New House to Home: July 2012            

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

DIY Abstract Art

In my last post I mentioned that my laundry room is finished and I am ready to start adding punches of my personality.  Well, today I did.  I added a one of a kind piece of abstract art painted by yours truly.  It was a fairly inexpensive project, since I already had primer, paint, brushes, and a canvas on hand.  My only expense was a few extra bottles of craft store acrylic paint.  It was a quick, easy, fun project that makes a big difference in a small space.  Here's the finished product.

Now, let's look at how I started.  First, I grabbed this canvas that I painted at a local place called Cheers to Art.  At Cheers to Art, you can get together with your best girlfriends, enjoy a little wine and some snacks, and learn to paint a predetermined picture.  Can you tell that my group learned to paint tulips (probably not, looking at this picture)?

Some of the other girls created masterpieces that I would have been proud to hang in my home, but my painting just wasn't doing it for me.  So, once I determined that I cannot paint things, I decided to use the canvas to try my hand at abstract art. I gathered my canvas and supplies.
 Primer to cover the old painting (you may not need this if you are starting with a blank canvas).
Disposable foam brush if you are applying primer.
Large brush for applying base layer of paint.
Smaller brush for applying top layer of paint.
Various colors of acrylic paint and metallic gold acrylic paint.

The first thing I did was prime the canvas.  After that, the canvas was ready for the base layer of paint.  I had my daughter paint the entire canvas brown so that when the other colors were applied, a subtle hint of brown would peek through.  Here is how it looked at that stage.
Don't worry, the wine does not belong to my daughter.  She had lost interest by this point in time.

Next, I put a large dollop of each of my colors on my "pallet."  I even allowed some of them to blend together to create new complimentary colors. 

When it was time to actually paint the canvas, I loaded my brush with my first paint color and applied it to the top left third of the canvas.  I tried to keep the majority of the paint in the center of the application area, while feathering a smaller amount out to both the left and the right.  The feathering technique adds interest by allowing the base color to show through.  I then loaded my brush with my next paint color and then applied the same technique to the top center of the canvas.  It is important to work quickly so that your current paint color blends with the previous paint color.  I did not wash the brush after each paint color - I feel that the leftover paint creates interesting color variations . I continued the same procedure until the entire canvas was covered. 

After the painted canvas was dry, I used a dry brush technique to add a few metallic gold highlights to the painting.  I just loaded a small, stiff brush with the gold metallic paint, and then wiped almost all of it off before lightly brushing it across the canvas.

I don't claim to be an artist, but I really like the way this turned out.  It must not be too terrible - my toughest critics (my kids) actually said it was cool.  It was an inexpensive way to add a bit of personality to what would otherwise be a very utilitarian space. 

Have you ever tried a DIY art project?  What did you learn?  I would love to know your tips and tricks for creating your own original art.

Linking to


Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Busy Few Weeks - North Carolina, South Carolina, and Laundry Room Progress

There's been a lot going on around here.  About two weeks ago, the kids and I took off on a week long adventure through the Carolinas.  Unfortunately my husband couldn't come due to work obligations.  First, we stopped here:

 Biltmore Estate

Later that day, we stopped here:

 Chimney Rock, North Carolina

and cooled off here:

 Hickory Nut Falls at Chimney Rock

It was a long day, that's for sure, but I wanted to get in a full day of excitement before we hopped in the car again to head to South Carolina.  Our destination was Isle of Palms, a small beach community just outside of Charleston.  The girls enjoyed the beach in very different ways.

Olivia gave the boogie board a try.  She did well for a first-timer.

I have no idea how she does this.  I gasp out loud every time.

The proximity of the beach to Charleston was great.  We visited several times.  The houses were amazing!

Some of the beautiful houses of East Bay Street.  The maps have it listed as E Bay Street, so Abigail thought it was eBay Street - lol.

While we were away, this guy had to have surgery. 

He somehow managed to chew off a piece of his chew toy and swallow it.  Luckily it happened before we left town and I saw it happen, so we had the vet on high alert before we left.  Continuous x-rays revealed that the piece wasn't moving through his system and had to be manually removed.  This is the second time he has had to have an obstruction removed.  I'm happy to report that he has fully recovered and is back to his old self again.

