“Design” Circle of Life…..

You toil for days on a design project, put it on the blog and send your baby into the world.  You hope it inspires others to try their hand at the task, but all you get is the sound of cyber crickets?  Sometimes the life of a blogger is solidarity but other times you are bathed in the soft warm glow of comments, emails, Pinterest pins and Twitter retweets.

For myself, the stenciled wall I did in 2010 is the proverbial post that keeps giving.  I have received countless emails from  readers and fellow bloggers about the post gave them the push to try a paint treatment in their home.  I like to think that my blog post is part of the “design circle of life” (cue Lion King music).  Seriously, I firmly believe that by putting my effort, time and sweat (and at times blood) into crafting these projects, it helps demystify the process and inspires others to try.  In turn, those people inspire others and before you know it, a DIY revolution has transpired…..

Just call me the Ghandi of DIY (no offense intended)…..

But seriously, I was tickled when I received two different emails on the same day from Janice and Samantha telling me that they had taken the bull by the horns and attempted a Moorish tile paint stencil.  I am happy they did because the results on both turned out AWESOME.

Janice decided to use the stencil as an accent wall in her bedroom.  I love how her metallic paint plays up the sheen in her duvet and the sequins on her pillows…

Samantha of So Many Moments opted to use the Moorish stencil in her newly opened photography studio.  The stencil, while glam, provides a great boho quality to Samantha’s office that makes perfectly with the rest of the decor….

Kudos to both ladies for tackling the stencil project.  I love seeing how the same stencil completely changes the feel of a room.  With a little time and elbow grease, each got the room they wanted at a fraction of the cost of wallpaper.

Okay peeps, keep it coming!  If you have done any projects that were inspired by the blog, I want…I need… I must see them!  Shoot me a picture at lifeoutloudmail@gmail.com and you just may end up on the blog!

Check me out on Facebook and Pinterest as well as Twitter.


The Bathroom Feels Lonely…..

I went home over the weekend and spent a good portion of the time in the newly redesigned music room.  It was the perfect place to do my online homework, read my assignments and catch-up with my growing stacks of food and design magazines.  In other words, it suited all the basic needs I intended it to serve, which to me is a sign of a well-designed space. 

However, while the living room and guest room both received updates, the main floor bathroom is looking a bit lonely and plain Jane next to its  dapper siblings.  To be frank, it just sorta looks bleh…not sure if that is an official design term, but it just feels sad and dark.  Since it’s the only full bathroom readily available to house guests, I feel it needs to be a bit more striking and uplifting.  So for the rest of the weekend when I wasn’t trying to figure out conversions rate between pounds to ounces to liters (yes I really do need to figure that stuff out as a chef), I was plotting what I wanted to do with the bathroom. 

Knowing that money will be an issue as well as time, I have set a budget of $100 total to redo the bathroom.  I think that should be more than ample to cover what I envision from a design perspective.  As usual, I will be busting out my trusty painting supplies along with a new stencil I have been itching to try out.  If you are curious about what stencil I will be using this time, here is a hint….it’s something I have been “gaga” about previously on this blog.  If you need more if a hint, check out this posting

I will also be trying out my hand at some basic carpentry — something I have never done before.  My last carpentry project was when I was in 5th grade and I made a wooden tool box in Boy Scouts.  Actually, I didn’t make it; the scout master ended up doing my project because I couldn’t nail straight.  (If you must, insert naughty joke here).  So it should be interesting to see how this project comes about now 20+ years later.

Here is what I am starting with:

The shower curtain is new and inspired what I want to do with the room

This wall is begging for some stenciled

Vanity area and you the dreaded builder's grade mirror that will get an update

The green tile I hate....I don't have the $$$ to replace so the design works with the size and green color.

 So there you have my new project for the next month.  My goal is to create something that exudes my personality and love for boldness, without clashing with the rest of the house.  Worst case scenario …… it’s only paint and some acessories.  You can always start over.   And that is what I love about DIY design!

Check back for updates……

Gaga for Chevron

I am researching wall treatments for the bedrooms in the house.  After the success with the trellis stencil paint treatment for the living room, I am looking for something interesting and fun for my next project.  For the last few nights I have been browsing rugs online and have been keen on the zig zag from West Elm.


It’s cute, funky and well within my budget.  It is also that perfect combination of traditional meets modern that I am all about these days.   However, I got to thinking (always a BAD idea) that designers say that a room has 6 surfaces counting the ceiling and floor.  And then I thought, what about ditching the chevron rug and moving it to the wall.  A subtle tone-on-tone paint treatment in white and pearl white would be stunning in a bedroom as a backdrop to a bed or accent wall.  So I scoured the net and came across this:

Interesting how they flipped the chevron on its side

Photo Credit: Stencil-Library.com

I know it is another stencil project, but I admit I have a bit of a sickness.  I love paint stencils since you can get the look for wallpaper at a fraction of the cost and none of the commitment if you are willing to put in the time and sweat equity.

But I continued my search and came across this:

This wall completes me. It makes me happy and whole.

Photo Credit: sabbespot.blogspot.com


Sweet Baby Chevron. LOVES IT!

Photo Credit:  LayersofMeaning.com

These two photos are exactly what I was envisioning.   I love the pattern and how it looks in the different rooms.  The first picture is from Sabbespot and Stephanie has a full tutorial on how she did the project using CONTACT PAPER!  Yes!  Contact Paper.  I am floored that she did that with ONE roll of contact paper.   Maria who writes Layers of Meaning outlines how she did her amazing painted chevron project on her blog.  

