Faking Large Scale Molding

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Molding can really make or break a house, but it can also make or break a budget. Unfortunately, I just can’t get enough of it! You may have noticed in a lot of the pictures of my house that I have ornate molding – but I also have areas where we installed simpler, linear molding. Let’s face it, the fancy-smancy stuff isn’t for everyone and it has to suit the architecture of the house. It can also be pretty pricy. The problem I run into is that I have tall ceilings – 12′ on the main floor and 10′ in the basement and upper level. With that, the molding has to be in scale, so in many rooms I have stacked moldings or, in the case of our mudroom, duped the eye and used a trick that builders use to get the most bang for the buck.

Here’s what I opted for in our mudroom, which was SOOOO dreadfully plain, boring and devoid of any details:

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I incorporated the wall into the molding by painting it the same color, which added several inches to the height. All the pieces are generic stock molding that can be bought off the shelf at Home Depot or Lowes. I SO wish I remember how much I paid for this project, but it wasn’t much!

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Call Off the Search Party – I AM Alive ;-)

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Where did the time go and where the heck have I been?!?!?

With my little ones on winter vacation I took some time off  – and my blogging, which I normally do during at night, got interrupted by this debacle:

ADHBed012413Every. Single. Night!!!

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What To Do for a Child’s December Birthday Party

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If you have a child that is born in December, celebrating with a party can be quite a challenge. Before I had children, one of my friends told me that children’s parties were very “competitive” these days, which at the time struck me as odd and I thought that he may be exaggerating. Nope. He was right … or maybe it’s just here. My children are invited to parties with a guest list of 70 to 150 children (plus parents and siblings ?!?!) with every form of entertainment you can imagine. When did it become a three-ring circus and what ever happened to the sweet, little parties of our youth? Those were great!

None of these large 70-150 children parties have to contend with cold weather either, which keeps them indoors and throws a monkey-wrench in burning off the exuberance that seems to multiply in intensity with each munchkin added. Since I don’t want to spend that kind of money on a children’s party that they A.) may not remember and B.) would have just as good of a time if I put them in a room full of balloons, balls and dogs, I keep the girls’ parties on a smaller scale and just invite their little classmates/close friends.

What better solution to a December birthday than a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus?

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A New Rug: Men, Kids, Dogs and Nice Things Don’t Mix

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Good news: after the kids and dogs did all the damage they could to our family room area rug, we got a new one! After I did the post Fifty Shades of Grey, I inspired myself. There are two rooms on our first floor that could use my attention, but our family room really needed a new rug asap! The nice thing about grey is that it is a neutral – the new neutral – and can blend where you wouldn’t think it could.

I actually didn’t buy the rug for this room, but am using it here for now:

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Gifts for the Home: (Low-priced Lighting Options I Like)

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My radar is always on for just about any product you can imagine. That’s why when I received an email asking for some low-priced lighting options, I had a couple of options handy that I think are lovely. And with the holiday season upon us, they also make thoughtful gifts priced at $25, $40 and $50, which is why I thought I would share my picks:

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DIY $1 Nutcracker Ornaments

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Ornaments can be crazy expensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a skimpy tree or a tree full of balls; it just means you need to have your eyes open. The Dollar Tree has adorable 8″ nutcrackers for $1 that I have made into ornaments that look gorgeous on my nine foot tree.

And if the stigma of something from a Dollar Store gives you pause, bear in mind, I have ornaments on my tree that are extremely pricey and these blend in seamlessly, and I am very picky!!

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How to Make a Baby Sleeping Sign

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My older brother, the City Mouse, had a baby two months ago and I wanted to give him something that I made (along with some other gifts) because this would not be something in his realm. I decided to make him a “Baby Sleeping” sign for the nursery:

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How To Make a Child-Size Table

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With two little ones, the need for a child’s table was needed for many reasons, but came in handy for more occasions than I imagined when I made it…

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Life-Size Nutcrackers: Yes, Please!

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I’m not a knickknacky sort of person and I don’t collect things, but…I seem to have acquired several pairs of three foot tall nutcrackers that I use on either side of our fireplaces. Well, imagine my delight when I happened upon some life-sized nutcrackers! And, I was with one (of two) of the worst influences ever – one of my children! Why I even bothered asking the rhetorical question, “Should we get a pair?” was beyond me.

