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Kid Craft Birdhouse Project

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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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My Silos

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As a follow up to my post yesterday called Keep Silos, Dovecotes and Pigeonniers and Think About the Possibilities, here are a few pictures of our silos that I opted to keep:

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Keep Silos, Dovecotes, Pigeonniers and Think About the Possibilities

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When we bought our land, one of the questions that was frequently asked was: are we demolishing the silos that stood upon our acreage. You see, our property was at one time farmland, so with it came an old, dilapidated barn, crumbled milking sheds and, my favorite of the structures, the silos.

For aesthetics, the prevailing sentiment was that we should take all these structures down, but I loved these structures and think too often things are stripped bare – the very things that give character. So they were staying and there was no talking me out of it.

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What I Got on Craigslist

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Nothing pleases me more than a bargain. Well, maybe that’s an overstatement because I am really happy when my house is clean and in order, but honestly that is a freak of nature thanks to the loves of my life, all two and four legged. Since that rarely (if ever) happens, I have to get my thrills from bargains.

When I did my post on DIY Ideas for Kids’ Rooms, I talked about Craigslist as a source for armoires. (Now with flat screen TVs, many are trying to get rid of the armoires that they used to store their bulky TV.) In my research, I happened upon a find that I couldn’t pass on:

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Horse Cents

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A few months ago, I saw an image but didn’t save it, nor did I burn into my memory who the artist was that created this amazing masterpiece. BIG mistake on my part. Huge! (paraphrased from Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman– haha!) I couldn’t get it out of my mind, but couldn’t track it down.  After I did the post ‘How to Make a Penny Floor’, I was in a state of sheer frenzy. Couple that with my horse-crazy child’s birthday and I made it a mission to find it. I’m so glad I did. Prepare to be blown away:

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Kitchen Islands with Legs: Hybrids of Farm Tables and Cabinets

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A reader (Diane) has a quandary with her kitchen renovation, which she and I discussed in the comment section of a previous post, so I wanted to do a post on kitchen islands that will hopefully benefit her and others. Besides showing some inspiration, I also wanted to show how basic cabinets can be transformed with a larger countertop and legs.

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Baby Boy Nursery Ideas

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A while ago, I did a post on girl nurseries, now I’m finally getting around to baby boy nurseries!  Not having a boy, it was difficult to get in that mindset, especially after so many years of glitter and tea parties! I tried to include many styles (modern, neutral, colorful, white, luxurious and whimsical), as well as some gender-neutral rooms, so that there is enough inspiration for all tastes!

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Cents and Sensibility: How to Make a Penny Floor

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With two little ones running around the house, I am always picking things up off the floor. I am amazed, though, by the sheer number of coins! Granted, we play “store” a lot, which involves a cash register, spare change, and my youngest setting up “shop” where ever I am… no matter what I’m doing, working or not! They have piggy banks that they love to fill, so why are the coins spread cavalierly on the floor?

I tell myself it’s good for me – like exercise – and picking them up is the equivalent of toe touches, but not even an Army Drill Sargent would put someone through this 😉 Now my thought process is that I’m just going to start cementing them down, so I will eventually end up with these floors:

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Beautiful Bathrooms

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While researching bathrooms for a project, I came upon pictures that were too exquisite not to share! Some of these luxurious bathrooms have unusual sinks, fixtures, mirrors and/or faucets, providing a statement piece – a good idea for any room – that goes beyond the typical and gives that “custom” look. Any homeowner can tweak certain features, even if you aren’t doing a bathroom overhaul or renovation.

I just love the drama of this deep, moody, masculine grey paired with the feminine Venetian mirror and gleam of the metals.

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Black Doors: Simple Elegance

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Sometimes, the simplest things can make the biggest impact. Case in point: black doors. I just love a high-gloss black on doors, whether interior or exterior. I think the interior doors, though, are much more dramatic and classic because interior doors are too frequently overlooked.

It seems like such a big step to paint something black, but after looking at our upstairs hallway, and the run of bland white doors, this just might be needed to break up the monotony. Maybe it’s something you want to think about too?