As if we weren't busy enough, I scheduled a contractor to start work in the house the day after we returned from vacation.  You may recall that I had some difficulty getting a contractor who was willing to do my work, so when this one agreed to help me, I grabbed the first available date.  The week was exhausting, but it was so worth it.  I have my new laundry room, powder room, and my bed and bathrooms are on their way.  I don't want to show pictures until I get all the finishing touches in place, but I'll give you a sneak peek at the laundry room.  Remember the before?

Here's the after:

I'm so excited for my additional storage!

I can't wait to add some of my personality to the room and share the details with you.

So that's some of what's been going on around here.  Hopefully this week will be a little less demanding and I'll be able to get back to posting on a regular basis.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Homearama - A Tour of Decorated Model Homes

Happy Friday, everyone!  A few weeks ago, the Home Builders Association of Cincinnati held their annual Homearama, a showcase of decorated model homes ranging in price from $675,000-$1,000,000.  I visited the seven show houses and was able to get a few pictures of some the more memorable rooms.  Since show homes are a great place to get ideas for your own home, I thought you would enjoy seeing them as well. 



 Painting the breakfast bar black adds contrast to what would otherwise be a rather flat space.

I love the idea of a large chandelier over the island, and the range hood is fantastic.

 This cozy table is just right for a small family, and it expands to accommodate guests.

A bench slipcovered in burlap atop a houndstooth rug conveys a sense of rustic elegance in this breakfast nook.

I realize that prospective buyers often base most of their opinion of a home on their initial impression of the kitchen, so I wanted to get more photos of the kitchens.  Unfortunately, these were the most crowded rooms at the show, and it was difficult to take photographs with so many people trying to get in and out.


 A rustic living room as seen from the second floor of the home.  What a unique light fixture!

 A traditional living room.

Bookcase styling.  How I wish the decorator had gone to a thrift store and picked up some interesting old books (real books) instead of the faux books seen here.  They would have given these shelves much more character, and probably would have cost less.

The black tile and moulding around this television add drama and draw attention away from the black tv.


Texture is the star feature of this dining room.

Sorry for the terrible photo.  I wanted to be sure to show you that cool chalkboard on the left wall.

The corner details on the chalkboard are wrought iron shelf brackets.  I may try to make a chalkboard like this for our basement.


The multi colored stripes, faux painting, and painted branches take this bedroom from boring to brilliant.

 Here's a closer look at the painting.

A very casual bedroom containing several DIY projects.

 A relaxed sitting area off the casual bedroom.  You could easily stencil a pair of thrift store trunks to mimic this look.


A gorgeous master with a corner cabinet that I covet.  I would love to have that for my hair dryer and flat iron.

 Black cabinets, gorgeous light counter tops, gray walls and glamorous sconces?  Yes, please!

A basic bath gets a few rustic touches.


Cute mudroom, but I would prefer a larger bench and more shelving.  Some hooks on the wall would be useful for keeping coats and backpacks off the floor.

This little planning area would be handy for paying bills and checking the kids' schedules while dinner is on the stove.

 What a great playroom.  The artist who painted the walls is incredibly talented.

 A nice laundry room.

An over-the-top basement bar.

 Are you kidding me? 



This room was the favorite of both of my daughters.  As soon as they saw it, they began arguing heatedly about who was going to get to sleep in the room.  Seriously, is it necessary to argue about a room that you will only own in your fantasies?  Apparently it's necessary for my kids to argue about everything.  In any case, I felt it was worth mentioning that this room is greatly appealing to both pre-teen and teenage girls.

This bedding is by Ecco.  It is available at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and several other online retailers.  The design on the wall pulls the room together.  Even someone with just basic artistic ability could duplicate this look.

A few cup hooks and three lengths of white fabric are all it took to create this look.  I'll bet white sheets would work perfectly.

What young girl wouldn't love that chaise lounge?!?  I wouldn't mind having one myself.

The sparkly sconces make this bathroom.

I was hoping to find a link to the Homearama website so you can contact the builders and decorators directly, but unfortunately I can't find one.

Most large cities have these types of home shows, so there is probably an annual event somewhere near you.  While some of what you see is over the top (think doggie spa), the houses are full of great ideas that you can implement on a smaller or less expensive scale.  Even if you aren't looking for ideas, these showcases are a fun way to spend a few hours with your family.  This one is over, but I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open for the next one.  As soon as I hear anything, you'll be the first to know.