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DIY Baby Sleeping Sign

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My older brother, the City Mouse, and his wife had a baby two months ago, which they yearned for – they had been trying for many, many years …with many, many bumps along the way :-( So it was truly glorious that this pregnancy went to term. In addition to some presents, I wanted them to have something from me that wasn’t bought or manufactured, so I set out to make a “baby sleeping” sign for the nursery door knob.

This is the front…

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Patterned Stained Floors

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I think I have a DIY ADD (Do-It-Yourself Attention & Daylight Deficient). There are only so many hours in the week month that I can work on house projects, but my mind is running constantly – and there are SO many projects and rooms that I want to do … with the list growing ;-) (Plus, I’m not one to pull the trigger unless I’ve thoroughly researched the possibilities.)

You may remember the stained harlequin floor from the post I did profiling a designer’s apartment… I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. (The interior shutters from that post went on “THE List” too, but I haven’t been able to shop fabrics.) I thought the stained diamond pattern on the hardwood floors would look wonderful in my kitchen or foyer.

Heck, while I’m researching, why not see if there are other stain patterns for wood floors that would be nice too because the first and second floors of our house (minus the orangerie) are hardwood. What was out there was a mixed bag of nuts:

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Patterned Rollers for the Wallpaper Phobic

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Because of HGTV and the DIY Channel, I am a little nervous to hang wallpaper. It’s difficult to put up well and time consuming to take down. Bottom line: it’s a commitment. But it’s soooo pretty!

Pretty, right?

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Halloween Treats for Your Sweets

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Halloween parties….I have two children, which means two classroom parties. So what goodies to bring for the little ghouls? I’m not a rookie at this, but I feel a little bit of pressure for some “shock and awe”. Last year, my youngest was in preschool at a Montessori school that didn’t have classroom parties. But now, she’s at her big sister’s school, so I need to bring out the big guns. Here’s what I’ve been looking at:

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Guest Post by a DIY Network Host

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Recently I received a submission which I thought was compelling enough to share. I love receiving submissions and requests for guest posts, but because I look for unique projects and instructions, this will only be the second guest post I’ve had on my blog! Shannon Kaye, who hosted DIY Network Channel’s “Fresh Coat” and is now launching a series of videos on DIY’s website, contacted me a few weeks ago, submitting her work to my blog. I was actually familiar with her work and had a picture of her chevron painted ceiling in one of my files:

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Designer Rooms: A Peach Dining Room and a Tiffany Blue Boudoir

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Good news and bad news. Good news is I have a new favorite paint color: a pinkish peach. It is delish. The bad news? I was looking for a cool color! I realized I have a lot of warm colors in our house, so I think I need to change a room or two on our first floor.

But peach…it’s just scrumptious! On Friday, I did a post on part of interior designer Kelee Kadillac’s apartment, but only showed you a portion of her apartment because it was quite a bit to take in. Here is the rest, starting with her yummy dining room:

Orange and pink is a “hot” color combination right now.

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Designer’s Apartment Filled with DIY Inspiration

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Interior designer Kelee Katillac and her partner, architectural interior designer Steve Heiffus, recently collaborated on a 1915 apartment that showcased and married their skills. It seemed that the project was a success and both were happy with the result, which is good, because they are more than just partners – they are husband and wife – and they live in this apartment!

I wanted to show you this apartment because it is full of the DIY potential and inspiration. Even if this style is not yours, there are things that Kelee has done that are wildly creative and can be used in different applications.

I could just die over these floors!! This was the first thing that drew me to the apartment; I have been dreaming about doing this stain treatment to a floor (maybe our foyer or our kitchen??) in our house…having never done it before, though, I am slightly nervous about messing up! I’ve never even painted the harlequin pattern before…yikes! So, it may be a long time before I muster the courage, but there is one little entry area that I could try it that if I messed up, I could sand the floors and re-stain them…ugh…

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Today’s Tasteful Take on a Historic House

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Historical renovation is something I am passionate about because of my love for the architectural features. In my “About Me” section. I referenced almost buying a beautiful, historic house named Elway Hall, but it was just too far away from my office and I would have spent a minimum of 3 hours in the car a day. Two interior designers ended up buying the house that I had to begrudgingly pass on; it seems that interior designers frequently take the challenge of older homes head on without thinking twice.

House Beautiful profiled one such designer…

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50 Shades of Grey

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Although I haven’t read the book, I thought I’d show you my version of 50 shades of grey – 50 shades of grey paint :-) Grey rooms can fit into any style: romantic, minimalist, modern, traditional, sophisticated and rustic. Grey, though, can be a tricky hue to get right as it can be tinged with different hues.