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Beautiful Fire Extinguishers – Safety First, But Let’s Make It Pretty too :-)

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It’s easy to forget to keep fire extinguishers in the house, but they are essential, especially in the kitchen. But the ones on the market are not the most attractive, so they are squirreled away in places that can be forgotten. That’s why having a beautiful one is a great idea. And who doesn’t like everything to be pretty 🙂

I found these that were more appealing than the ‘norm’:                                         

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Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s New Home

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Gwyneth Paltrow and her musician husband, Chris Martin of the band Coldplay, have been on the East Coast for years, living in Manhattan penthouses and a sumptuous Hamptons estate. Now, they have put down roots in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California with the purchase of a house for $10.45 million, $1.5 million below the original listing price – good for them for negotiating 😉

This new construction, concept house called “The House of Windsor” after its designer, Windsor Smith, gave a respite to the sea of Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial Revival houses with the stereotypical red tiled roofs and white stucco walls of the neighborhood.

Lucky for us, Veranda Magazine profiled the house, where designers decorated the rooms, so we get to see it – yay!!

The House of Windsor

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DIY Custom Bathroom Sink Cabinet

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I’ve posted before about bathrooms and pointed out some high-end vanities, briefly mentioning that you can make your own bathroom sink cabinets, so I thought it was time to delve into it further.

I wanted to show you what I did for our downstairs powder room that was inexpensive, yet custom, and can be done in any style to suit your taste and budget. Almost any dresser, table or chest can be converted and fitted with a sink and faucet.

Here’s what I did:

DIY Bathroom sink vanity / cabinet

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Natural Rock Bathtubs

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Natural materials, which I adore, are very prevalent in design, so I thought I’d show you some bathtub made from a single rock that range from formal and carved to untouched and natural-looking. It probably goes without saying, but because of the materials’ durability –  and with proper care – they can be used outside as well.

Carved granite by Carved Stone Creations.

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Lawn Furniture

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With so much land (and two very energetic children), we make the most of our acreage. Sometimes though, we make it so far away from the house that a place for me to sit is most welcome. It still allows me to supervise the children and gives them (and our puppies) more time to play, explore and enjoy nature.

That’s why when I came across this little gem, I perked up:

(via readymade.com)

It was love at first sight!! I read the directions here, and pondered, “Do I have the energy for this?” I certainly have the desire! It’s going on my every growing “To Do” List, but after reading the comments and directions several times, I figured out a few shortcuts.

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Tuesday Trivia Answers

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Thank you for participating! Difficult, wasn’t it?? I could have selected names randomly and scored better than if I had tried to take the poll!!

Cher‘s disguised kitchen. I thought her kitchen would be somehow grander – I really like the fact that it’s not.

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Tuesday Trivia: Celebrity Kitchen Match-Up

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From doing my post yesterday, I held out on you. There were a few pictures that were  surprising, so I thought we could make it a game 🙂 Match the kitchen with the celebrity! It is sooo much harder than it looks and, if I took the quiz, I would get every single one wrong!

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Celebrity Kitchens

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Thanks to Architectural Digest, HGTV and MLS listings, it’s possible for us to be a little voyeuristic and get a glimpse into homes that would normally be inaccessible to us, in this case, celebrity kitchens.

Maybe some of them will speak to you – maybe some won’t; the styles are all over the place!

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi‘s kitchen.

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Sweet Nurseries for Sweet Baby Girls

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Having a baby is hard enough; add tackling a nursery to mix and it can become overwhelming! There is so much pressure put on this one room – and the mother. When I was pregnant with my first child, I scoured magazines and the Internet for inspiration, but found it difficult to find rooms that I liked and a time consuming endeavor.

I’m hoping that these pictures will save mothers the aggravation and provide some inspiration for them.

White and luxurious with the mirrored furniture. The monogram can be made on your computer and framed!

Great treatment for the window arrangement! The colors are feminine and a combination that is increasing in frequency, yet different and not the stereotypical shades, and the chair is unique.

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All I Need Is 8 Fewer Eyes and 4 Head(er)s

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My pilaster project is coming along nicely and all that is missing is the header. Our local home improvement store discontinued a whole line of molding that I really liked, which really put a damper on things!

