for inspiration:

We loved the streamlined sofa, the swoop arm chairs and I’m pretty sure we have almost the same fireplace.  The walls are pretty dark (not that we’re anywhere close to breaking out a gallon of paint yet) but the overall feel is welcoming and has the contemporary yet comfortable style I am looking for.
Here is another view:
Pretty huh?  We weren’t a fan of the skirt on the chairs so we were looking more for a similar swoop arm style sans skirt.  I actually looked up the identical couch and found a furniture store in the next town over where I could buy it… for about $2,000…. yeah not happening.
Then magic happened while out shopping with my mom.  We were in the gold mine of HomeGoods stores and not only did I get chairs, but also a rug.  And the furniture store down the street was having a half off sale and I got a sofa!  (ok a loveseat – the space is really tight and a full sofa would have just been too cramped).
The sofa was on backorder but here is a look at the beginning stages of the room.
no longer a big blank hole in the back of the house

I am in LOVE with these chairs and this rug! So much so I thought you needed close ups:

side of chair

side of chair

back of chair

back of chair

How awesome is the nail head trim and the cute little detail on the back? Especially since these won’t be pushed up against a wall it’s nice that the detail carries through the back. The original inspo couch had nail head and the one I ended up ordering does not, so I got it on the chairs instead. 🙂

rug close up

rug close up

And this rug, I am completely and utterly in love with this rug.  It is quite possibly the most beautiful rug I have ever seen in my entire life, and its in my house – and from HomeGoods no less!

So there is the beginning stages of the room, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the loveseat.  We’re hoping it will cut down on some of the empty feeling as well as the echoing.  The entire back of house is one long room, so the kitchen turns into the living room.  Once we have a sofa facing the fireplace it will provide a little separation sort of “creating a room”

So what do you think?  Are you as in love with it as I am?


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Condo Before and After Shots

Since the condo is officially on the rental market and after all the talk the last few weeks of all the work that we’ve been doing to the condo I thought it was about time to show you some before and afters.  Since I’m new to this blog thing and didn’t get before shots (in my defense most of the work started pre-blog) I tracked down the original MLS photos from when Ken bought the condo back in late 2009.

Some rooms are more drastically changed than others, personally I think it looks much more updated in person than the pictures convey… but maybe I’m biased.

I actually like the original exterior shot better...

I actually like the original exterior shot better…

So maybe not the best photo to start with since the previous agent took a better exterior shot… but it’s a condo there is only so much we can do to the outside… Moving the agents car before taking the photo so it’s not in the lower corner should have been one of the things done.

I'm not sure you can tell in this picture but there used to be nasty wallpaper

I’m not sure you can tell in this picture but there used to be nasty wallpaper

In addition to removing the wallpaper and painting the walls, the weird wood window valance was also removed (Ken literally just grabbed on and pulled it off), as was that old corner TV. We stopped short of de-almondizing the kitchen.  We completely realize this badly needs to be done.  But we’re renting and that’s a huge expense… so almond EVERYTHING is.

Another room from the kitchen facing the living room

Another room from the kitchen facing the living room

It’s easier to see the nasty 80’s fabulous wallpaper that used to be in there from this angle.  Also, is that a corded phone?!  We don’t even own one of those.

dining room

Right off the kitchen is the dining room which got a fresh coat of paint, more modern curtains, white trim and a brushed nickel chandelier in place of that old brass one.  (extra points if you can spot Chloe’s photo bomb)

living room

living room

This room’s biggest problem was the furniture layout, it didn’t make any sense, we also removed those wall mirrors, replaced the carpet painted the walls, and the trim (that wood piece didn’t get done before the photo shoot… the TV was too heavy)

master bedroom

In addition to saying adios to the toothpaste green color in favor of a dark cool grey, we also painted the trim white and replaced the carpeting.

second bedroom

second bedroom

One of the bigger projects, in addition to patching all the walls (we mainly used this as a gym and some weights may have collided with the wall), painting the walls a more neutral color, and painting all the trim; Ken also made this awesome built in desk in one of the two closets.

upstairs bathroom

upstairs bathroom

Another de-wallpapering project.  The previous owner LOVED their wallpaper! This room got a coat of a cool light gray, white trim new doors and just to the left of this shot used to be a brass shower sliding door.  (Eww it even had frosted glass)  That was removed in favor of a bowed out shower curtain rod and modern white, and gray curtain.  I unfortunately didn’t get a picture of the new shower but I have an old one just to give you nightmares…

AHHHHHH!!!!