I think I may have just found this week’s project to fill the time while the partner is in NYC.

Amazing What a Little Paint Can Do…..

So I had this wacky idea for the last couple of months.  I wanted to  do a stencil on my living room wall to liven up the space.  I originally had envisioned this totally modern vinyl stencil that would be a deconstructed take on a dandelion.  So I scoured the web and found the perfect peel-n-stick piece of artwork for the wall.  

Cute Huh?

Photo Credit: www.Chiasso.com 

I ordered the stencil and waited for it to be delivered. 

And waited. 

While I was waiting, I decided to paint the wall knowing that the paint would need to cute for up to 7 days prior to application of the stencil.  I went to Home Depot and decided upon the perfect shade of grey.  I know many people think grey is not really a color that screams warmth, but you would be surprised.  Grey is one of the few neutrals that I feel can read as both warm and cool depending on whether it has a brown or blue base to it.  I chose a grey with a brown base to coordinate with the warm wood tones already in the room from the furniture, rug and hardwood floor.  

Glidden Seal Grey in Eggshell was my partner in crime that morning

I was in love how the paint job turned out ….well more like how well my edge work turned out cause nothing annoys me more than a messy paint job.  Crisp lines and no bleed are the name of the game.  I know everyone is crazy over Frog Tape but since our Home Depot doesn’t carry it, I went with what I had.  I went with a tip I have read on several blogs and used clear nail polish.  I used a bottle of $0.99 nail polish and painted the edges of the blue tape.  I let it dry for 5 minutes and then started to paint and it turned out  close to perfect with about two minor touch ups.  

With the wall painted, I waited for the stencil.  I assumed that the stencil would arrive in the 7 day window which the wall was drying.  So I waited for the stencil to arrive.  And waited.  And waited.  I actually waited for 3 months for the stencil to arrive.  It never showed up.  After repeat phone calls and emails with Chiasso, they admitted the stencil order was misplaced and it would arrive shortly.  Enter month #4…… 

See I am not a patient person.  I like instant gratification.  Tangible rewards.  I like stuff done now.  So four months of waiting for a stencil had me edgy and pensive.  It also gave me time to think and I realized that the stencil I had ordered (and that was now on its way to my house) was not the look I wanted for the living room.  The stencil seemed too funky.  Too slick.  Too busy to go behind the TV. 

Crap.  So I panicked and scrapped the idea.  So now I had a blank grey wall and a 6ft stencil en route to me – neither of which I particularly liked in and of themselves.  Should I repaint the wall?  No, the grey color had grown on me but the wall seemed flat….almost as if it was swallowing the light in the room.  I needed something reflective to bounce light around.  A mirror was the obvious choice but one behind the television would be just as busy as the original stencil.  I contemplated for a few more days and ran across a story on Apartment Therapy about stenciling your walls with paint. 

It was like a bell went off and the heavens sang.  I could still do the stencil but with METALLIC PAINT!  Duh!  I did a quick internet search and found a stencil from Royal Design Studios called Moorish Trellis.  It was instant love.  I love me some trellis and even better, I love me some BIG TRELLIS!  From what  I could tell from the pictures online, the stencil for the Moorish Trellis was the perfect thing for my living room wall – big bold pattern and a large (and easy) repeat.  I  mention the last part because the since there was 6 trellis patterns per stencil, it would allow me to work quickly over a fairly large area of wall.  I was set.  Ordered.  And unlike the other stencil, this one arrived in 5 business days.  

While I waited for the new stencil to arrive, I went back to Home Depot to look at colors for the stencil.  As I said before, I knew I wanted reflective/metallic but wasn’t sure how to get the effect I envisioned.  Mistake One was thinking I could just buy the same color paint as my wall but in gloss to achieve a shiny almost “ghost effect” on the wall.  Didn’t work out.  Second try was to purchase a quart of Ralph Lauren metallic paint called “Iron Gate” and it was right on the money!  I loved the soft grey sheen to this paint and on my test board, it looked stunning next to the base grey paint for the wall.  

I had my paints and my stencil – I was ready to tackle this project.  I  was giddy with excitement, so much so, that I woke up at 7:30am the morning after receiving the stencil to start painting.  I dragged the TV console from the wall and covered it with plastic.  I measured the wall and found its center point and aligned it with the center point of the stencil, to ensure I ended evenly on both sides of the wall. 

Center row of stencil done.....looks pretty good so far.

I knew that I wanted the final product to look like wallpaper, so I opted to roll the stencil paint on rather than use a brush.  Using a roller makes me even application and a uniform finish.  I also used a spray adhesive to help me hold up the stencil as I rolled.  The stencil came with pre-marked “navigation points” to ensure you were aligning the design properly.  I also used a laser level to ensure I wasn’t going astray with the design.  Once I got the hang of it, it went pretty quickly with the accent wall taking about 3.5 hours in total to finish.  The whole project including set-up and clean-up took about 5 hours, so by 1pm that afternoon, I had the wall done and the room back in order. 

Completed Accent Wall

And what do I think?  I think the wall is perfect.  Wonderful.  If it was edible, I would eat it.  In other words, I am really pleased with the outcome, so much so that I am looking forward to doing a whole room in Imperial Trellis very soon.  

As for the original stencil, it did find a home after a bit of playing Goldilocks, but that is for another post.