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Traditional English Garden Design

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In Greenwich, Connecticut, there is a private Tudor estate, Old Mill Farm, designed by architect Charles Lewis Bowman in 1926, that has timeless landscaping complete with secret gardens, a hedge maze, old stone walls and iron gates.

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Gold for How Much???

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When doing a post, I usually do a lot of research and work on multiple projects at one time, which is why it takes me so darn long to do one measly post! I also like to ponder my projects (I can’t tell you how many mistakes I would have made if I hadn’t thought about some of these for a long time!) and try out materials to make sure I’ve thought of everything possible.

In my research, I found a great bargain that I wanted you all to know about:  Krylon spray paint, which I think is wonderful for achieving a gold finish (in terms of paint), is available at Walmart for $3.67 for 12 ounces! Wha-wha-what??? I couldn’t believe it! Currently, Krylon isn’t carried at Home Depot; they sell Rustoleum, which sells for (if I remember correctly) $8/for 8 ounces, and I’m not sure if Lowes carries it.

I sprayed a (white primed) scrap piece of wood for you all to see and took some pictures:

Taken outside in full sunlight, it looks like a very bright gold.

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Bathroom Floors of River Rock

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You may or may not have noticed in my last post a comment thread between me and a reader about her shower. She is updating her bathroom and had a few questions, so I wanted to show her some pictures to (hopefully) give her some ideas 🙂

Right now, I’m going to address the flooring, as she is contemplating river rock. When people hear river rock, sometimes an image is conjured up based upon past usage of the material, where it was too dark, rustic, etc.

Times have changed and this perception is no longer true, given the right application and color scheme. River rock can look sleek, modern, luxurious, traditional, spa-like, rustic (without being heavy-handed and in a tasteful way), feminine, masculine – you name it! I saw an episode of Divine Design with Candice Olson and she used an inset of river rock in an upscale bathroom that was absolutely luxurious! I, unfortunately, couldn’t find a picture of it! Drats!!!

This is such a great example of using river rock in a crisp, classic black and white bathroom.

White river rock floor.

How chic is this bathroom?

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Prince of Darkness

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Ozzy Osbourne’s house was put up for sale several months ago, which gives us a look inside his house, designed by Sharon Osbourne’s favorite designer, author, and star of the one time show Million Dollar Decorators, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard.

I don’t know what their house looked like in the height of Ozzy’s fame, but this is a far cry from what I would expect, although if you watched the MTV show, The Osbournes, you saw another one of their homes that had some of the same sensibilities.

Love the porter chairs!

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Why Does Life Get in the Way of My House Projects?

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I have been planning this house project for a long time, so I was VERY excited to start on it. However, we had my friend over one night, a girls’ sleep over and a school project to finish up for Monday. Come on people! Don’t you see I have some materials here that I am dying to put up!

So, of course it didn’t get finished….sigh. But aren’t you a little curious as to what has my britches in a bunch?

It started outside with these tools – Ok, maybe I didn’t focus exactly on the tools, but how cute is that face 😉

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Mid-Century Make Over in Georgetown

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Georgetown, DC has many historic homes, but this townhouse, recently profiled in House Beautiful and designed by Hillary Thomas and Jeff Lincoln, was built in the 1960s. Since it was in my neck of the woods, I was very interested in the home. While some rooms I found a little “busy” for my personal taste, the home had some ravishing rooms as well.

I thought you might enjoy looking at it as well…

For a small foyer, having a table with an open design is smart…and I love it! Plus, with black and white pieces, you can switch them where ever you want throughout your house – and in the case of this table, even outside. I have several pieces like this that I switch from room to room.

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Clawing for a Clawfoot Tub

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I’ve seen some pretty unique things, but when I stumbled upon this, I did a double take. I think I’ve made it well known that I love all things old and historic ….but sometimes they do need a facelift and this was pretty ingenious:

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How to Make Fancy Cornice Boards

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So overdue with this post, but between my lack of photographic ability, my inability to find my camera (!!!), my little imps requiring my attention, my suspicion that my imps may have had something to do with the loss of the camera and life in general, it has been a difficult post!