AHHHHHH!!!!

Here’s some bonus photos I don’t have before’s of:

upstairs hall.  Hello pretty white trim!

upstairs hall. Hello pretty white trim!

downstairs hall, the white trim and new doors look fabulous if you ask me

downstairs hall, the white trim and new doors look fabulous if you ask me

another de-wallpapering project

another de-wallpapering project

I have mixed feelings about the half bath. Granted this is a terrible photo.  We picked this paint color out two years ago and just got around to putting it up.  Now neither of us like it… it may be safe to say we hate it (which is odd because as you know orange is my favorite color).  I’m pretty sure if it went up when we first bought it I may have liked it.  Hopefully whoever rents it likes it better than we do.

So what do you think?  Two months of hard work, better before or after?


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Painting the Stair Trim

This is sort of an addendum to the post on the trim in the condo Read That Post Here since the stairs we a much bigger undertaking than the nice straight trim over tile and hardwood… It warranted it’s own post.

The first thing to do in order to prep for the job was to make sure it was adequately taped – top and bottom.  The top is easy enough, its nice and straight although on an angle.  It’s the bottom on the carpet that is the challenge.  Here’s the nifty little trick on how to move the carpet out of the way:

Use a paint scraper to push the tape down into the gap between the trim and carpet

Use a paint scraper to push the tape down into the gap between the trim and carpet

You’ll notice I am using masking tape… DO NOT USE MASKING TAPE! Learn from my mistake and pay the extra money for painters tape. There is a reason painters tape is more expensive, because paint doesn’t stick to it! Ingenious I know. As you can probably tell the masking tape was a pain and a half to remove and took a good chunk of the paint with it.  I have learned my lesson.

All taped up and ready to paint!

All taped up and ready to paint!

Once its fully taped you just get to painting it making sure to push the brush down into the grove you taped down to paint as close to the carpet as possible. I started on the right side of the stairs, and since I’m right handed it went pretty nice and smooth and I was starting to think maybe this project wasn’t going to be as bad as I thought…

First coat on the right side

First coat on the right side

At this point I was feeling pretty good about myself and jumped right into the left side. It was every bit the nightmare I anticipated this project to be. Right handed people are just not meant to paint the left side of stairs, it’s like cruel and unusual punishment. I probably should have started at the top and worked my way down, rather than working up then the angle would have been slightly better.

It takes 3 coats to get the right amount of coverage to actually look nice, so this was weekend two weeks in a row. 🙂

I think it was worth it, it makes the walls stand out so much more and looks clean and modern.  What do you think:

White stair trim

White stair trim


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Chloe Get’s a New Home Too

As we’re preparing to make a life in our new home we realized with our love of open floor plan we encountered a little problem:

This little booger...

This little booger…

In our condo she is given the entire run of the kitchen with a baby gate at the exit to keep her confined.  Once we move into the new house there is no way to gate her into the kitchen since the kitchen and living room run the entire width of the house and are one big room.

This wouldn’t be such a big problem except that we don’t trust her.  As soon as we leave the door she will beeline directly to whatever furniture she is not allowed on and curl up on it.  This is NOT OK.  The other problem is metal dog crates are ugly and do not go with our vision for how it will look.  Also, Chloe hasn’t been crated in over 4 years and we didn’t know how that go.  One thing we agreed on was that it would definitely be too mean to move her into a new house and stick her into a crate for the first time in four years all in one day… So in the interest of trying to be good doggy parents, our first purchase for our new home was Chloe’s new home.

So we looked online and found out they make wooden crates. Perfect!  End table and doggy crate all in one!  We found one online and were all set to order it and bite the insane price tag in the interest of having a fashionable, non eye-sore crate.  To ensure we ordered the correct size we went to Petco to look at their metal crates and lo ad behold they had a wood crate and it was on super sale deal of the day!  SOLD we bought it on the spot.

We got it home and Ken got to work assembling it.  (He’s very good at things like that)

assembling king

assembling king

A couple things we noticed while putting this together

  • The box said the color was espresso but it’s definately red, I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen a red espresso…
  • It’s super tall… much taller than an end table

But even with those imperfections, its still pretty decent looking as far as crates go, so we’ll survive having a high end table.

It's done!

It’s done!

Chloe doesn't seem to like it yet...

Chloe doesn’t seem to like it yet…

We keep telling ourselves she’ll forgive us once she gets her new backyard. Maybe then she’ll stop crying when she’s in there and we’ll stop feeling like terrible doggy parents. I’m convinced she’ll learn to at least tolerate it.