There are cool greys, which are mixed with blue, that read more of a more slate-grey, and warm greys, which are mixed with yellow, that read more of a mushroom-grey. From the pictures below, you will see examples of each, which may help you in determining your preference.

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Small Space Solutions for the City Mouse

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I am a country mouse. My brother, however, is a city mouse. Our lifestyles could not be more opposite. He has lived in Cambridge, London, but primarily in New York City, where apartments have their quirks and run on the small side. New Yorkers have adjusted and know the tricks to get the most out of their space. Maybe because of his metropolitan living, I was intrigued…

On my Mac, I have a file entitled “Small Spaces”, which is full of pictures that I find engaging for one reason or another, which will take me quite a while to get through, but I wanted to start and show you a few!

This space may be small, but it certainly doesn’t give the impression of being cramped.

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White Walls: Sumptuous, Intentional and … (wait for it) … Cozy?!?!

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In the comment section of another post, a reader asked about white walls – do I love them or hate them? I actually do not have any white walls in my house, but I do have many neutrals. As I told her, I have been in many houses where it was painfully apparent that it was the builder’s white and the rooms felt cold, undone and uninviting, despite residing there for years… and I’ve been in homes, where the walls were Nordic white and the rooms were sumptuous and downright cozy!

If you want versatility, are renting or just hate painting, white walls offer a blank canvas, but they need to be addressed the right way to be successful. In other words, they need to look deliberate in order to work.

White living rooms bespeak of a certain type of lifestyle: chic, sophisticated, metropolitan … and that of no kids, no dogs and no red wine ;-)

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DIY Funky, Cool Office Art

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Want a crazy-cool piece of art for your office? If you have old, broken computers lying around, you may want to convert them to art as Leonardo Ulian did. You do not need some great artistic ability with a paintbrush, merely an eye  for where to glue pieces on a canvas.

It’s so simple that it’s genius.

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Clive Christian Kitchens

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Clive Christian is a fabulous cabinet manufacturer – a very, very high-end cabinet manufacturer that focuses on details like no other. Their millwork is so impeccable that their cabinets with the Edwardian style and the preponderance of moldings transcend kitchens and enter the realm of libraries, bathrooms and closets.

Since I didn’t want to drop $250,000 just for cabinets in my kitchen, I studied one of their designs, picked it apart and based my kitchen upon it.

This was my inspiration. Rod Stewart dropped the money this kitchen.

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In a World of Evites…

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With my children back in school, my inbox is just flooded with evites for birthday parties. Being the DIYer that I am, I always prefer to have something tangible, something which I can fret over, plan, design and hold.

You too may want an alternative to electronic or paper invitations. If so, how about:

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Courtney Cox’s Modern Malibu Manse

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Courtney Cox recently moved from a house that she adored because it was level with a public beach and she couldn’t even go for a walk without pictures being taken. The home, designed by famed architect John Lautner, was “futuristic”, “modern” and, according to Cox, “the most amazing place I’ve ever lived in.” (See bottom for details on the house.) But, the silver-lining in all this is that she got to buy and renovate a new home!

According to Elle Decor, before becoming an actress, Courtney Cox wanted to become an architect. Hmm…that sounds familiar (Brad Pitt). Difference being, she actually took college courses in the architecture before pursuing acting. She has been very involved in every home and this project was no different. She held weekly, 3 hour meetings with the architect, Michael Kovac, who was referred by Laura Dern, and her designer (and friend), Trip Haenisch.

The team took this house, which they were not allowed to demolish:

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It’s Tulip Planting Time!

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The last time our mower came out, my husband inquired how much it would cost to mulch around our house. His quote? $3,800. My husband hates yard work and rarely, if ever, wants to venture out there. Last year I mulched everything, but I guess this was my husband’s subtle way of saying it needs to be done again! Of course I am not going to pay that much money, so I said I would do it again. His response? “Have fun”! That was his not-so-subtle way of telling me I was on my own…again!

I figured since I’m out there, I might as well do some fall bulb planting as well…but it’s so hard to get motivated sometimes!! After looking through a few of my favorite gardening catalogs, I really would like to plant some tulip bulbs.

These pictures are just insanely gorgeous!