If you remember, I created these cornices for my daughter’s room:

It’s an easy do it yourself project that I think anyone can do.

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Wild for Wisteria

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Having a stone house, Virginia creeper love throwing their tendrils up the side of my house. My mother said it’s not good for the house and will weaken the mortar and thus the stonework, but the mourning doves love nesting on the window sills with the leaves as cover, so I let the vines run up to a certain point. Plus, they turn a spectacular red in the fall.

The only thing that is lacking is flowers, so I decided a few years ago to plant wisteria in the back of of house to crawl up our balcony.

My youngest is the bane of my green thumb as she likes to pluck the blooms, although I can see why; they are gorgeous!

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Garden Games

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With summer coming up and two little girls to entertain and keep mentally engaged, I am always on the prowl for fun games. Kerry of AZ Soap contacted me through my submissions page asking if I would be interested in seeing the Scrabble board that she incorporated into her concrete patio. Hmmm…YES!! I was immediately interested.

I adore word games and play Word Warp incessantly, even with children. Scrabble is similar, in that all ages can participate. And, playing games together as a family (I think) is important. It teaches them sportmanship – how to win and lose gracefully – and it lets us connect in a fun way.

So, let’s take a look at Kerry’s Scrabble board:

Hand Rails for a Special Needs Child

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The other day, I received an email from a mother that read:

“I love all of your blogs and creative ideas and I’m wondering what thoughts you would have for designing a room, specifically a bathroom for a special needs child. My daughter is 12 and she’s special needs (mild cerebralpalsy [sic]). She gets around good but does not have as much strength in her body as a child without special needs. Her difficulty is manoevering [sic] around in a bathroom and the assistance bars that you see in handicapped bathrooms as well as tubs aren’t exactly pretty. Just wondering how you would design a room like that to be as beautiful as the ones you have on your blogs. Thanks!”

I read every email when it comes in, but I get quite a few (and a surprising number of WordPress “how to” questions – why, I have no idea!), so even though I read them, it sometimes takes a while to answer them and I respond to them in the order that I receive them. Not the case in this one. I replied immediately due to the nature of the design dilemma. I wanted to post my solution to her in case others were in the same position, whether for a child, adult or an elderly individual.

I asked her what finish her faucets were, but it turns out she was going to renovate the entire bathroom and would go with my suggestion. I still wanted to give her a few options from which to choose, but my very first thought was this:

Recognize it?

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Sharing Means Caring

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Sharing bedrooms is a fact of life for many and can have a lot of advantages as well. The time spent in the room can create the best of memories and instill a sense of closeness that carry with children for a lifetime. My little ones beg – and I mean BEG – to sleep together. The problem? They treat it like a sleep over, giggling, singing and whispering into the wee hours. Overall, not conducive to a good night sleep, so we reserve it for a treat on the weekends.

If space is at a minimum and children are at a maximum, having separate bedrooms just can’t happen. So, here are some beautiful solutions:

The best idea when you don’t have a lot of space is to go up and use as little of a footprint as possible. Plus, children need the precious floor space. Leave no dead space, as illustrated by the drawers below the mattress – however, they could have done something on top too, albeit a wedge.

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Art Installation in Georgetown

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In Georgetown, far away from Cambridge, Massachusetts, there is an institute of Harvard University called Dumbarton Oaks that is dedicated to promoting Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies through fellowships, internships, meetings, and exhibitions.

When one thinks of Harvard, chicken wire and Swarovski crystals are the last things that comes to  mind. Enter Andy Cao (Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2010-11) and Xavier Perrot and their incredible creativity. They set up an art installation that is simple in execution, but nothing short of pure genius.

See for yourself:

Like a low storm cloud about to burst… Continue reading

My DIY Carpet Tiles

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If you saw my post Pretty in Pink, you saw the the interior design I did for my daughter’s room, which included architectural details and carpet tiles that I made.