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How to Choose a Paint Color

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For some, it may be easy to pull a room together – (and if this is you, this may not be the post for you, except maybe to comment on your thoughts, preferred colors, etc.) – but for others, it can be a real puzzler. There are so many thoughts, rules and philosophies on how to choose paint colors, but forget all that. Here’s what you really need to know:

- Paint should not be the first thing you pick out/pick up. Why? Because it comes in just about every shade imaginable, but your sofa, upholstery, rugs, accessories and artwork do not, so it’s better to start with them and work your way out.

- Pull a color that exists in the room or furnishings already. Looking at this rug:

there are a myriad of colors that could be used on the walls, from cream, yellow, peaches, navy blue, cornflower blue, sage green, burnt sienna, etc.

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Ivanka Trump’s NYC Apartment

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In light of the Paris Hilton’s of the world, I find Ivanka Trump very impressive. She appears very articulate, grounded and educated, all of which cannot be said for Paris. And with Ivanka’s father’s tacky over-the-top taste, I was very curious to see what her upper east side apartment in New York City looked like when it was profiled in Elle Decor.

Her taste is…

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Darling DollHouse

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My post yesterday had a picture of a dollhouse used in a laundry room, which inspired me to show you our dollhouse. I always wanted a grand dollhouse. Growing up I used a narrow, vertical bookcase as a “mouse house”. (To understand read my blog post, An Award, Moi if you haven’t already.) Clearly, it started in childhood because I thought mice were way more appealing than dolls!

I still have that bookcase (it’s in my oldest daughter’s room), but I wanted to take it up a notch for my girls. For Christmas a few years ago, I wanted a special toy for my girls that could be passed down to their children and I thought that they were ready for more than the plastic ones. Being the perfectionist that I am, I spent months researching dollhouses. My choices were:

  1. Buy a kit and build one
  2. Make one from scratch
  3. Shell out a L-O-T of cash
  4. Search for one online

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Large and Lovely Laundry Rooms

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I mentioned in my last post, Smart Little Laundry Rooms, that it takes real ingenuity to design a small space because every inch needs to serve a purpose and be maximized. Larger areas? Not as much. It’s a luxury…and a real curse (more surface area for junk to accumulate, more cleaning…)! But if you do have a dedicated or larger laundry room, how do you decorate it? Like any other room. Think about functionality first and then the aesthetics.

The paint color actually matches the ironing board and the shelves were painted as well to disappear into the wall.

Even here, they have a retractable drying rack as I talked about in my last post. Putting the clothing pins in a glass jar in very pretty. (In case you don’t know where to buy clothing pins, they sell them at Home Depot – I think a pack of 50 is $3. How do I know? I live at Home Depot!)

Again with clothing pins in a glass (apothecary) jar, as well as powdered detergent. See my previous post for a brilliant liquid detergent equivalent. Note that the fold out ironing board door is wallpapered on the inside too. It’s details like this that show incredible thought. Ready for the other half of the room?

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Smart Little Laundry Rooms

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A small space takes above average creativity. With a large space, things can be put in willy-nilly and without much thought. That is just not the case if you live in a city or a smaller and/or older home. The placement of a washer and dryer is one of those things that takes some thought. A laundry room just may not exist, so it’s going to have to be tucked in somewhere…and addressed aesthetically.

How gorgeous is this? The tile floor, the wallpaper, the molding, the side panels that are hiding…??? Of course laundry supplies, but how great would laundry bins be too? It appears that this was fitted into an awkward space (with the ceiling slanting in on one side) that would have been unused if not for this brilliant concept.

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Colorful, Customizable T-Shirts

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Little did I realize when I started blogging just how much it would help me and how fabulous and close this community is. I want to thank everyone for such kind comments on my last post. To take the time – your time – and offer comfort to someone that you have never even met is nothing short of amazing. It means so much to me, but it is taking me a while to address each comment (as I can only address a few at a time before being a complete mess.) But onto something lighter…

Since I had saved my back to school business cards, but was waiting on a selection from my youngest, I received a promo offer from Vistaprint for kids’ t-shirts for $2…I am never going to get out of this website because you get to design your own shirt. I love designing, no matter what it is!

Of course I had to customize it within an inch of its life:

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With a Heavy Heart…

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It has taken me so long to even touch on this subject – and even so, I have to gloss over it as it just breaks my heart. My sweet little Jack Russell, Lucy, died a few months ago and I still am in such a state of anguish and grief.

She was diagnosed 2 years ago with cancer and given just a few months to live. I told the vet I was desperate for any treatment, so he said we could operate to remove the baseball-sized tumor and extend her life by a month or two.