Since our second floor is hardwood, when I started planning the design, I searched for rugs, but I couldn’t find whimsical rugs in the sizes that I needed for her bedroom and sitting room. This turned my search to carpet ties, which yielded two things: my shock at the price ($10-$80 a tile) and dismay at the lack of the appropriate sizes and shades. I thought one of the main benefits of having carpet tiles (for me anyway) was that if they got stained beyond repair, you could pop them out and replace them cost-effectively.

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Bedrooms

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Our children’s rooms have gotten more time and attention architecturally and design-wise than our master bedroom, so this post is self-serving, because I would like to address our room at some point. Our foyer is next on my list, followed by adding crown and ceiling molding in several rooms and creating a playroom for the girls. I like to mull projects over and research them extensively.

So let the mulling begin:

A dramatic bedroom of red, black and white…and pink (?), which I would lose. I like just the 3 colors better for drama.

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Canopy Beds Aren’t Just for Little Girls

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Kids definitely shouldn’t have all the fun! Grown ups like to feel nestled, protected, and imaginative too, like we’re in a fort. So move over girls, we’re taking that image back from little girls and put it squarely where it rightfully belongs: with us adults! We’re not heartless though; we will give them some blankets to make their own tents 😉

The finish on this bed frame looks like an antique mirror and the details on the headboard are so attractive.

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Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

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Not having any boys, it would take a lot of thought for me to design a boy’s room, but I have at least two readers that I know of who have three boys! So after spending a little time on girls’ rooms, I wanted to give the boys some attention too.

I’ve selected pictures ranging from rooms from whimsical to classic. But first, my dream room:

This room is beyond luxurious! The dark, moody walls, the rich leather headboard with nail head trim and shiny brass lamp and clock exude a classic, rich look. Although this room is very high-end, there are ways to emulate the look without spending the thousands that were here.

This would also make a beautiful, masculine guest bedroom or master for a bachelor.

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Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice…

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That’s what little girls are made of. So why shouldn’t they have a sweet room to rest the heads? Children’s rooms let you tap into your inner child and, regardless of your budget, there are ways to create looks that are very special.

Maybe because I grew up during the “preppy” craze and lived by the Preppy Handbook, my favorite color combination is pink and green.

Drool, drool, DROOL!!! The fabric on the chair is gorgeous! And I love storage – there is never enough – and dead space or under-utilized space drives me nuts! A window seat can be built with bookshelves to create a reading nook like this, although I would probably install a pretty iron window grille to ensure that there are no accidents. Maybe like this, which I found for $29:

But I would paint it white.

For the little girl who is a princess….

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Adorable DIY Ideas for Kids’ Rooms

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While I work on my posts for how to make the carpet tiles and cornice boards, I thought I would dig into my files and show you some adorable, simple and inexpensive projects that I thought worthy of saving for future consideration.

Before flat screen TVs, many tried to hide their TVs in armoires. Now, those that bought flat screen TVs are trying to get rid of them!

I searched Craigslist while doing this post, just to see, and there were hundreds of armoires, many of them for free! Try to imagine them with a coat of paint, molding added to the top, different door knobs, added shelves, etc.

Here’s why:

Finding one this wide would require patience, but what child wouldn’t love a little nook like this?

Children adore hiding spots, so another option for an armoire, if you can find one with full length doors, is remove the back and place it in front of a door, so it’s a “secret” entrance, whether to a closet or a room.

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Beyond Pink

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There were a couple of comments from my Pretty in Pink post, which showed my daughter’s room, regarding readers redoing their daughters’ rooms, so I thought maybe some pictures of additional children’s room may help.

Now, before everyone turns away that is not redoing a child’s room, keep in mind that all interior design photos can show something that can be used in a different application. For example, the first picture has things that would be great for a master bedroom!

Instead of lamps on either side of the bed, there are low-hanging chandeliers! This ingenious idea frees up room on the night side tables, which is especially important if space is at a premium. Now, how many people have the wiring for this though? No one! Luckily, there are plug in chandeliers and ways to address the cord so that it is not an issue.

The stacking of the pictures is also a beautiful feature of this room and would work not only in a master bedroom, but also above most pairs of side tables.

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