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Published High-Tech Nursery Article

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With my background in technology, most assume that I advocate gadgets and technology wherever and whenever possible…but that’s actually not the case. Maybe because of my background, I know the extreme mark-ups in prices and bugs that invariably happen with the first few releases.

I think the reporter that contacted me for this piece thought that I would be on the “pro” technology side, but if you read my post, Interview: High-Tech Nurseries, you saw what my answers were to her questions. So, I wanted to see what you all thought of the article:

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Back To School Business Cards

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Although my children aren’t back in school yet, I am anxious to get everything in order for when they start. Thanks to VistaPrint, adorable little cards that include your child’s information (and yours, if you like) are super inexpensive! Some designs are free (but you do have to pay for shipping), while others are $5.99 and $19.99 (now on sale for $10) for 250.

They also last a long time – I ordered some a few years ago and just now have to reorder. I also use them as gift tags – so handy – and my children just love having their own “business” cards!

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Interview: High-Tech Nurseries

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Recently, I was contacted by a reporter to see if I would be willing to be interviewed for a piece on high-tech nurseries since my background is in technology. With the reporter’s deadline looming in a couple of days, I asked her to send me the questions and that I’d turn it around as fast as I could. Continue reading

Artist Kris Kuksi

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Ragmag described Kris Kuksi’s art  as “mind-blowing, macabre, and beautifully grotesque art…[that] will taunt you by the sheer complexity of detail, leaving you even more baffled as you stare for hours at all the figurines that were smacked into coexistence.” An American artist, who grew up in Kansas, Kuksi’s  “Fantastic Realism” genre is intriguing, Baroque in influence, steampunk, hedonistic … and fascinating.

 

How’s that for a door header??

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Small Kitchens, Big Style

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In a previous post, Small Kitchens That Still Inspire, I traversed the world of small kitchens and showed examples of space-starved rooms that were full of beauty. Although space may first be perceived as an issue, creative solutions can be jaw-droppingly elegant and finishes, that would be cost prohibitive in a large kitchen but affordable in a small one, can make the diminutive dimensions quite exquisite.

I love the dichotomy of the worn, warm, wide-plank floors with the sleek, modern appliances …. and the pendant light fixtures centered on each window looks smart!

A great example of maximizing space by going up to appropriate the dead area above the cabinets. The arches take it a step further to make this kitchen grand. Who would think that a galley kitchen could be described as grand??

However…. Continue reading

Instructions for DIY Ornate Pilasters and Door Surrounds

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Supplementing my post about our dining room pilasters, here is the break down and the instructions for the door surrounds. The material list below is what we used, but (of course!) adjust to your taste, architecture and level of complexity with which you are comfortable. Also, we have 8′ tall doors, which aren’t the norm, so please make sure to measure your doors prior to buying any materials or “ready-made” door pilaster kits.

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DIY Ornate Door Pilasters

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After we did our kitchen door pilasters, which were actually more difficult and our first time attempting door surrounds, we felt we had the hang of it. So you can imagine what crossed my mind. Yep, let’s rip them all down! Great idea, right? It was…until children came along and threw a wrench in my grandiose plans of custom molding everywhere! I think my husband thought the children would be less work, but they suck up more energy than all my projects combined ;-)

We have gradually managed to address a few, one being the dining room pilasters:

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ADetailedHouse:

It seems that the comment section disappeared from my post. Now, I’m not going to point any fingers or anything, BUT…I did leave my most recent post open on my iPad and I do have a munchkin who loves to “work” on the aforementioned. Being out of town this past week, I wasn’t paying too close of attention to it. Not giving any plugs, but important “work” is carried out here, such as Monster Pet, Touch Cats, Pig Rush, and (Mommy-approved) abcMouse. And here I was, just thinking that birdhouses (or maybe just my ideas on them) weren’t that popular! I think I have it fixed (as best as I can tell from my iPhone screen…)

Originally posted on A Detailed House:

Since my children were gunning for a project and I wanted to finally start on my upstairs hallway project, I went to the craft store to buy large canvas boards. Unfortunately, they don’t carry any large enough (GRRRR!!!!). So….I’m either going to have go to another craft store -or- make my own. But I’ll figure that out later. Although my children were disappointed, they handled it well (i.e. no whining about it), so I suggested we see if there was anything else the store had that may be of interest for a project. They were beyond thrilled when we found these unusual, unpainted birdhouses:

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